Updated: December 13, 2021 7:57:35 am
Various school bodies and parents of students have continued to push for reopening of educational institutions after they were closed again following the Supreme Court’s reprimand to the Delhi government over its pollution control measures.
Schools in the city had opened for all classes, including primary and middle school students, on November 1, but a spike in air pollution forced them to close two weeks later. They were opened again on November 29 only to be shut on December 2 after the Supreme Court rapped the Delhi government and the Centre over steps being taken to tackle air pollution in the capital. The top court had pulled up the Delhi government for resuming physical classes in schools amid a rise in pollution.
More than 500 parents have jointly written to the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) seeking its intervention in the matter.
“The benefit of closing schools to protect children from air pollution is unclear. Since air purifiers are expensive, a tiny percentage of Delhi homes will have them. Most Delhi children, therefore, breathe the same air at home — they are not benefiting from school closure; on thecontrary, they are suffering further learning and health losses…,” the representation stated.
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“We request the DCPCR, as the custodian of rights of Delhi’s children, to please file an application for intervention in Aditya Dubey (minor) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors to place on record the extreme costs of prolonged school closures for our children. We hope that your intervention in this matter will assist the Supreme Court of India and relevant Delhi authorities (including the Lt-Governor and the elected Delhi government) in striking the correct balance between rights and well-being of Delhi’s children and other considerations,” it added.
R C Jain of the Delhi State Public Schools’ Management Association said the prolonged closure of schools infringes on children’s right to education.
“Schools in Delhi have been closed for the last 21 months. First, because of the pandemic, then the second wave; but the manner in which they are kept closed in the name of pollution is a straightforward infringement on their right to education,” he said.
“Children have forgotten how to write, especially those who are unable to join online classes… It can be seen that the pollution levels are much lower now and schools should be opened,” Jain added, urging that schools be reopened by December 15.
Government officials did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
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