Issue guidelines for online classes, says Minister

After media reports of children complaining of eye problems due to online classes, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar on Wednesday directed the Commissioner of Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to immediately issue a detailed circular listing measures that can be taken to curtail the problem and formulate guidelines.

โ€œIt is being reported in the media that students have been facing eye-related problems as a result of online classes being held across the State. Hence, it is directed to issue a detailed circular on modalities of conducting online classes based on the expert committee report,โ€ the letter by the Education Minister stated.

In its report submitted in the first week of July, the expert committee had recommended an age-appropriate approach for students attending online classes.

V.P. Niranjan Aradhya, educationist and member of the Committee, told The Hindu that a robust mechanism needs to be in place for follow up on the implementation of the report. It was submitted to the government after consulting and deliberating with various stakeholders including doctors. โ€œThe overall well-being of students should be accorded utmost priority. In the report, we have also said that after a particular time, the functioning of the system should be revived. It has been three months since we submitted the report and there will be scope for improvement based on experiences,โ€ he said,

Frequency of classes

The committee report had specified the frequency of classes that could be held every week and had recommended that schools could conduct alternative-day classes for students up to Class 2, while five-days-a-week classes were allowed for Class 3 and above. Two days of the week should be strictly non-screen time.

A few parents that The Hindu spoke to said that schools needed to chart out a way to improve โ€˜offline classesโ€™. โ€œMy sonโ€™s school is conducting online classes continuously and itโ€™s a strain on his eyes,โ€ said a mother of a Class 7 student enrolled in a private school in Bengaluru.

Other activities

The parents of a teenage boy said their son was experiencing dry eyes or a burning sensation after sitting for online classes continuously. They also admitted that after classes, their son watched TV or played games on his phone as he cannot engage in team sports. โ€œThis adds to the problem,โ€ said his father. Many expressed hope that the guidelines will address this problem. โ€œBut the government should also monitor schools and ensure that rules are being followed,โ€ said the parents.


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