New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed private unaided and government schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas to supply gadget/equipment of optimum configuration as well as internet package so that EWS/DG (economically weaker sections/disadvantaged groups) students have access to online learning. The court clarified that the cost of such gadget – digital equipment as well as internet package – are not a part of tuition fee and have to be provided free of cost to the EWS/DG students by private unaided schools and government schools. A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula noted that absence of such facilities prevent children from pursuing elementary education. Notably, the court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Justice for All, represented by advocate Khagesh Jha, seeking directions to the Centre and the Delhi government to provide free laptops, tablets or mobile phones to poor kids so that they can access classes online during the COVID-19 lockdown. Meanwhile, the 2-judge bench also directed constitution of a three-member committee, comprising education secretary from the Centre or his nominee, Delhi government’s education secretary or his nominee and a representative of the private schools, to expedite and streamline the process of identifying and supplying the gadgets to poor and disadvantaged students. The court said the committee shall also frame standard operating procedures (SOPs) for identifying the standard of the equipment and internet package to be supplied to the poor and disadvantaged students. The bench added that this would ensure uniformity in the gadgets and internet package being used by all the poor and disadvantaged students.
(With agency inputs)