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The Supreme Court has said that education should not be denied to economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups.

The top court on Friday made this observation while hearing a matter on the problems faced by EWS category students in respect of online class during the pandemic.

The Supreme Court directed the Delhi government to come up with a plan to help children of the EWS category and disadvantaged groups during the pandemic for their online classes. The SC directed that the Centre and Delhi should work together to find a solution to ensure that education is not denied due to lack of resources.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said that it is necessary for the Delhi government to come up with a plan to uphold the objective of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and the Centre must also coordinate with the State Government and share concurrent responsibilities for the purposes of funding for resources.

“Digital divide produced stark consequences during the pandemic as the right to education was virtually denied to children belonging to the EWS category as they could not afford computers for online classes,” the Bench said.

It said that the government must provide the facilities while adding that the need to provide adequate computer-based equipment together with internet access for online learning is of “utmost importance”.

“The needs of young children who are the future of the country cannot be ignored; access to online education to EWS and disadvantaged groups of children cannot be denied,” the apex court said.

The Delhi High Court last year had directed private unaided schools and government schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas to supply gadgets and internet packages to students from EWS and disadvantaged groups to facilitate their learning online.

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