Online classes have become a necessity, Centre tells HC

NEWS STATES TAMIL NADU
TAMIL NADU
Online classes have become a necessity, Centre tells HC
Mohamed Imranullah S.
CHENNAI 26 JUNE 2020 00:05 IST
UPDATED: 26 JUNE 2020 00:05 IST
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‘Videoconference platforms must appoint grievance officers’
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) on Thursday told the Madras High Court that extraordinary situations warranted extraordinary solutions, and hence, online education had become a necessity due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Justices R. Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy were told that the Centre was making every effort to ensure that students do not suffer and stop learning due to closure of schools and colleges during the lockdown. At the same time, it was also committed to ensure that online education was safe for children.

The submissions were made in a counter affidavit in response to a public interest litigation petition filed by the mother of two schoolchildren from Chennai. She feared that children would get exposed to undesirable adult content on laptops and mobile phones during the online classes.

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However, in the counter, served on senior counsel S. Prabakaran, the MEIT said, “Advancement of technology has provided alternate learning through virtual classrooms to enable students to continue their studies. Considering risks associated due to opening of schools… online classes have commenced in various States.”

The Ministry said it had put in place a robust administrative framework to regulate the video conferencing platforms under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules of 2011 and the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules of 2011. “The law requires that these video conferencing platforms appoint a grievance officer to whom any unlawful content or grievance can be reported. They are also required to remove any such unlawful content and also provide the information of any such uploader to the law enforcement agency as and when requested by them through a lawful order,” the counter read. The court was told that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a national nodal agency for cyber security incidents in the country, had been issuing various advisories from time to time for safe Internet use and browsing even with respect to children and that those advisories were available on https://www.certin.org.in/

State governments must ensure that online classes were conducted safely, the MEIT said, and added that online platforms were only facilitating the interaction between students and teachers.

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