Street vendors’ organisation in Bengaluru opposes online education

Published : July 02, 2020 14:29 IST

A street vendor in Bengaluru on May 14. Photo: Somashekar G.R.N

IN a memorandum addressed to the committee of online education for Karnataka, the Beedhi Vyaparigala Okkuta (Street Vendors Federation) of Bengaluru has opposed the move towards online education. The committee is headed by the eminent educationist M.K. Sridhar and was formed in June to recommend online education modules for classes 6 to 10.

There are approximately 1.5 lakh street vendors on the streets of Bengaluru who sell assorted wares, including clothes, foodstuff, vegetables, fruits and flowers. Unable to recover from the impact of the lockdown, which has decimated their livelihoods, many of them are now unable to pay school fees or afford the smartphones and Internet connections needed for online education. The memorandum states that many of them have been unable to enrol their children in school this year.

It also states that none of the street vendors possess laptops. While some of the vendors do have smartphones, that is still a problem because many of the vendors take their phones with them when they leave for their work in the morning. In cases where the child does have access to a smartphone, the parents are unable to afford the data pack. There are also technical issues such as the inability to access classes via online apps (applications).

In its memorandum, the vendors’ federation demanded that the online method of teaching be stopped immediately, and that classes be conducted via television as is being done in Kerala as almost all the vendors have a television at home. They have also demanded that the State government bear the cost of this year’s school fees. The memorandum argues that children have the right to education so that they can grow up to be valuable citizens of the country, and hence the committee should take these demands into consideration while framing a policy.

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