Itanagar- The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) submitted a representation to the Education Minister today regarding re-opening of schools in the state.
Talking to media AAPSU said that ” this representation is necessitated after the Department of Education has come up with an Operational Guidelines which directs all schools to complete their admission procedure by 31st July 2020 while emphasizing on starting of classes from 1st August 2020 through Online & other parallel program mode like Arun Prabha, Swayam Prabha & Radio programmes”.
” All the students should have access to either a Computer/Android Phone or Internet if one were to teach through an interactive platform like Google Meet or any other applications. It is but a sad reality in our state that not every student has access to these digital tools nor every district has proper electricity. Barring some urban centers like Itanagar, Pasighat, Tezu, Namsai etc, most of the areas are sans internet, said AAPSU .
Furthe AAPSU raised the questions ” whether the teachers have been adequately trained on use of Google Meet and other similar platforms for conducting online classes for the students. The concept of on-line mode of classes/admission is not possible to be conducted uniformly in our state due to the prevailing conditions including the great digital divide and the serious risks posed due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
While the Union expressed no problems to the attempts made by the Department of Education to supplement the continuance of teaching-learning process among the students, however it also made the following submissions to the Department of Education:
- The admission process in the schools for the new academic session 2020:21 as notified by the earlier may be extended for another 3 weeks from the last date. During the webinar with Minister (Education), it has been informed to the AAPSU that the admission process in the schools is being initiated only for ensuring compliance to Government of India’s numerous Flagship Programs for students under MHRD, Tribal Affairs like MDM, Stipend, Scholarship etc and that schools shall re-open only after consultations with all the stakeholders.
- As assured by the Minister (Education), Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh in a webinar held on 23rd July 2020, the online classes should not be mandatory and a basis for the students to give exams in the near future. As online classes is not possible and cannot be uniformly implemented all across the state, we are of the view that such online classes through Google Meet or similar platforms should be viewed only as a supplementary mode of learning for the students in areas where there is seamless internet connectivity and electricity. As such, we demand for no exams (internal/annual) for the students in the near future based on online or worksheet mode of teaching.
- Further, there is no clarity on the “Worksheets” for the students to be shared by the teachers in rural/remote areas mentioned in the guidelines. Its modalities/ working guidelines should be brought into the public domain for better clarity & understanding.
- The SOPs or other guidelines issued for conducting admission/classes in schools are practically impossible to be strictly adhered to in a state like ours where the authorities are still battling to contain the pandemic 24×7. The Union is also skeptical about the safety and security measures to be put in place for the students and the teachers. The Department should assuage public concerns on this.
- Previously, the AAPSU had pressed for a proper fee structure for both private & government schools in view of the pandemic. Positive assurances regarding the same were also given by your esteemed self and Secretary (Education). But surprisingly, the fee structure has also not been notified by the Department of Education till date. We demand that only tuition fee be charged in the private schools in this current session.
- The Department of Education should also convene another round of consultative meeting involving all other stakeholders including the AAPSU at the earliest.
- The Operational Guidelines issued by the Department of Education compulsorily suggests use of numerous tools like to aid in digital learning and offline mode of learning as well. Before making such guidelines compulsory in the schools, we demand the Department of Education to make such tools available in all the schools of the state in addition to provision of internet and electrical connections.
Although the Minister (Education) had issued a statement through his social media handle regarding non-opening of schools till directions from Govt. of India and due consultations with all stakeholders including the parents, the AAPSU would like to strongly urge the Minister to take due cognizance of the submission made by the AAPSU on behalf of the students community of the state.