The Karnataka High Court in a move directed at safeguarding the interest of students and their education amid the pandemic has asked the state government to provide necessary education infrastructure to children, especially to those studying in the rural areas and the economically weaker sections to keep them within the educational framework in the absence of the physical classes amid continued lockdown restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Karnataka High Court while directing the state to act upon in upholding the students' interest remarked, "Pandemic or no pandemic, education of children has to go on and the state government has to rise to the occasion."
"In order to make the (educational) system more inclusive, it is necessary for the State government to come out with an action plan to provide textbooks, notebooks, and technical devices. This is particularly required for those students covered under the RTE Act and compulsory education under Article 21A of the Constitution," the court observed in its order, as reported by the Bar & Bench
"We also wish to emphasize that mere commencement (of classes) through virtual mode will not be effective if there is an absence of textbooks and notebooks," the order further states.
The observations were made by a Division Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and E Hanchate Sanjeevkumar of the Karnataka High Court during a PIL hearing that had sought directives to the state government on providing free textbooks, laptops, tablets, and other digital devices to students, especially those belonging to economically weaker sections and residing in rural areas to enable to them to access and attend online classes.
The Karnataka High Court sought to know the plan of action by the state to make education accessible to children in rural areas.
"What is your plan of action to make available technology to rural areas in the light of the closure of schools," the Court asked.
"Precious time cannot be lost and urgent steps have to be taken ensuring that children are within the umbrella of the Educational system. Otherwise, there will be dangers of such children being pushed towards child labor, child trafficking, or child marriage," the Karnataka High Court remarked reported the Bar & Bench
The State government has been asked to file a reply in the matter by next week for the matter to be heard on June 8