Main features of Right to Education 2009 act The salient features of the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education act are –

> Free and compulsory education to all children of India in the six to 14 age group
> No child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education
> A child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his or her elementary education, then, he or she shall be admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age; Provided that where a child is directly admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age, then, he or she shall, in order to be at par with others, have a right to receive special training, in such manner, and within such time limits, as may be prescribed: Provided further that a child so admitted to elementary education shall be entitled to free education till completion of elementary education even after fourteen years.

Proof of age for admission:

> For the purposes of admission to elementary education. The age of a child shall be determined on the basis of the birth certificate issued in accordance with the provisions of the Births. Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, 1856 or on the basis of such other document, as may be prescribed. No child shall be denied admission in a school for lack of age proof
> A child who completes elementary education shall be awarded a certificate
> Calls for a fixed student-teacher ratio
> Will apply to all of India except Jammu and Kashmir
> Provides for 25 percent reservation for economically disadvantaged communities in admission to Class One in all private schools
> Mandates improvement in quality of education
> School teachers will need adequate professional degree within five years or else will lose job
> School infrastructure (where there is problem) to be improved in three years, else recognition cancelled
> Financial burden will be shared between state and central government

December 2002

86th Amendment Act (2002) via Article 21A (Part III) seeks to make free and compulsory education a Fundamental Right for all children in the age group 6-14 years.

October 2003

A first draft of the legislation envisaged in the above Article, viz., Free and Compulsory Education for Children Bill, 2003, was prepared and posted on this website in October, 2003, inviting comments and suggestions from the public at large.

Subsequently, taking into account the suggestions received on this draft, a revised draft of the Bill entitled Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2004, was prepared and posted on the http://education.nic.in website.

June 2005

The CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education) committee drafted the ‘Right to Education’ Bill and submitted to the Ministry of HRD. MHRD sent it to NAC where Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson. NAC sent the Bill to PM for his observation.

14th July 2006

The finance committee and planning commission rejected the Bill citing the lack of funds and a Model bill was sent to states for the making necessary arrangements. (Post-86th amendment, States had already cited lack of funds at State level)

19th July 2006

CACL, SAFE, NAFRE, CABE invited ILP and other organizations for a Planning meeting to discuss the impact of the Parliament action, initiate advocacy actions and set directions on what needs to be done at the district and village levels.

The passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India.This Act serves as a building block to ensure that every child has his or her right (as an entitlement) to get a quality elementary education, and that the State, with the help of families and communities, fulfils this obligation.Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure both free and child-centred, child-friendly education.

All children between the ages of 6 and 14 shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighborhood school. There is no direct (school fees) or indirect cost (uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals, transportation) to be borne by the child or the parents to obtain elementary education. The government will provide schooling free-of-cost until a child’s elementary education is completed.

The landmark passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India. For the first time in India’s history, children will be guaranteed their right to quality elementary education by the state with the help of families and communities. Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure child-centered, child-friendly education to help all children develop to their fullest potential. There were an estimated eight million six to 14 year-olds in India out-of-school in 2009. The world cannot reach its goal to have every child complete primary school by 2015 without India. Schools shall constitute School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising local authority officials, parents, guardians and teachers. The SMCs shall form School Development Plans and monitor the utilization of government grants and the whole school environment. RTE also mandates the inclusion of 50 per cent women and parents of children from disadvantaged groups in SMCs. Such community participation will be crucial to ensuring a child friendly “whole school” environment through separate toilet facilities for girls and boys and adequate attention to health, water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

All schools must comply with infrastructure and teacher norms for an effective learning environment. Two trained teachers will be provided for every sixty students at the primary level. Teachers are required to attend school regularly and punctually, complete curriculum instruction, assess learning abilities and hold regular parent-teacher meetings. The number of teachers shall be based on the number of students rather than by grade. The state shall ensure adequate support to teachers leading to improved learning outcomes of children. The community and civil society will have an important role to play in collaboration with the SMCs to ensure school quality with equity. The state will provide the policy framework and create an enabling environment to ensure RTE becomes a reality for every child.

This Act serves as a building block to ensure that every child has his or her right (as an entitlement) to get a quality elementary education, and that the State, with the help of families and communities, fulfils this obligation. Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure both free and child-centred, child-friendly education.

 

Central and state governments shall share financial responsibility for RTE. The central government shall prepare estimates of expenditures. State governments will be provided a percentage of these costs. The central government may request the Finance Commission to consider providing additional resources to a state in order to carry out the provisions of RTE. The state government shall be responsible for providing the remaining funds needed to implement. There will be a funding gap which needs to be supported by partners from civil society, development agencies, corporate organisations and citizens of the country.

The RTE Act will be in force from 1 April. Draft Model Rules have been shared with states, which are required to formulate their state rules and have them notified as early as possible. RTE provides a ripe platform to reach the unreached, with specific provisions for disadvantaged groups, such as child labourers, migrant children, children with special needs, or those who have a “disadvantage owing to social, cultural economical, geographical, linguistic, gender or such other factor. ” RTE focuses on the quality of teaching and learning, which requires accelerated efforts and substantial reforms:

  • Creative and sustained initiatives are crucial to train more than one million new and untrained teachers within the next five years and to reinforce the skills of in-service teachers to ensure child-friendly education.

  • Families and communities also have a large role to play to ensure child-friendly education for each and every one of the estimated 190 million girls and boys in India who should be in elementary school today.

  • Disparities must be eliminated to assure quality with equity. Investing in preschool is a key strategy in meeting goals.

  • Bringing eight million out-of-school children into classes at the age appropriate level with the support to stay in school and succeed poses a major challenge necessitating flexible, innovative approaches.

The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights shall review the safeguards for rights provided under this Act, investigate complaints and have the powers of a civil court in trying cases. States should constitute a State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) or the Right to Education Protection Authority (REPA) within six months of 1 April. Any person wishing to file a grievance must submit a written complaint to the local authority. Appeals will be decided by the SCPCR/REPA. Prosecution f offences requires the sanction of an officer authorised by the appropriate government. Substantial efforts are essential to eliminate disparities and ensure quality with equity. UNICEF will play an instrumental role in bringing together relevant stakeholders from government, civil society, teachers’ organizations, media and the celebrity world. UNICEF will mobilize partners to raise public awareness and provide a call to action. Policy and programme design/implementation will focus on improving the access and quality education based on whatworks to improve results for children. UNICEF will also work with partners to strengthen national and state level monitoring bodies on RTE.