Bengaluru: Class VIII student claims removed from online classes for asking queries, Education Dept promises action

The student’s father said his ward was targeted as he had not paid for the services not being provided by the school during the pandemic.

A Class VIII student of a private school in Bengaluru has alleged that she was disallowed from clearing her doubts during online classes and moved to another section where the students, she claimed, were not allowed to ask questions and had to keep their microphones muted all the time.

While the school’s management said they were unaware of any such incident, the block education officer said he had asked the school to send back the student to her original section a fortnight ago.

In a letter addressed to the principal of VIBGYOR School in Horamavu on September 5, the student alleged she was moved to another section as a “punishment” by the school.

“I was not given a chance to unmute (the microphone) or ask doubts and clear my queries. This was clearly unfair that I have been forcefully put in a section where we are not allowed to speak and clear our doubts…I am feeling very depressed and emotional because of this reason,” the teenager wrote.

The student added that she felt discriminated against as she was left “far behind” affecting her mentally. “… the way I do things and my sleeping schedule, all, have been disturbed,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, the student’s father has claimed that her ward was targeted as he has chosen not to pay for the services that are not being provided by the school during the pandemic. “For items like textbooks, notebooks, stationery, school bag, bearer card, field trip, etc that are not provided by the school or not opted by me…the school wanted money,” he wrote on Facebook.

He alleged that the section where her daughter was moved had children from across the country and from other branches with no single teacher from the Horamavu branch. He said the children in this particular section had to always keep the microphones of their devices on mute and no fixed timetable was followed with the classes being cancelled at times as well.

The school authorities, however, said the management was “not aware” of any. “VIBGYOR continues to provide educational services to all its students. We are not aware of any Grade VIII student being disallowed from attending regular classes or prevented from clarifying their doubts. The school will respond in due course to all related queries raised by any competent authority,” a spokesperson from VIBGYOR Group of Schools said.

Block Education Officer Hanumantharaya D told The Indian Express that the school will “face action soon” for failing to take necessary measures even after being asked repeatedly to “avoid discriminating pupils”.

“A meeting was conducted in my presence with the school authorities and the parents. With the student not being sent back to her original section where she has to be given all facilities her classmates are being offered, another report will soon be submitted to the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) after which suitable action will be taken at the earliest,” he said.

Another senior officer from the Department of Public Instruction said a report after the meeting with the parent and the school authority was sent to the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) as the matter of schools blocking access to online classes for non-payment of full fee is in court.

“The school had promised that the student would be taken back to her original section for online classes. We have been told they are yet to do so. The same will be informed to the court via the Child Rights Commission at the earliest,” the officer said.

Earlier in July, KSCPCR had held a hearing with as many as 14 private school managements in the state based on complaints from parents that they had allegedly blocked online classes for not paying the entire school fees for the ongoing academic year.

The Commission had then noted that BEOs will be recommended to cancel the No Objection Certificate to schools blocking students’ access to online classes.

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