Published: 27th August 2021
SC asks states to ensure private school education for COVID orphans at least for a year
The court said the schools can be asked to waive fees or the states can bear half the fee for these children
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the state governments to ensure that the education of children, who became orphans after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in private schools continue without disruption at least during the present academic year. Many state governments have already declared scholarships and financial aid for COVID orphans.
The court said the schools can be asked to waive fees or the states can bear half the fee for these children. The states were directed to act in cohesion with Child Welfare Committees and District Education Officers while deliberating with private schools where these children are studying.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose passed this direction in the suo motu case taken to deal with the issue of children affected by Covid.
“State governments shall also take steps to ensure education of children who have lost their parents is not disrupted for this academic year. Identification of children who have lost both or one parent is a starting point to find out the needs of distressed children,” the bench said.
The judges underlined that delay in uploading information in the Bal Swaraj Portal of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights would be detrimental to their interest.
The child body has told the court that more than 1,00,000 children lost one or both parents during the pandemic. The affidavit by NCPCR stated 101,032 children were abandoned, became orphans or lost one of their parents between April 1, 2020 and August 23, 2021.
Of this, there were 8,161 orphans, 396 were abandoned and 92,475 lost one of their parents. During the last hearing, West Bengal was pulled up for not presenting clear figures. The present NCPCR affidavit showed West Bengal has 308 orphans and 6,270 who lost one parent.