Teachers should not be charging to facilitate classes via the applications Zoom, WhatsApp or Google Classroom, according to Regional Education Officer, Ackbar Chindu. Chindu was responding to concerns raised by a Regional Councillor at the most recent Regional Democratic Council statutory meeting, that parents were complaining of teachers charging them for facilitating classes remotely via digital platforms.
Chindu said that teachers should not charge for these classes, neither should they charge for the worksheets that are prepared and printed by the Ministry of Education and distributed to the various schools by the Department of Education. Parents should access the work sheets free of cost.
In responding to concerns that some parents are not allowing their children to attend the Zoom classes, collect the worksheets or other work prepared by the teacher, Chindu said that while the officials cannot force parents to allow their children to be part of the Zoom classes, the Welfare Department will have to intervene in situations where the parents are completely and intentionally excluding their children from attending school remotely. Some teachers have complained that while some situations are genuine because the parents are not in possession of a digital device, the parents cannot access Wi-Fi or cannot afford data, some parents are without reason, just neglecting their children’s educational needs during the pandemic.
It has been close to one year, since schools were closed for face-to -face learning for all Grades except 10, 11 and 12. Minister of Education Priya Manickhand, has announced that schools may be reopened for face-to-face learning after the Easter holiday, to avoid long-term losses.