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Digital education is not an alternative for a formal classroom setting. And, digitalizing elementary education, by constraining a child to be a passive receiver without a communicative errand, needs deeper examination, a Delhi High Court judge explained on Friday as a note of alarm.

Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula express the views, which proposed private as well as government schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas to give gadgets and an internet package to poor pupils for online classes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justice Narula said that the criteria and standards prescribed in the Act for the provision of education precisely deliver for the infrastructure of a school with a safe and comprehensive environment, ideally in an all-weather building.

The major goal of the Act is to assure that every child gets admission in a brick-and-mortar school with a classroom space shared with friends of a similar age-group, that helps in the communication skills of the children.  Therefore it is important to keep in mind that digital education is not a relief for formal classroom schooling, which is the fundamental goal of the Right to Education Act, 2009,  he said.

He further said,  Thus, in my belief, the digitalization of elementary education, which targets children of ages between 6 to 14 years, by prohibiting the child to be a passive gainer without an interactive environment, needs a wider probe.

He said the paradigm shift, in the current problem, has occurred quickly. And the online mode of education has taken the front stool in the remarkable emergency scenario existing presently.

He further added that right now there is no information about when the pandemic is going to end and whether the following pandemic or a similar remarkable situation is roaming around the nook.

So, the need of the hour that the government finances its resources into understanding the current option available – their efficacy, methods of commission, and then work towards an inclusive, uniform system of allocating digital education.

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The bench in its primary judgment also examined that online education was coated under the Right to Education (RTE) Act and therefore, the private schools were providing the similar as part of their responsibilities under the statute and not as voluntary or social assistance.

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