What is the Act about?
Article 21A of the Constitution - Constitution (Eighty - Sixth Amendment) Act, 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.
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
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 making the necessary arrangements. (Post-86th amendment, States had already cited lack of funds at State level)
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008, passed in both Houses of Parliament in 2009. The law received President's assent in August 2009.
1 April 2010
Article 21-A and the RTE Act come into effect
Why is the act significant and what does it mean for India?
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.
What is ‘Free and Compulsory Elementary Education’?
All children between the ages of 6 and 14 shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighbourhood 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.
What is the role envisaged for the community and parents to ensure RTE?
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 insists upon schools to 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.
How does RTE promote Child-Friendly Schools?
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.
How will RTE be financed and implemented in India?
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.
What are the key issues for achieving RTE?
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:
What is the mechanism available if RTE is violated?
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, 2010. 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 of offences requires the sanction of an officer authorised by the appropriate government.
In 2002, education was made a fundamental right in the 86th amendment to the Constitution. Six years after an amendment was made in the Indian Constitution, the union cabinet cleared the Right to Education Bill. Key provisions of the Bill include: 25% reservation in private schools for disadvantaged children from the neighbourhood, at the entry level. The government will reimburse expenditure incurred by schools; no donation or capitation fee on admission; and no interviewing the child or parents as part of the screening process. The Bill also prohibits physical punishment, expulsion or detention of a child and deployment of teachers for non-educational purposes other than census or election duty and disaster relief. Running a school without recognition will attract penal action.
The Right to Education Bill is the enabling legislation to notify the 86th constitutional amendment that gives every child between the age of six and 14 the right to free and compulsory education.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, on April 12, 2012 and directed every school, including privately-run ones, to give immediately free education to students from socially and economically backward classes from class-I till they reach the age of 14 years.
The court threw out the challenge by private unaided schools to Section 12(1)(c) of the Act that says every recognized school imparting elementary education, even if it is an unaided school not receiving any kind of aid or grant to meet its expenses, is obliged to admit disadvantaged boys and girls from their neighbourhood.
Source: The Times of India
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been designated as the agency to monitor provisions of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act.
A series of measures have been taken by the NCPCR to ensure that school admission procedures all over the country are in accordance with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. This was necessitated by the fact that schools in some states were carrying out a screening procedure for admission of children in the elementary stage of education prohibited by the Act.In April, the NCPCR wrote to the chief secretaries of all the states asking them to issue Government Orders to ensure that school admission procedures were in accordance with the RTE Act. This was prompted by the Directorate of Education, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), issuing a notice in March inviting applications for admission to Class VI in the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalayas run by the Directorate.
The NCPCR’s intervention in April came in response to an admission notice that had been issued by the GNCTD’s Directorate of Education in all leading newspapers as well as in the Directorate’s website, inviting students to purchase application forms costing Rs 25 each and thereafter sit for an entrance exam. Since the RTE Act prohibits any kind of screening procedure and permits admissions into any school through random selection only, the notice was clearly in contravention of the Act.
As the nodal body monitoring the implementation of the RTE Act, the Commission wrote to the Principal Secretary, Education, GNCTD, asking the admission notice be withdrawn and a notice in Conformity with the provisions of the RTE be issued instead. It also requested that Government Orders (GO) be issued to all schools in the GNCTD within a week regarding the provisions of the Act so that the schools made the required changes in their procedures and modes of functioning.
As the Directorate did not comply with this request, it was summoned by the Commission in June and given time till July to re-conduct the admission in accordance with RTE procedures. To ensure that the RTE Act was not similarly contravened in other states, the NCPCR has in its letter to the chief secretaries said that the GO they issue to schools on the matter must specify that:
Further, private schools recognized by the government must also be mapped out and issued notice regarding provisions in the Act as well as the procedures by which children in the neighbourhood could claim admission to the schools. Also, the task of finalizing State Rules on the RTE Act must be completed at the earliest.
In response to queries regarding Navodaya Schools which have been designated as ‘specified category’ schools in the RTE Act, the NCPCR clarified that the provisions of Section 13 of RTE Act applied to all schools without exception.
The relevant provision of Section 13 of the Act is:
No school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her parents or guardians to any screening procedure. Any school or person, if in contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1):
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to the commissioner, Navodaya Schools, as well as the state education secretaries against any kind of screening for admission of children to elementary education (Classes 1 to eight). The NCPCR intervened to check violation of RTE provisions after it got reports of Navodaya schools screening students in Delhi and other states.
Quoting Section 13 of the RTE Act 2009, the NCPCR has pointed out that while admitting a child to school, the Act prohibits schools or persons from collecting capitation fees or subjecting the child or the parents and guardians to any screening procedure. Any school or person receiving capitation fees, it has pointed out, could be punished with a fine which could be ten times the capitation fee charged.
Subjecting a child to screening could lead to a fine of Rs 25,000 for the first contravention and Rs 50,000 for each subsequent contravention. Section 13 applies to all schools even the Navodaya schools which have been designated special category schools in the RTE Act. Screening procedures being conducted by Navodaya Schools are a violation of the RTE Act, it clarified. NCPCR has also requested state governments to issue orders to all schools regarding the provisions of the Act so that the required changes in their procedures and modes of functioning are made within a week.
The following persons shall be eligible for appearing in the TET:
Each child from class I to class VIII in the country will be provided free textbooks and uniforms, if a raodmap prepared by the Centre to implement the Right To Education Act (RTE) is accepted by the states.
The roadmap to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act was discussed at a meeting of state Education Secretaries recently.
According to the minutes of the meeting:
Source: Portal Content Team
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