Salient Features of the Right to Education Act, 2009

The Right to Education Act, 2009 fulfilled the national aspiration long nurtured since the British period. Almost 100 years ago, Maharaja of Baroda introduced free education for children in the age group 6-12 in his province. Inspired with Baroda experiment, G K Gokhale tried to force the British government to accept the principle of free and compulsory primary education. Gandhi and others tried with the Wardha Scheme of Basic Education. They failed but the RTE Act 2009 fulfilled their long cherished dreams.

The Right to Education Act, 2009 

Right to education Act, 2009 is vital for IndiaWhen the ‘Free and compulsory education’ was made a ‘fundamental right’ under article 21A of the constitution in December 2002 through the 86th Amendment it was a very important step and conclusion of a long journey that started from the Charter Act 1813, to the Macaulay’s Minute (1835), to Wood Despatch (1854), to Elementary Education Act (1870), to Maharaja Baroda’s compulsory Education (1906), to Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s Bill (1911), to Hartog Committee(1929), to Mahatma Gandhi’s Basic Education (1937) and after independence through the Article 45, NPE 1968 and 1986, DPEP (1991), and SSA (2001). The passage of the RTE Act, 2009 was fulfillment of a long cherished dream of so many freedom fighters and the Constitution makers.

When the colonial British left in 1947, India inherited an educational system that had not only limited reach but was also characterized by striking gender and regional disparities. Only one out of three children was going to the primary school. Clearly, providing elementary education to all children was a big challenge at that time and this sentiment was reflected in the Constitution. The Article 45 of the newly framed Constitution stated that “the State shall endeavor to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution, free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years”.

However, it took the parliament another seven years to pass the ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009’ in August 2009, and it came into force in April 2010. Based on this Act, a subordinate legislation, the Model Rules, was framed by the centre to provide guidelines to states for implementing the Act. The RTE Act, 2009 means that the directive principle got turned into a fundamental right. Thus, every child in this age group, 6 – 14, has a right to full time elementary education in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. However, the RTE Act offered only partial fulfillment because children up to 6 years of age are left out. But note the phrase ‘free and compulsory’ in the title of the RTE Act.

Here ‘free’ means that no child shall be burdened with any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education. And, ‘compulsory education’ means obligation to provide free elementary education by ensuring admission, attendance and completion rests with the government.

Education is the fundamental right of every child

The following salient features provide the basis of implementation of the RTE Act, 2009.

  • Every child in the age group of 6-14 has the right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school, till the completion of elementary education.
  • The act prohibits donation, capitation fee, screening test/interview of child or parents, physical punishment or mental harassment, private tuition by teachers, and running schools without recognition.
  • The Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act mandates unaided and non-minority schools to keep aside 25% seats for underprivileged children of society through a random selection process. Government will fund education of these children. No seats in this quota can be left vacant. These children will be treated on par with all the other children in the school and subsidized by the State at the rate of average per learner costs in the government schools (unless the per learner costs in the private school are lower). All private schools will have to apply for recognition, failing which they will be penalized as per the laid down norms. If implemented enthusiastically, this can have a far reaching impact in improving the education system of the country by inclusiveness. It allows parents to send their kids to schools of better quality. The only constraint is the distance between the school and home, rather than financial capacity. It puts students from the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups among the relatively privileged children of rather sound financial background. This mix up goes a long way towards inclusive education making all children more pro-social and accommodative, without affecting their academic outcomes. Finally, it enables children from poor families access quality education.
  • No child can be held back, expelled and required to pass the board examination till the completion of elementary education. [This is now set to change through The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017.] The first time enrolled child is to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
  • The Act lays down the norms and standards of Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school working days, teacher working hours. Schools that do not fulfill these standards will not be allowed to function. Specification of the PTR ensures that there is no averaging at the State or District or Block level, preventing urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings.
  • The Act provides appointment of appropriately trained teachers. Norms and standards of teacher qualification and training are clearly laid down in the Act.
  • The Act prohibits deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
  • There is provision for establishment of commissions to supervise the implementation of the act. All schools except private unaided schools are to be managed by School management Committees with 75% of parents and guardians as members.
  • The Act specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
  • The Act provides for development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, for the all- round development of the child, building on the child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centered learning.

Monitoring the RTE Act, 2009 is the Task of NCPCR

Proper implementation of the Right to education Act is a responsibility of all, not just of the NCPCR.The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been mandated to monitor the implementation of this historic Right. A special Division within NCPCR will undertake this huge and important task in the coming months and years. The NCPCR shall have the power of a civil court. A special toll free helpline to register complaints will be set up by NCPCR for this purpose.

NCPCR invites all civil society groups, students, teachers, administrators, artists, writers, government personnel, legislators, members of the judiciary and all other stakeholders to join hands and work together to build a movement to ensure that every child of this country is in school and enabled to get at least 8 years of quality education.

RTE Act should help end Child Labour and Child Marriages

Child labor can only be eliminated by proper implementation of the RTE Act 2009Approximately 22 crore children fall under the age group 6-14. Out of which 4.1% i.e. 90 lakhs children either dropped out from school or never attend any educational institution. These children can be easily counted among child labours. Now ensured by the RTE Act, these poor children will have the chance of getting elementary education.

As per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, amended in 2016 (“CLPR Act”), a “Child” is defined as any person below the age of 14. The CLPR Act prohibits employment of a Child in any employment including as a domestic help. It is a cognizable criminal offence to employ a Child for any work.

UNICEF estimates that due to its high population India has the highest number (though small in percentage terms) of labours in the world under the 14 years of age. The ILO estimates that agriculture employs the largest employer of child labour in the world, around 60%.  The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates this to be still higher, at 70%.  However, child labour is observed in almost all segments of the informal sectors of the Indian economy.

Girls' education has a long term effect on the societyAnother important issue is that of child marriages because there is strong evidence of the positive effect of education on delaying girls’ marriages. India has the highest number of child brides in the world.  As per the NFHS 2015-16 survey, around 27% girls in India are married before attaining the age of 18 – ie, almost every one out of four marriages involves a girl child. The situation is worst in the rural areas where 31.5% girls below 18 get married as compared with urban areas where the number is 17.5%. Further, nearly 8% girls between 15-19 were already mothers or pregnant at the time of survey. The WHO reports indicate that a child bride is more than doubly prone to health issues than a grown up woman.

Although the newer finding of NFHS shows an improvement over what it discovered in 2005-06, 47% girls marrying before 18, the rate of 27% is still alarming. As the Education Act’s  provisions get implemented more properly, lesser number of girls would get dumped into premature martial relations.

Thus, the RTE Act, 2009 has enough important features that, if implemented in the right spirit, have the potential to transform India by educating its younger generation.

You may also like to explore

RTE Act 2009 – Issues & Challenges

Tracing the Roots of “Right to Education” in British India

About Goodpal

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34 Responses to Salient Features of the Right to Education Act, 2009

  1. Pingback: How to Make the RTE Act More Effective | Disecting State Policies

  2. Pingback: RTE Act 2009 — Anomalies and Challenges | Dissecting State Policies

  3. Deepak kumar singh says:

    Nice and precise

  4. Pankaj says:

    Gd learning material

  5. Chetankumar C. Rattihalli says:

    One thing I am confused is, whether ICSE syllabus schools are also covered under this Act.

  6. GARIMA SINGH says:

    easy language, precise, overall its nyc……………………..

  7. Goodpal says:

    Thanks friends, for your Comments. Please keep visiting.

  8. Kiewsanroy Nongbet says:

    I strongly appreciate and support with this act.and one thing i want to know that can we get this act in regional language on the internet

  9. xyz says:

    right to education act pass karney sey ek baat to tay hai ki padney waley baccho ka bhi futur kharab hai or padney walon key saath bhi dokha hi hai

  10. vaishali says:

    right to education act will become very useful for India .it is a positive step for childrens to take education free & compulsary in the age of 6 to 14 years.thanks to Indian government for this act.

  11. Goodpal says:

    Thank you Vaishali, for sharing your views. What is needed is the quality in education. Mere building and staff facilities are not good enough.

  12. Biswajit Roy says:

    The class rooms are not well according to the child environment.The child comes to school not for study but for fun games.So we have to teach in a play way manner such as readin stories showinn some easy magic.At this the children will love to come school and collect knoledge.Unfortunatelly we have no audio-visual method in most of our schools in India.

  13. Goodpal says:

    Thanks Biswajit, for sharing your thoughts. You are talking about quality of education by using high technology. If we leave aside the urbanized India which has been nurtured since independence, the truth is that a vast majority of people is struggling with poverty. For their children school has been a luxury meant for the well off society. The RTE has for the first time in India enabled them to enter a school boundary. It is another fact that a lot of people send their children to school because the kids can eat the mid day meal. Society has to come forward and take care of the facilities the government is creating and contribute towards upgrading the quality of teaching.

  14. Gurbakhshish Singh says:

    RTE act had made our students totally illiterate. They have the certificate of eight class pass certificate but cannot even write their names properly. I am the teacher in Punjab and I totally reject the act which has been prepared by the people who don’t have any experience in the actual pupil-teacher interaction. What these people are making is just the degradation of our education system. Starting from 10+2+3 system the whole education system has been made to rot by the so called leaders of the country

  15. Goodpal says:

    Thanks Gurbakhshish Singh, for sharing.

    I am absolutely in 100 percent agreement with you. You described the rotting standard of education in schools which is a shameful reality. In reality, the RTE is merely right to schooling, not education.

    Let me describe my experience with the status of private college education:

    I happen to be in a private college in UP’s Bijnor area for some time, impressed the ultra-high talk of morality, ethics and uplifting the rural kids through education by the management. I thought my academic and research experience of universities abroad will come handy and will prove useful both for the faculty and students. But as days passed, all the impressive words I had been hearing proved to absolutely hollow. My suggestion to allow me to undertake some practical training of the faculty and students remained unresponded despite repeated efforts. Soon I realized that I was in the company of empty talkers — who don’t know what they are talking about. Their only aim was to somehow impress people and install colorful posters on the highways to attract students. I withdrew when I discovered that it was just part of the modern education industry, and has nothing to do with education in real terms.

    Now my heart cries when I think that such engineering colleges are distributing degrees of fanciful qualifications and producing “Engineers” who can hardly perform simple experiments. What will their contribution be towards the society and the country, is anyone’s guess.

    Unfortunately, educational institutions today are mere show piece if under governments, or “shops’ run by traders if in the private hands.

    • sandhu lovely says:

      the bill provides for no detention policy,there should be some monitoring system on children’s academic and personal growth. No detension would mean the sending of children to secondary schools without having any foundation of elementary level. therefore, it would be better to hold back a child to repeat another year in the same class rather than passing him till 8th class.

  16. MD ALI JINNAH says:

    Not bad

  17. niharika gupta says:

    RTE is also failed cz of the illiteracy of gardians.I m also a primary teacher nd i found myself totaly disappointed hw to teach these rural students?The main pblm is that if a student is present on same day,he will b absent on other 4 to 3days.Then hw he can earn knowledge if he is nt regular?

  18. Goodpal says:

    Niharika, I can see your frustration. But you must realize that working in non-ideal conditions is also most challenging – anyone can teach in schools in the cities among educated people.

    Even if a student is present for just one day in a week, please it as your success – it is better than 7 absents in a week! You may also work on yourself to make your delivery more interesting. Further, rest assured that your words are absorbed by pupil in different proportions. Very often, the will recall you after when they are grown up!

    So, take it as a challenge; not as a burden, and keep going.

  19. Pingback: Overview of Important Issues in India | Issues of India | हिंद बॉक्स

  20. Aniruddha says:

    Disable children are also get the all facilities

  21. suraj says:

    i have a( 6+) daughter and wants to admitt her in delhi government school , but they are denying her by saying that she is over age so we cant admit her in 1 st class . how can this act help me out

  22. Genial Geist says:

    Till today i.e., 06-10-2016. In Arunachal Pradesh the RTE Act 2009 not so well implemented. Teacher are still taking admission fee under the age group of 6-14years. And this is not about the urban areas, m talking about the rural areas. And punishment of student, discrimination,threatening, favour system., etc is till now practiced in mostly private, govt. , and central govt. schools. I hope this is not so because that our Arunachal is backward or say illetrate. In my view its due to carelessness of the implementers. So my question is what step would you take if u were a parents of a student studying in such conditioning schools?

  23. ASHISH KAMDI says:

    Are teachers allowed for private coaching in rte? Students should get passed till 5th standard, after that exam is required.

  24. Mohammed usman khan says:

    Sir, I need help my son is read 9th std in st charms high school. In bhadravathi -577301. Shimoga district karnataka state who can I approach please guide me

  25. Mohammed usman khan says:

    Sir, I need help my son is read 9th std in st charms high school. In bhadravathi -577301. Shimoga district karnataka state who can I approach please guide me. Cell no 0 9945 949 007

  26. Rahul says:

    This is some good notes……but i hope i get to see the reference too

  27. Rozey Aguan says:

    Is there any rules in admitting siblings in same school under RTE act?

  28. nandini says:

    js there any other feature for children with special needs??

  29. Bhagyalaxmi K S says:

    my son ayush is studing in Amrutha vidyalayam boloor mangalore under RTE..But they receive every year rs.3200/- per books and uniform extra charges.please inform me wether books and uniforms free for rte student or not?

  30. Kunal Ambedkar ka admission Springfield School Sector 10 naya Moradabad

  31. Anisha says:

    This made me all clear about the confusion between RTE 2009 and 86th Amendment Act,2002.
    Thankyou !

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