High Court seeks Delhi government’s response on curtailment of school hours

More than 1 lakh students affected states PIL

September 16, 2022 01:20 am | Updated 02:28 am IST - New Delhi:

The NGO, which filed the PIL, described the situation as “very alarming”. File

The NGO, which filed the PIL, described the situation as “very alarming”. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the city government to respond to a plea alleging that some State-run schools in north-east Delhi were not imparting “full-time” education.

A Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad gave the direction while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by NGO Social Jurist.

Advocate Ashok Aggarwal, representing the NGO, told the court that some of the Delhi government-run schools in areas such as Khajuri, Sabhapur, Tukbirpur, Sonia Vihar and Karawal Nagar, were either imparting only two hours of daily education or teaching on alternate days.

‘No action’

“Some of the schools are holding two hours of classes, some are calling children on alternate days. I have written to them repeatedly but (there has been) no response, no action,” he said.

Mr. Aggrawal added that this system was affecting more than 1 lakh students. The NGO argued that the fundamental right to education, guaranteed under the Constitution as well as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, were being violated.

Population density

In response, the Delhi government’s counsel said, “After COVID, everyone has rushed to government schools.” He added that the government was conscious of issues, including those related to infrastructure, in these areas, which, the counsel added, have a higher population density.

The NGO submitted that, on average, 5,000-6,000 students are enrolled in these schools and it was a “really alarming situation” where the marginalised students were not getting full attention from the Delhi government in the matter of their education.

It also said that the government needed to ensure that its schools impart education to students for a minimum of 200 working days and 800 instructional hours for Classes 1 to 5 and 220 working days and 1,000 instructional hours for Classes 6 to 8, in an academic year.

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