Resuming physical classes in schools without giving textbooks, notebooks to students meaningless: Karnataka High Court

"What is the use of asking students to come to schools without textbooks and notebooks," the Court demanded.
Class Room
Class Room

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday questioned the State government on the rationale behind resuming physical classes in schools in Karnataka without providing textbooks and notebooks to students.

A Division Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Krishna P Bhat said that it was not satisfied with the reply by the government counsel that books will be provided by the end of September.

"What is the use of asking them (students) to come to schools without textbooks and notebooks," the Court demanded.

The State government had resumed physical classes for students in grade 9 to 12 yesterday

The Bench recorded in its order that having textbooks and notebooks are necessary so that attending schools become meaningful.

"When asked on the distribution of books, the Additional Government Advocate (AGA) said that it will be provided by the end of September. We are not satisfied with the answer of AGA inasmuch as when schools have commenced by August 23 for classes 9 to 12, it is a necessary concomitant that they have textbooks and notebooks are distributed so that their attendance in schools would be meaningful and imparting education would be useful."

The Court was hearing a plea seeking the disbursal of electronic devices for children in rural areas for attending online classes.

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The Court further said that without books, the whole process of students going to institutions would be 'useless'.

"Opening of schools and distribution of books should go hand in hand. It has to be in tandem," the Court observed.

The Court further asked whether these textbooks are available in the market for purchase so that children may avail it.

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"What about textbooks? It's September already. What is the stage of printing," the Bench further queried.

Senior Advocate Harish Narasappa appearing for the petitioner pointed out that the State government has submitted that it will not do anything in providing electronic devices to children in rural areas.

"It's essentially washing it's 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," he submitted.

As the matter drew to an end, the Court said,

"State government may also consider directing a taluka education officer to make sufficient number of textbooks available, for taking printout from the application. This will ensure that pressure for printed textbooks will become less and textbooks will be made available to those having gadgets"

The matter will be next heard on August 30.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news