The move came in the backdrop of requests from various quarters, including from Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association forum. There are about eight lakh Class 10 and 12 government school students. A senior School Education Department official said data showed more than 80% students have access to smartphones, but those from poor economic backgrounds are not able to afford mobile data despite having Android phones. This was the main reason that online classes could not be conducted on a par with the private schools, he added.
Discussions on this would soon be held with mobile phone and internet service providers for a possible package. “However, this proposal will be taken up only if the reopening of schools gets delayed beyond January. As board exams may also be conducted only after May, providing mobile data will be very useful,” he said. The official added this would also be based on the recommendations of the respective school managements. “The mobile phone numbers of all parents are available in the Education Management Information System, the online platform that connects schools, teachers and students,” he said.
Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association president PK Ilamaran said his forum had already requested the government to provide mobile data at least for Class 12 students of government schools.