Written by: Arushi Bansal (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
On 24th August, Tuesday, Karnataka High Court ordered the State Government to make sure to provide textbooks to students of class 9th and 10th as well as present a program report by 30th August, 2021. The Court also observed that studying without books is purposeless and has no meaning. A.A Sanjeev Narrain and two others filed a PIL in the Court last year, asking for guidance on how to ensure that children’s education is continuing through the internet, Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice P. Krishna Bhat, ensued command. State Government informed the Court that pronouncement for opening schools for class 1st to 8th would be taken on 30th August. The government’s promise to deliver textbooks in phases by September end concerned the Bench, which decided that opening of schools or the beginning of classes must coincide with the distribution of textbooks to pupils. Classes have already been started of standard 11th and 12th, so the Court appeals to the government to provide textbooks to the students.
To Taluk level education officers, the Bench urges the government that textbooks be provided as PDFs via electronic media and also PDFs notes to those who do not have PDFs access. The lawsuit was postponed until 30th August and till then government was expected to present a status report on textbook distribution to assist school students. Private organizations provided electronic equipment to some groups of kids, and Bench has stated that it would evaluate this problem at the next hearing.
The Court asked that, “What is the use of asking them (students) to come to schools without textbooks and notebooks.” The State government reinstated physical education programs for students in grades 9th to 12th on August 24th. The Bench mentioned that textbooks were important for the students. If there were no books, attending schools would be meaningless, so textbooks and notebooks should be provided to the students. It was asked to the Additional Government Advocate (AGA) for supplying books to the students. So in return, he answered that they would provide books by the September end. By his Statement, Court is dissatisfied and said that schools are resuming from August 23rd for classes 9th to 12th and they will get textbooks by September 30. It is meaningless for the students to attend classes. It is important for them to attend classes with textbooks.
The petitioner’s lawyer, senior Advocate Harish Narasappa, claimed that the State government has stated that electronic devices will not be provided to children in rural regions. He said that “It’s essentially washing its hands. Now if methodology is one of online education, the government is obligated under Article 21A to provide tablets and other devices to the children. The petition argued that the defendants were not providing appropriate online materials to pupils prior to the beginning of classes. Article 21A as well as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (“RTE Act”) and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010, were cited as violations. It was also argued that the respondents’ conduct was in breach of the Karnataka Right to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2012.