A section of primary school students in the state filed a plea, complaining that they do not have any resources to access virtual classes.

A girl sitting with books in her lapImage for representation
news Court Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 21:57

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought details of steps taken by the state government to ensure that the digital divide is ‘not sidelining’ students who do not have access to devices for online education. The court's intervention in the issue faced by scores of students comes after a section of primary school students in the state filed a plea, complaining that they do not have any resources to access virtual classes, reports Live Law.

Considering the plea, Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V, on August 24, asked the Chief Secretary, Director of General Education Department and Principal Secretary of Local Self Government Department, to give "specific instructions as to the steps taken by the respondents to ensure that the petitioners are not sidelined by the digital divide and they are also able to pursue education like other children who have access to such gadgets."

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Kerala government started online classes for students after schools were ordered to shut. This is the second academic year where students are being taught through virtual classes. However, according to official estimates, 50,000 schools students remain excluded from access to digital learning, and majority of these students belong to oppressed communities such as Dalits and Adivasis. A lack of gadgets and network coverage are the two main issues that students face.

Read: 'No one has come to help': Kerala's marginalised students bear brunt of digital divide

Last week, a student in Kannur district, belonging to a tribal community, fell from a treetop and broke his spine while he was attending digital class as he didn’t have access to the internet otherwise.

The High Court, meanwhile, has also sought the possibility of the government setting up a website for students facing these difficulties. Through the website, needy students or schools can register themselves so that those ready to help the students with gadgets, can supply them.

The case is posted for hearing next week.

Read: Digital divide worsens social exclusion: Anti-caste activists on Devika’s death

Watch: Courting danger for education, students in Kerala's Idukki struggle

 
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