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Kerala Bridges Digital Divide with Four Writ Petitions


From 2.6 lakh students the number has reduced to 89 students with no access to online education in Kerala. The reduction in number was achieved within a month.

A survey published on May 10 by the state’s General Education Department stated that a whopping 2.61 lakh students could not access Kerala’s First Bell initiative that involved laptops and TV sets for attending online classes. On June 1, Kerala brought down the number to 1.5 lakh until it was a handful of 89 students as last recorded on June 13, 2020.

Kerala High Court has heard four writ petitions that sought the government’s intervention to eliminate the disparities in digital learning faced by students. Shaji P Chaly, High Court Judge Justice, has commented that “The State Government has taken adequate steps at present to safeguard the interests of the students” to bridge the digital gap and continue with online education with minimum interference.

“The Government is also aware of the fact that there are certain areas where, due to lack of electricity supply, the classes could not be viewed and in such circumstances Government have taken steps to download the classes and relay the same using alternative methods, thereby ensuring that no student is denied of the availability of the classes and a continuous education process,” reads the High Court judgement.

In the state, students are asked to communicate with teachers through social media channels or phones to share their feedbacks and clarify doubts. Kerala has also set up Anganwadis, libraries, community centres and Akshaya centres to help students cope with the lack of resources.

Several NGOs with the help of community efforts have launched initiatives to equip students with TV and smartphones for easy access to learning.

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