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This article is written by Mukarram Chaudhary, here he discusses Right to Information.

Introduction

Eighty-sixth amendment of Indian Constitution Act 2002 inserted article 21A in the Indian Constitution which provides free and necessary education of all children in between the age of six to fourteen years as a fundamental Right.

The various types of right to education are primary education, secondary education, higher education, and vocational education.

Indian educational system, a historical view

In India, the educational structure has a rich and exciting history. It is believed that in the early days, the education was imparted verbally by the sages and the scholars and the information was passed on from one age group to the other.

After the enlargement of letters, it took the shape of letters using the palm leaves and the barks of trees. This also helped in growing the written literature. The temples and the public centers created the role of schools. Later, the Gurukul system of learning came into existence.

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In 1964, the Education Commission started working with 16 members of which 11 were Indian experts and 5 were foreign experts. The Commission also argues among many global organizations, specialists and advisors in the educational as well as the systematic area. After that, through a constitutional modification, in 1976, the education became a combined responsibility of both the state and the Centre.

Provisions under the constitution of India

Free and Compulsory Education

86th amendment of the constitution of India in 2002 added article 21A, as a fundamental right which says that- “the state shall make available free and necessary education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such way as the state may, by law, decide”.

Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides that, “The state shall endeavor to give within a period of ten years from the initiation of this Constitution, for free and necessary Education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.”

Education of minorities

Article 30 is classified in Part III of the Indian Constitution that elucidates all the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to the people of India irrespective of their religion, caste and sex. Article 30 promote the right of the minorities “to set up and manage educational institutions”.

Language safeguards

Article 29(1) of Indian Constitution states “any division of the citizen, residing in the region of India or any division thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, hall have the right to preserve the same.” Article 350 B provides for the appointment of an extraordinary officer for linguistic minorities to examine into all matters connecting to safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the constitution of India.

Education for weaker sections

Article 15, 17, 46 safeguards the educational interests of the weaker sections of Indian society, that is, socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and listed castes and scheduled tribes. Article 15 of the Constitution states, “Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall avoid the state from creating any special provision for the development of several socially and educationally diffident classes of citizens or for the scheduled tribes and the scheduled castes.”

Article 46 of the Constitution states that the federal government is liable for the economic and educational enlargement of the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.

Right To Education Act, 2009

Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into force on 1 April 2010. The (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the substantial legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, signifies that each child has a right to full-time basic education of suitable and reasonable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain necessary norms and values

With these provisions,
India has moved ahead to a rights-based structure that casts a legal responsibility
on the Central and State Governments to put into practice this fundamental
child right as enshrined in the Article 21A of the Constitution, in conformity
with the provisions of the RTE Act.

Salient features of Right to free and compulsory education act 2009

  • Each and every Child in the age group of 6 to 14, until the completion of basic education, has a right to free and required education in a neighborhood school.
  • The act prohibits payment, capitation charge, screening test/interview of child or parents, corporeal penalty or mental nuisance, private teaching by teachers, and running schools with no recognition.
  • The Act provides the selection of properly skilled teachers. Norms and values of teacher qualification and training are plainly laid down in the Act.
  • The Act prohibits the operation of teachers for non-educational effort other than the decennial sample, elections to a local authority, state legislatures and assembly, and disaster help.
  • The Act specifies the duties and responsibilities of suitable Governments, neighborhood authority in providing free and necessary schooling, and distribution of monetary and other responsibilities among the State and central Governments.

Important Case Law

Mohini Jain Vs. State of Karnataka (1992 AIR 1858)

Facts of the case –

  • Miss Mohini Jain – scholar, and the petitioner from Meerut.
  • Sri Siddhartha Medical college – denied admission on basis of failure to pay the “tuition fee”.
  • capitation fee 4,50,000
  • 60,000 tuition (fee).
  • Article 32 of the Constitution of India.

Issues Raised 

  • Is right to education assured in the constitution of India if so does the model of capitation fee infarcts the right of education?
  • Is notification violative of the provision of the act of educational institution charging capitation fee?
  • According to the notification are private medical colleges allowed to charge capitation fee?
  • Is capitation fee illogical unfair, unreasonable and as such the
    equality clause of article 14?

Held 

The Supreme Court held that the right to education is a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution which cannot be declined to a citizen by charging a higher fee known as the capitation payment. The right to education flows straight from right to life. The right to life under article 21 and the dignity of a person cannot be secure unless it is accompanied by the right to education.

The relevance of the Mohini Jain’s Case 

In this case, the supreme court observed that “ A man without education is no superior to an animal”, and held that the right to education was a necessary element for a dignified and meaningful life.

The more important part of the decision was its demand that the right to education is examined as a primary part of the right to life guaranteed in Article 21, Part III. The judgment of the Court that, the fulfillment of the right to life requires a life of status, and consequently must be interpreted to contain economic and social rights, has been continued by the Indian Courts to ensure rights to water, food, and health.

Avinash Mehrotra v. Union of India & Others, Writ Petition (Civil) No.483 of 2004, (2009) 6 SCC 398

Issue

Whether there is a fundamental right to obtain education free from the panic of donation and safety, and whether the State is obliged to protect minimum safety standards in schools.

Judgment 

The Court held that there is a fundamental right to get education free from the panic of safety and donation, and the educational right incorporates the provision of secure schools pursuant to Articles 21 and 21A of the Constitution of India. No issue where a family seeks to educate its children (i.e. including private schools), the State must make sure that children suffer no damage in practicing their fundamental educational right.

State Governments and Union Territories were directed to make sure that schools observe to necessary safety standards and that school buildings are secure and safe according to the security norms prescribed by the National Building Code and affidavits of consent were mandatory to be filed by authorities concerned.

NGOs which strengthening the educational system of India

Lots of NGOs in India are doing a grand job in serving out the poor children with education and to stand about a social change.

There are several NGOs in India which are doing their best in providing educational equality.

CRY –  http://www.cry.org

CRY (Child Rights and You) is an NGO in India functioning for children and their constitutional rights. ”Chotte Kadam-Pragati ki Aur” is a very popular initiative taken by CRY to progress the situation of underprivileged children, a literacy drive that has reached away to more than 35000 children in 10 states of India. Another campaign is ‘Mission Education’ from CRY to make sure that ‘Education is every child’s right’ and that proper education reaches to more children in every new academic year.

Barefoot College-India –  http://www.barefootcollege.org

Barefoot College that was originally started by two friends Meghraj and Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy and who wanted to set up college for the rural population of India and was established in 1972. Today, the organization trains local community people into teachers, expert professionals in other fields and has initiated many educational efforts for children. The organization in the year 2013 has been ranked as the second best educational NGO by The Global Journal.

Pratham – http://www.pratham.org/

Pratham was established in 1994, Pratham is dedicated to granting education to children belonging to the slums of Mumbai. Group Pratham comprises PhDs, educationists, civil servants, social workers and lots of other knowledgeable personnel who are functioning for a common vision of developing the future of children of the nation. With an aim to offer every child their primary right to education, Pratham has slowly grown-up into a bigger organization covering 19 states of India.

Teach For India – http://www.teachforindia.org

Teach for India with a vision, that ‘One day all children will attain an excellent education’- Lead a mission that encourages young college graduates and professionals to access up two years of full-time teaching gatherings in under-resourced schools. In an attempt to afford excellence education to everyone, Teach For India currently works in 5 main cities of India- Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad and is well prepared with various 700 Fellows who are functioning towards eradicating the high prejudice present in the education system of India.

Conclusion

The right to education (RTE) Act would play an essential role in achieving universal basic education in India, but it is sufficiently clear that the performance of the Act has not covered much ground.

In order to gather the goals set by us, India must prioritize and spend in making the Act an existence through consultation and dialogue with input stakeholders outside and within the administration. Else the Act will join the ranks of yet another legislation which never protected the space between conceptualization and implementation.

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