The Kerala High Court has asked the state government to examine the feasibility of setting up a website in which needy students can register themselves so that those interested can contribute to the purchase of digital devices for their online study. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V, in an order issued on August 24, said the government could take the assistance of the Kerala state IT Mission for setting up the website where individuals, companies, NRIs, or NGOs could voluntarily contribute for the purchase of the devices.
The court’s order came in a petition filed by a group of primary school students who have approached through their parents complaining that they have no digital facilities at home to enable them to pursue education, which is now being conducted online.
The government should look into the grievances projected by the students in the petition and inform the Court about the prospects of putting up a website with the assistance of the Kerala State IT mission where schools/needy students could get themselves registered so that individuals/Companies/NRIs/NGOs could voluntarily contribute to the purchase of phones/digital gadgets or supply them, the court said. It also asked the government 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.”
The students had contended that there are thousands of students like them from the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups who do not have access to smartphones, laptops, or for that matter an internet connection to enable them to effectively participate in the online classes. They said they have the right to free and compulsory education which has been elevated to a constitutional right under Article 21A of the Constitution.