What Is The Issue
- The State Government informed the Karnataka High Court that an estimated 20 percent of students studying in Government and government-aided schools in the state do not have access to any electronic gadget for attending virtual classes.
- The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday held that amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the State must provide technology and devices to children in rural areas in the spirit so that their education is not interrupted.
- Due to the absence of these children having any kind of link to teaching being imparted virtually during this ongoing pandemic on account of non-availability of technology, there is a threat of children being engaged in child labor or begging or rather such activities which are totally against the interest of such children.
Observations Of The Court
- The Division Bench headed by Justice B.V.Nagarathna observed that under Article 21A of the Constitution, education must be imparted to all children up till 14 years of age free of cost as it is their fundamental right and the state is obligated to provide access to education through means of technology during this COVID-19 pandemic. If such steps are not taken by the state, there would be a failure in ensuring the fundamental rights of such children.
- The Court passed an order to this effect in a PIL seeking directions to the government to provide laptops, tablets, and other digital resources free of cost to school children belonging to economically weaker sections for them to be able to attend online classes.
- The Court also highlighted that if such families include a girl child, then they may be forced into marriage due to the lack of proper functioning of schools.
- The court even noted that the lack of education or discontinuation in education is a serious concern, not only of the parents/guardians, state, and society but for the child itself. A child may get left behind if the technology to attend online classes is not made available to him/her during these days of a pandemic while other children having access to technology would be benefiting from the instruction being imparted by teachers online. Such discrimination among children cannot be accepted and hence state must ensure that all children have access to technology so that they are not out-of-the education system, which may ultimately result in discontinuation of education and increase out of school children, and have other serious consequences on them.
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