Mumbai: Teachers of state-run schools who are being compelled to conduct online classes for students during May-holiday break have demanded the government to provide necessary measures.
Teachers claim both the state government and school authorities should first conduct online training, provide internet services, computers or mobile phones at home in order to enable virtual teaching.
Since the lockdown, teachers of all staterun and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools have been directed to conduct online classes. This decision has been taken in order to avoid any academic loss to students who are locked inside their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But some teachers revealed they do not have the necessary devices or access to technology to conduct these virtual classes. Ramakanth Tanawade, a language teacher said, "I teach English, Hindi and Marathi language to Class 8 and 9 students.
I do not have a smartphone let alone be a computer. I cannot afford to buy a new smartphone in this lockdown, then how am I supposed to teach virtually?" While Pasar Mukadam, another teacher said, "I do not have WiFi internet services in my house.
How am I supposed to install a new connection when all shops and services are shut? Who will pay the bill?" School authorities have made it mandatory for teachers to conduct online classes in May and June. Tahir Chawla, principal of a Malad school, said, "We are facing tremendous pressure from parents to keep children engaged during lockdown through online classes.
We have directed all our teachers to conduct mandatory virtual classes every day." If teachers do not conduct classes, they might lose their jobs, said an official from the state school education department. The official said, "If teachers do not conduct virtual classes they might not be paid salaries or lose their jobs.
It is the responsibility of schools to conduct training for teachers in virtual classes, provide neccesary internet services or devices if needed. The school management can use the fees otherwise used for maintenance of classroom infrastructure to provide these services at home for now."