The Right to Education Act(RTE) was enacted By the parliament of India, on 4 August 2009. This Act is a fundamental right of education for every child and explains the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children of India between the age group of 6 and 14 under the Article 21 A.
This Act was a much needed Act to revolutionize the growing and changing ‘Indian Educational System’.
The Act requires the following
- To reserve 25% of seats to children (to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan).
- It also prohibits the operation of all unrecognized schools.
- It strictly prohibits donation or capitation fees.
- It prohibits the undertaking of interview or screening the child or parent for admission.
- The Act also provides that no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education.
- It mandatory prohibits physical or corporal punishment and mental harassment.
- It obligates the appropriate Government and local authorities to provide and ensure admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by all children in the 6-14 age groups.
- It also lays down the appropriate Government’s obligation in providing free and compulsory education and sharing of financial responsibilities of the child’s education.
- It makes provisions to admit a non-admitted child to an age appropriate class.
- It specifies the teacher student ratio.
- It specifies the appointment of appropriately trained teachers, with specific qualification.
- It also protects the rights of teachers by mentioning the appropriate teacher student ratio thus specifying the teachers work load. It provides for proper and rational deployment of teachers, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings.
- It also prohibits the deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than census, local election, and disaster relief.
- It prohibits the undertaking of private tuition by teachers.
- The enforcement of this Act will bring about the necessary uniformity and also bring clarity to various issues faced by the schools, teachers, students and the parents at large.
The Act has long standing benefits:
- It obligates private schools towards their duties to the disadvantaged sections of the society by ensuring that these schools admit students belonging to disadvantaged sections of the society and provide them free education.
- It creates awareness amongst the citizens about their right to education.
- Reduces undue pressure over students by reducing their apprehensions about exams.
- As students from both the strata mingle with each other they are sensitized about the different lifestyles.
- Maintaining proper teacher student ratio ensures better teaching as better personal attention can to given and the needs of different students can be met.
- Protects the rights of teachers and safe guards their services from being misused for services beyond their domain.
- Earlier the disadvantaged children had no choice but to attend only the municipality schools, which many times are not governed well and are deprived of basic minimum facilities and infrastructure.
- Reservation in the private schools will ensure that these children will be provided with the same education that their peers from the higher society have the privilege to partake.
- This will go a long way of reducing illiteracy; they will also imbibe better values to become good humans.
- Making corporal punishment a criminal offense will bring about positive behavioral changes amongst students
Unfortunately just as every coin has two sides so does this Act. Some of the areas of concern are;
- We have seen many loop holes in the implementation of this act both from the Government authorities and school management.
- Many schools have still not given admission to these reserved seats.
- Also schools run by minority community do not come under its jurisdiction which further complicates issues.
- Private schools use unscrupulous methods to get away from the Act.
- Sometimes the disadvantaged students who get admission through this Act may find it difficult to settle down in these plush schools and can develop an inferior complex in comparison to their elite peers especially when it comes to using expensive products.
- Parents of these students may find it difficult to keep up with the academic pace as they themselves are not educated and can find it difficult to give the support the child requires in terms of his studies.
- There are chances these students may face racial and economical bias thus further complicating affairs in terms of lower confidence, rebellion etc.
All in all it’s an ACT if implemented well can bring about a revolution by revitalising our Indian System of Education. The Act was a much needed one and can bring about positive changes to the community as a whole. This will be possible if the areas of concern and those that need improvement are handled with care and caution. The Government has to work with vigilance and make this Act a success. But we cannot put the entire responsibility on the government and wash our hands of the issue. We the citizens of India, along with the NGOs and above all the school management should come together and work towards the success of it and make our India a better place to thrive and supersede our western counterparts in terms of giving our young generation the best possible education to bring about holistic growth.