Onus lies on states to ensure children return to school post COVID: SC

A SC bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to open a portal in which all the measures undertaken by all the states and UTs should be uploaded

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Expressing concern over the fate of students who had to leave school because their parents or guardians lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, the SC said the onus lies on the states and UTs to ensure children get back to school. Pic: PTI representative image

The Supreme Court on Monday (May 10) directed states and Union Territories to ensure children who have dropped out of schools, after their parents or guardians lost their livelihood due to the financial impact of the pandemic, go back to attending classes.

Expressing concern over the fate of students who had to leave school because their parents or guardians lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, the SC said that the onus lies on the states and UTs to ensure that children get back to school. The top court wanted to know what is the course of action of the state governments to ensure the education of these children can continue without hindrance.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to open a portal in which all the measures undertaken by all the states and UTs should be uploaded. Moreover, NCPCR is also meant to file an affidavit after examining a report from the states and UTs within eight weeks.

A district-wise nodal officer either from the education or women and child department should be appointed, and he or she will instruct Anganwadi workers to personally approach the parents of students who have dropped out and tell them about the steps taken by NCPCR and get them enrolled into schools once again.

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Widespread publicity should be given to the various efforts taken up by the states and UTs to bring back the students to schools, ordered the SC.

The apex court had also given directions to all the state governments and the UTs to implement the SOP, prepared by NCPCR, for the care and protection of children in street situations. The steps taken until now have not been satisfactory said the court, pointing out that rescuing children should not be a temporary exercise. They have to be rehabilitated, said the court.

The top court had earlier directed states and UTs to link the children orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their family members to various welfare schemes.

Taking suo motu cognisance concerning Children in Street Situations (CISS), who have lost their parents to COVID- 19, the SC had directed states and UTs to link the children orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their family members to various welfare schemes.

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