Right To Education: Need Of The Hour
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE), is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the Act came into force on 1 April 2010
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Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon.” Education is undoubtedly a powerful tool which helps people in fulfilling their dreams by providing them different career options and also by broadening their perspectives. Education leads people to think rationally, raise voice against injustice and get respect in a society.
Right to Education Act, 2010 is an initiative of the government aimed at increasing the number of educated citizens in our country. Enacted on 4th August 2009, Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for all the children aged between six to fourteen years. It makes education a fundamental right for every child in this age bracket. The act was implemented on 1st April 2010 and it specifies the duties of government, parent and local authorities in providing education, lays down norms for student-teacher ratio, prohibits punishment, while making it clear that compulsory education means the obligation of appropriate government to provide free elementary education and also ensuring compulsory admission, attendance and completion of education. It is based on three ideas: Admission in Age Appropriate and Class (AAAC), Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) and No Detention Policy (NDP). A separate Act for disabled persons under 18 years of age is laid down in a separate legislation known as The Person with Disabilities Act.
Another Initiative of GoI is Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which was initiated in 1990’s to increase the rate of literacy and RTE has gone a step further in promoting enrolment of children in school. The success of RTE in increasing enrolment is clearly evident as 1.85 lakh children applied for admission in the first standard under RTE. The number of school dropouts also decreased after its implementation. Apart from offering these advantages, this policy makes the benefits of education available to the disadvantaged sections of the society
Despite implementation of various policies like Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan (providing equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning resources), Rashtriya Ucchtar Shiksha Abhiyan (holistic scheme for development of higher education in India) and Vidyanjali (involving volunteers in co-scholastic activities), children from EWS (economically weaker sections) face multi-faceted challenges while studying in any ‘bourgeoisies’ school. From peer pressures to coping up with exorbitant lifestyles, these economically challenged pupils fight hard on a day to day basis. Several State Governments have concluded in past that the implementation of this policy degraded the quality of teaching and has also increased the number of failures in the IXth and Xth standard. Rigorous procedures, lack of awareness and some external factors were also becoming hurdles in smooth implementation of RTE.
Nevertheless, Right to Education has successfully accomplished some of its objectives. However, this Act would have been more successful if it was not limited to children under an age of 14 years. Instead, it should have focused on democratic access so that those who were denied this right in their initial years of schooling could have been benefitted from RTE in a holistic manner. Furthermore, more counseling centers must be created for parents to create awareness about the importance of education as they play a major role in ensuring the success of this act. If RTE has to be effective, then the government has to create a flawless policy framework and schools have to adhere to the governing codes and moral ethics.
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