A total of 40,000 tweets were sent out by the parents and teachers to influence the decision of the state in favor of online classes. This unique band of Twitterati found sympathizers and supporters in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, where the ban on online classes was declared by the state governments
In the first leg of the initiative on June 14th, parents from Bangalore sent out a 7000 tweets. The initial success propelled the parents and this twitter movement crossed state lines and the second leg of the movement began in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The states have imposed the ban on virtual classes in different degrees. While M.P. has banned online classes for the primary and pre-primary classes, Maharashtra has restricted live online classes up to 2nd standard. The permission for prerecorded videos still hangs in the balance.
The state that took the lead in banning online classes was Karnataka and it was also the first state to form an expert committee for drafting regulations for the online classes. The expert committee was under a ten-day moratorium for submitting their report and recommendations.
Telegrams and twitter were the platforms that the parents used in the hope that after witnessing the mobilized opinion the governments would concede to their demand for the freedom to choose the mode of teaching-learning. They all were the votaries of online education. Teachers had their reasons to join the campaign, their jobs being at stake in the event of indefinite closure of schools.
The following messages tweeted out by the parents capture their sentiments and complaints that they have against the system.
“After our Twitter campaign last Sunday, many likeminded parents reached out to us. Our Telegram group has 1,800 members. Many outside our group are also tweeting. We wanted to get more parents together and amplify our voice. We are writing to members of the expert committee. Twitter gives maximum exposure (to a cause) and the government is present on it,” said Shweta Sharan, a parent who started the Telegram group.
@RightToLearn2. Tweeted “When governments like Kerala worked to ensure access for kids, your team slept. When you woke up, you banned education to evade criticism and even action. Instead of providing education to kids in Karnataka, you have banned it. You have failed us,”
It is not difficult to deduce that there is a lot of resentment against the ban which parents and teachers consider devoid of any discretion and are equating with a blanket ban.
According to the media reports, some parents have filed a PIL in the Mumbai high court claiming that the ban is in contravention of their rights.
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Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.