Provide free laptops, mobile phones to EWS category students: Delhi HC orders private schools

The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to private schools directing them to provide free laptops/ mobile phones to students belonging to the economically weaker section in the national capital for their online classes, reports said on Friday (September 18, 2020).

Provide free laptops, mobile phones to EWS category students: Delhi HC orders private schools
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to private schools directing them to provide free laptops/ mobile phones to students belonging to the economically weaker section in the national capital for their online classes, reports said on Friday (September 18, 2020).

The Delhi High Court passed this order while responding to a PIL seeking its direction to private schools for providing laptops/mobile phones to EWS category students with high-speed internet facilities.

The court passed the order over concerns that these EWS category students were unable to sustain their online studies due to a lack of resources and unavailability of laptops and mobile phones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In separate affidavits filed in the Delhi High Court, four private schools said that they are not obliged to provide free devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, and Internet facilities to students belonging to the EWS and disadvantaged groups.

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The submissions were made before a bench of justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula while they were hearing a plea filed by Justice For All, an NGO working in the education sector, which had contended that several students belonging to the EWS and disadvantaged groups (DG) were unable to access classes online due to the lack of the aforementioned devices. 

The court had, on May 8, issued notices to the Centre, the Delhi government, municipal corporations and 10 private unaided schools seeking a response on a plea.

Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 25% seats are reserved for children from the EWS and DG category at the entry-level classes —Nursery, KG and Class 1—in all private schools. The students are entitled to free education, books and uniforms till Class 8 as per the Act.