Private schools obligated to provide equipments, internet to EWS students for online study: DoE tells Delhi HC

The Delhi government’s Directorate of Education has submitted before Delhi High Court that it is the obligation of the private unaided schools to provide desktop/ laptop/ smartphone/ high-speed internet to economically weaker section (EWS) or disadvantged group category students admitted in their schools to avail online study.

The Directorate, in a counter affidavit submitted in the court on Friday, said that it is the duty of the schools to ensure no child be deprived of online education for the lack of learning material required for attending online classes, whereas it added that the Union of India is bound to release funds for reimbursement as proscribed under Right to Education Act.

The counter affidavit was filed as a response on a petition seeking to provide laptop, smartphone and high-speed internet connection to EWS students studying in private schools, who are unable to attend online classes being held in view of the coronavirus lockdown.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula had sought a response from the Education Department of the national capital on the plea filed by NGO Justice For All through advocates Khagesh B Jha and Shikha Sharma Bagga.

Delhi government, through the affidavit, also said that it has issues a show cause notice to top 15 private schools in Delhi for not providing free laptop/i-pad/android phones with high-speed internet connection.

The high court had recently said that schools and government must ensure that not even a single child could be deprived of online education for the lack of teaching equipment.

The court had observed that that schools may procure the equipment for the EWS and can ask for reimbursement, if any, later from central government. The hearing on the petition is slated to be held on June 10.

The petitioner had said that over 50,000 students belonging to the economically weaker sections EWS are not able to afford laptops, phones and other electronic gadgets and hence deprived from attennding online classes being conducted by private schools.

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