Right to Education
The Constitutional Amendment of 2002 that included the Article 21A in the Indian constitution making Edu- cation a fundamental Right. A rough draft of the bill was composed in year 2005.
The Right of Children Free and Compulsory Education Act was pro- posed on 4th August, 2009. It came into effect on 1st April, 2010, except in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
On 7 May 2014, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Right to Education Act is not applicable to Minority institutions.
- It lays emphasis on the development of both scholastic and coscholastic areas.
- It is obligatory for the Government to provide free and compulsory elementary education, up to Class 8th, to each and every child in India in a neighbourhood school within 1 km.
- RTE Act lays down norms and standards relating to relating to PupilTeacher Ratios (number of children per teacher), classrooms, separate toilets for girls and boys, drinking water facility, number of school-working days, working hours of teachers, etc. Each and every elementary school (Primary School + Middle School) in India has to comply with these minimum standards set by the RTE Act.
- RTE Act mandates that an out of school child is admitted to an age appropriate class and provided with special training to enable the child to come up to age appropriate learning level.
- RTE Act prohibits physical punishment and mental harassment; discrimination based on gender, caste, class and religion; screening procedures for admission of children; capitation fee; private tuition by teachers and running of schools without recognition.
- RTE Act provides for development of curriculum, which would ensure the all-round development of every child by building child’s knowledge, human potential and talent.
- The Act has mandated the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) method to ensure grade ap- propriate learning outcomes.
- RTE Act is justiciable and is backed by a Grievance Redressal (GR) mechanism that gives opportunity to people to take action against non-compliance of various provisions of the Act.
- RTE Act mandates all the private schools to reserve 25 per cent of the seats for children belonging to socially disadvantaged and economically weaker sections. This provision of the Act is aimed.at furthering social inclusion for a better India.
in 2009, which guarantees free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. The RTE Act also specifies that children from disadvantaged and marginalized communities must be given special care and attention to ensure that they are not left behind.
The implementation of the RTE Act has faced several challenges, particularly in terms of ensuring access to education for all children, particularly those from marginalized and disadvantaged communities. Despite efforts to improve access to education, many children in India are still out of school, particularly in rural areas and among lower-caste and tribal communities.
The quality of education in India is also a concern, with many schools lacking basic infrastructure and qualified teachers. Dropout rates are high, particularly among girls, and there are significant gender gaps in education, particularly in some states.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the digital divide and the challenges of providing online education to all students. Many students in rural areas and from disadvantaged communities have been unable to access online education due to the lack of infrastructure and connectivity.
To address these challenges, the Indian government has launched several initiatives, including the Digital India program, which aims to provide digital infrastructure and connectivity to all parts of the country. The government has also launched programs to improve the quality of education, including teacher training and curriculum reforms.
Overall, while progress has been made in improving access to education in India, there is still a long way to go to ensure that every child has access to quality education. It is essential that the government continues to invest in education and takes steps to address the challenges facing the education system, particularly for marginalized and disadvantaged communities.
Indian education policy
The Indian education policy has evolved over time, with several key reforms and initiatives launched to improve access to education and the quality of education provided. The latest National Education Policy (NEP) was launched in 2020 and is aimed at transforming the education system in India.
The NEP 2020 emphasizes the importance of early childhood education and provides for the integration of vocational education from class 6 onwards. The policy also emphasizes the use of technology in education, with a focus on online learning and digital infrastructure. The policy aims to make education more inclusive and equitable, with a focus on reducing disparities in access to education between different regions and communities.
One of the key reforms proposed in the NEP 2020 is the restructuring of the education system into a 5+3+3+4 structure, with the first five years of schooling devoted to foundational education, the next three years to preparatory education, the following three years to middle school education, and the final four years to secondary education. This restructuring is aimed at ensuring a more holistic and flexible approach to education, with a focus on experiential learning and skill development.
The NEP 2020 also emphasizes the importance of teacher training and professional development, with a focus on continuous learning and the use of technology in teaching. The policy also proposes reforms to the higher education system, with a focus on multidisciplinary education and the promotion of research and innovation.
Overall, the NEP 2020 is a comprehensive policy aimed at transforming the education system in India. While the implementation of the policy will face several challenges, including resource constraints and the need for systemic changes, the policy has the potential to significantly improve access to education and the quality of education provided in India.
In addition to the reforms proposed in the NEP 2020, several other initiatives have been launched in recent years to improve the Indian education system. These initiatives include:
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): Launched in 2001, SSA is a flagship program aimed at providing universal access to elementary education in India. The program provides for the construction of schools, the provision of free textbooks, the training of teachers, and the development of curriculum and assessment frameworks.
- Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA): Launched in 2009, RMSA is aimed at improving access to secondary education in India. The program provides for the construction of schools, the provision of free textbooks, the training of teachers, and the development of curriculum and assessment frameworks.
- Digital India: Launched in 2015, Digital India is a program aimed at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The program includes initiatives aimed at providing digital infrastructure and connectivity to all parts of the country, including rural areas.
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM): Launched in 2016, AIM is aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among students in India. The program includes initiatives aimed at promoting a culture of innovation in schools and colleges, and providing funding and support to students and startups.
- National Skill Development Mission (NSDM): Launched in 2015, NSDM is aimed at promoting skill development and vocational education in India. The program includes initiatives aimed at providing training and certification to individuals in a range of skills and trades, and promoting entrepreneurship and self-employment.
Overall, these initiatives, along with the proposed reforms in the NEP 2020, represent a significant effort to transform the Indian education system and improve access to education and the quality of education provided. However, the implementation of these initiatives will require sustained commitment and investment from the government, as well as the involvement of all stakeholders in the education sector.