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Supreme Court judge, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit on Sunday said that the standard of education imparted in government schools is not keeping at par with that at private schools, even though India has the best professional educational institutions in the public sector.

Expressing his concern at this disparity and stressing on quality of education, he said: “I do not think that the government is not capable of imparting quality education in the government schools.

“Best professional institutions like AIIMS, IIT, NIT, National Law School, Indian Institute of Management and also institutions on architecture are in the public sector in India. All these public sector professional institutions are the frontrunners in the country,” he said.

Addressing an interactive programme on children’s rights in Agartala, Justice Lalit said that every child must feel that he or she is getting education at par with the education given in the other parts of the country.

Citing the case of Bihar, after the enactment of the Right to Education Act, the enrolment of girls in elementary and secondary education rose to 50 per cent from the 36 per cent and now boys and girls are neck and neck in education in the state.

“Due to the spread of education in Bihar, the marriageable age of girls has risen. The total fertility rate in Bihar was 4.2 per woman and now it is 3.2 against the national average of 2.3 per woman.

“Spread of education is reflected in the girls’ lives. No person should be deprived of education. The darkness of education must be eradicated, quality of education must be provided to every child as they are the future of the nation,” the Supreme Court judge said.

He said that besides protecting the rights of a child’s education, other aspects like health and wellbeing also must be secured.

“There should not be any child trafficking and no child abuse in any manner. An atmosphere must be developed so that the girls can raise their issues, build their own potentiality. Create an atmosphere, allow the children to grow to obtain the fullest potentiality and do not marry the children at an early age,” Justice Lalit said.

He said that scholarships, schemes and other benefits must be given to those children who lost their both parents during the Covid-19 pandemic and these benefits must reach the needy children.

“We (the court) would see whether the benefits are reaching to those children are not. The National Legal Services Authority has been doing enormous works for the benefit of the deprived sections,” said Justice Lalit, who is an Executive Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority.

Supreme Court judge Justice Hrishikesh Roy, who also spoke, highlighting some instances of Assam and Mizoram where the legal service authorities are doing their best in providing legal and other assistance to the deprived and the needy people.

Tripura High Court Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty, and judge, Justice Subhasis Talapatra, who is the Executive Chairperson of Tripura State Legal Services Authority, also spoke in the interactive discussion.

Justice Arindam Lodh, Justice Satya Gopal Chattopadhyay of the high court, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Nilima Ghosh, National Legal Services Authority’s Director Puneet Sehgal, among others, were also present at the event.

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