Following parents’ protests, Greenwood High School resumes live online lessons
Bangalore, October 24: The government of Karnataka recently declared that schools will be allowed to offer classes both online and offline. However, at Greenwood High School in Sarjapur, parents had raised objections to the school’s decision to provide lessons online through recorded sessions. However, after a long meeting of parents and teachers, the school management confirmed that all measures will be taken to ensure the resumption of live online lessons.
On Saturday, dozens of parents gathered outside the school to protest the decision. Some of the parents met with the principal, Aloysious D’Mello and discussed the matter. During the meeting with the principal, parent representatives from the GWH parent group led by Satish, Neha, Ranjeet and Divya objected to the one-sided decision by the principal and management to abruptly end the online sessions in direct and force online students to learn only through recorded sessions from October 20. Not only is the recorded session an ineffective mode of learning, but the abrupt and authoritative manner in which the decision was made without any consultation with the parents is unacceptable to the parents, they said.
Parents who had gathered there to discuss the matter were initially refused permission to enter the school premises for a considerable period of time. Security personnel gave them trivial reasons to deny them entry, the parents claimed, adding that this was unwarranted and reinforces the idea that GWH management wishes to distance itself from children and parents.
When the meeting finally took place, parents said teachers lashed out at online students or ignored online students and were unresponsive to their questions. Parents’ demand is that GWH leadership (including teachers and administration) provide equality and fairness in every way possible to offline and online students, parents told the principal. Parents also said there was insufficient communication and a lack of consultative approach from the school and especially the principal regarding the hybrid education model.
Parents have requested that the school have a formal process where e-mails from parents are by the management of GWH.
The parents also spoke to a member of media staff at the site about what happened over the past week and what they went through. Parents say they had to resort to such action due to the school’s lack of communication.
During the meeting, the principal also raised some concerns and said that parents sending insulting letters to the principal and other staff were a lack of respect and decorum. He also said that such interference disrupts the flow of classes. The influx of letters from parents had created frustration among teachers and some of them had even resigned. He also expressed his disappointment that the parents took to the media about this.
Parents at the meeting reiterated that parents abusing staff and sending mean emails should not be tolerated. However, at the same time, these parents were decent and understanding should not suffer from the actions of a few, they stressed. In addition, such incidents, while totally unacceptable, cannot justify unilateral decisions by GWH that have a significant impact on students, parents said.
Parents also said that there is a lack of trust between the school and parents and that the principal needs to address it. Parents are also responsible for this and will return the favor, parents said. Later in the discussion, it was decided that a clear policy would be formulated on how abusive parents will be treated. Parents, however, stressed that stray teachers must also be treated. The principal, however, said that in some cases this has already been done.
The principal said he asked teachers to mute the microphone of the child whose parents are interfering, to sit down or say anything defamatory to teachers. The offending attendee can also be kicked out of the meeting, the principal said. Parents who have met with the principal said they need better communication from the principal or someone designated to respond to them. Parents, while stressing that the lack of communication only makes the problem worse, said they have requested regular feedback sessions once a quarter. On the review front, the principal said it would be offline and in school for the IGCSE and ICSE. Further instructions are awaited on this subject.
Parents informed that according to the communication received from the principal, the hybrid model with online and offline courses will start from Monday, October 25. The principal also said he would speak to all students and teachers about the concerns raised over the past week. The principal also asked parents and students for patience on the matter in order to iron out the teething problems. During this time, he also asked parents to write to the IT department about specific technical issues encountered during online classes.
The principal also asked for feedback from well-meaning parents on the progress of the online courses starting Monday. The principal said he will make a decision and act on parents who continue to be email abusive during class. Parents have asked the management to bring such incidents to the attention of all other parents and ask the management to define and implement strict policies to deter such behavior. The school administration has confirmed to parents via email that all appropriate measures will be taken to ensure the resumption of live online lessons.