Examine opening schools in phases instead of keeping all closed: HC

‘Vidyagama in pvt. and govt. schools for classes 1 to 10’

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday directed the State government to apply its mind on reopening schools on a regular basis in a phased manner in taluks where the number of COVID-19 cases are less, instead of keeping all schools closed throughout the State applying a uniform policy.

The court also asked the government to ascertain the admission of children from anganwadis to class one besides verifying readmission of students to higher classes to ensure that children are not pushed to child marriage, child labour, or trafficking in view of closure of all schools since March dur to the pandemic.

A Division Bench comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy passed the interim order on a PIL petition filed by A.A. Sanjeev Narrain and two others in Bengaluru.

Vidyagama clarification

Earlier, the government clarified to the Bench that the Vidyagama programme would recommence from January 1, 2021, while submitting the Government Order issued on December 15 and the circular issuing Standard Operating Procedure for conducting the programme.

This was in response to the court’s December 4 order of directing the government to decide on Vidyagama to ensure that there is continuity of education as per Constitutional provisions and the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

To a query by the Bench, the government counsel, on instruction from officials, said that Vidyagama would be conducted from classes one to 10 both in government and private schools across the State.

The Bench also asked the government to inform the court the steps taken to seek assistance from private corporate firms under the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives to provide gadgets like laptops, tabs, etc. to students from economically-weaker sections to access online education.

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