A Critical Analysis of the Right to Education Act, 2009
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to the other’’ – G.K Chesterton. The level of education in India has improved significantly, but to what extent? What are the loopholes in the education system that need to be addressed? Are the norms under the Right To Education Act, 2009 benefiting the children… Read More »
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to the other’’ – G.K Chesterton.
The level of education in India has improved significantly, but to what extent? What are the loopholes in the education system that need to be addressed? Are the norms under the Right To Education Act, 2009 benefiting the children and schools in reality?
The questions are many, but the answers are hidden deep inside the data that we will ponder upon.
The constitution of India guarantees free and compulsory education to all children between the age of six to fourteen years under article 21. In this regard, to define the modalities of The Right to Education, the government of India enacted the Right to Education Act on 4th August 2009. It also defines the norms and rules to be followed by elementary educational institutions. The intention of the RTE Act, 2009 is to educate all. It emphasizes on the quality, participative, stress-free and meaningful educational system.
Let us now look at some of the salient features of the Right to Education Act, 2009 stated below:
- Section 6 of the Right to Education Act, 2009 obligates the state government to establish public/government schools in all localities.
- Section 7 of the Right to Education Act, 2009 proposes to share the financial responsibilities between the central Government and the state government to make the funds available in order to implement the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.
- Section 12 of the RTE Act, 2009 directs all the private schools to secure 25% of the seats for the disadvantaged sections of the children of our society.
- As per section 18 of Right to Education, 2009, A private unaided school is obliged to fulfil the Infrastructure requirements and the public schools need to maintain a proper pupil-teacher ratio of 1:30.
- These infrastructure norms are stringent for the Private unaided schools but according to section 19 of the Right to Educational Act, 2009 the government schools are exempted from penalties for violating the infrastructure They don’t need to follow the infrastructure rules necessarily.
- Under the RTE Act, no child should be liable to make any payment, charges or fees which may hinder him or her from pursuing elementary education.
- The RTE also regulates the attendance that must be maintained in public schools and it also states that it is the duty of the parents to send their children to schools.
- The Right to Education Act, 2009 came with a proposal a few years ago that the teachers should at least qualify CTET & STET to enter the requisite academic institutions.
II. Basis of the Right to Education
Right to Education in India had been a topic of discussion for years. People and politicians tend to argue that children are the foundation of any country, and to make the foundation stronger, education should be provided to each and every child. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that at least in the elementary stages, everyone has a right to free and compulsory education and no child should be deprived of that. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states that education must be geared for the complete growth of human personality as well as the reinforcement of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Article 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of Child talks about the Rights of Child to education and article 29 states that the education of the child should be in a direction of personal, mental and physical development. The provision for child’s education is also provided in the Directive principles of state policy under article 45 of the Indian constitution which states that the state, with the period of 10 years from the commencement of the constitution, shall endeavour to provide free and compulsory education until the child has completed 14 years of age.
Not only these provisions but many of the cases were also fought during the ’90s to make the Right to Educational a “Fundamental Right’’. One of the famous case in this regard was the case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, which accorded the Right to Education as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution that guarantees the Right to life and personal liberty.
Finally in 2002, the government, by the 86th amendment, made Elementary Education a fundamental right in India and after a series of processes and discussions Right to Education came into force from 1st April 2010.
III. Benefits of the implementation of Right to Education Act, 2009
Although, the formulation of the Right to Education Act, 2009 was a good step by the government the benefits are not up to the mark. If we will look at the data (niepa.ac.in), then we will realize that the reality is different.
Let us firstly look at some of the minor improvements that have taken place after the implementation of the RTE Act:
Increase in the Enrolment Rate
If we look at the data of 2013-14, there is a slight upsurge in the percentage of the student’s enrolment from 84.5 % in 2005-06 to 88.08% in 2013-14.
Improvement in the Students Teacher Ratio
Not exactly the pupil-teacher ratio is 1:30, but there is also a slight improvement in the ratio from 46% in 2009-10 to 33% in FY 2013-14.
Reduction in dropouts rate
The dropout rate of children from public schools has declined from 5.62% in 2012 to 4.13% in 2015.
Improvement in the quality of teachers
Due to the requirement of qualifying for certain exams in order to teach in public schools, the level of qualitative teachers has improved but not to a greater extent.
IV. The Loopholes and the real problem
The improvements done by the RTE is only on paper but in reality, children are still not getting what they deserve.
- According to section 12 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, the private unaided schools are obligated to reserve 25% of the seats for the disadvantaged students, because of this the trend of Migration from public to private schools has increased. This is because unfortunately our government schools are not having good facilities and teacher and because of this every parent wants to send their child to private schools.
Now the real problem is that due to this migration almost 24000 schools got closed alone in the states of Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra according to the data of FY 2015-16. Even many of the schools have not adopted this provision of 25% seat reservation because of reason that they cannot afford it. Most schools consider this 25% of children as a burden because of the delay in payments by the government and less profitability of these schools.
- The total Government expenditure on the teachers of the public school was Rupees 56,497 according to the data of 2016-17 (NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION). But to some extent, these expenditures are vague as it is not improving the learning outcome of the students as well as the teachers.
- The increase in the enrolment ratio is because of the introduction of Mid Day meal schemes by the governments. Many parents send their children to the schools in order to have lunch so that it will cut their costs. As a result, the students are not very much motivated towards the knowledge gaining and the learning process. The learning outcome is zero.
- According to section 19 of the RTE Act, 2009, public schools are not necessarily required to fulfil the infrastructure requirements and as a result only 6.4% of the public schools actually fulfil the norms.
- Section 6 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, obligates the state government to establish more of such public schools in the neighbourhood, which again lead to the expenditure by the government on inefficient schools, empty buildings highly paid teachers.
- How can the government expect a better infrastructure in urban cities having small area? This forces the poor kids to stay from the schools.
The idea of the Right to Education was a great step by the government, but the result is not very impressive. The government needs to work a lot to improve the quality of this Act and the quality of education. Because, Education is the basis of development, whether it be the development of the individual or the development of the whole nation. When you are literate and educated, you have the potential to bring change.
The Right to Education Act, 2009 lacks in many areas and the loopholes should be mended by the people as well as the government. The attention should not be towards the buildings or the infrastructures of the schools, but it should be towards the quality of education and quality of teachers.
This is also the reason for the reduction in Human capital. The investors hesitate to invest in our country. They tend to invest in other countries where they can get better human capital and better profits. It’s high time that we open our eye and bring the change.
- Official Website. National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, Retrieved May 8, 2021, Available Here
- Official Website, United Nations Human Rights Office of the High commissioner, Retrieved May 8, 2021, Available Here
- Right to Education, Retrieved May 8, 2021, Available Here
- Official Website, United Nations, Retrieved May 8, 2021, Available Here
 1992 AIR 1858,1992 SCR (3)658