Right to education

In thi article, Yashaswi Gupta discusses the Right to Education in India.

‘EDUCATION’- As the word defines education means to acquire knowledge, skills, values and beliefs in different aspects of our life. It is a process of learning and gaining knowledge.

Education is a fundamental human right and it helps to promote individual freedom and empowerment and propagates important development benefits.

The education system of India. A historical trace

Like in ancient times India had the Gurukul system. In Gurukul system, anyone who wants to study can go to the guru (teacher) house or his ashram and request to be taught. If the student is accepted by the guru, he would then stay at the guru’s place and would gain knowledge. The guru taught everything the student wanted to learn, from Sanskrit to Mathematics and to Metaphysics. All learning was closely related to nature and to a different feature of life and was not only confined to retain some information.

And after that, the school system came in India. In which the school was divided into different sections that is from primary junior to senior. According to the age of the child and understanding level, the child is directed to that section. Here, they gain knowledge practically as well as theoretically. According to their interest in different fields, they select different subjects and take a different opportunity and proceed towards different fields whether it is consist of engineering, doctor, lawyer, teacher etc.

The Indian government started the RIGHT TO free and compulsory EDUCATION (RTE) Act, 2009 for making education compulsory and fundamental right of every child.

The Constitutional provision safeguarding the Right to education

The 86th amendment of the constitution in India in 2002 got inserted Article 21-A which is, free and compulsory education for all the children between 6 to 14 years old. This article made education a fundamental right for every child.

The right to education (RTE) act, 2009 under article 21-A, means that every child has the right to study in the school in a proper way such that it must satisfy essential rules and regulations.

Article 21-A and RTE act came into force on 1 April 2010. The RTE act basically supports and encourages “free and compulsory” education. Here, free education means that none of the child is allowed to pay any fee or any kind of charges for completing and getting education except for the child whose parents are there who are capable of paying fees and affording all other kinds of expenses for their child related to studies. And compulsory education means that it is the duty of the government and concerning local authorities to check for proper attendance of the students, to ensure proper admission and also to take care for the fulfillment of fundamental education of every child.

Salient features of Right to free and compulsory education act, 2009

The RIGHT TO EDUCATION (RTE) ACT, consist of the following measures-

  • Every child has the fundamental right to free and compulsory education.
  • The RTE act makes rules for the non-admitted students to be admitted at a proper age to the specified class.
  • It specifies different responsibilities to the local authorities and government to ensure to provide free and compulsory education.
  • It also lays down rules regarding Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs).
  • It also ensures that the employment of every teacher whether in urban or in rural areas is in a balanced way, and should maintain a proper ratio.
  • It also lay down rules for maintaining the infrastructure of the schools, proper working hours for the teachers etc.
  • It also suggests employing trained and well-educated teachers.

The Right to Education act also forbids some of the issues like,

  • Any type of mental harassment over any student or physical assault.
  • Capitation fees, which means that the amount of fee taken by the institution which is more than the prescribed fee.
  • It also prohibits the working of the school without its identification.

The RTE act wants to form an education system in which every child should be allowed to get education freely and he or she should be free from any kind of fear regarding harassment, unequal treatment etc. This act wants to establish the system in which full knowledge regarding subject and moral values should be provided and none of the child could be remained deprived of their fundamental and the most basic rights.

Some steps that should be taken by the Government and local authorities and also by the parents for increasing awareness regarding education are-

  • In RTE “compulsory education” creates an important responsibility for the government as well as for the local authority to ensure admission of every child of the age 6-14 years.
  • It is the responsibility of the parents to maintain proper attendance of their child.
  • Fulfilling elementary education of each and every child falling under the age of 6-14 years.
  • The government should try to maintain proper training facilities of the teachers.
  • It should ensure a good elementary education that should be according to the norms.
  • It is the responsibility of the local authorities that the child belonging to the weaker section of the society and anyone who is disabled should not be discriminated from the other students.

There are certain responsibilities of the school and the teachers too. These are,

  • The teacher appointed should perform the norms the under sub-section (1) of section 23.
  • A teacher should be regular and punctual towards his duty.
  • It is the responsibility of the school to maintain proper discipline, to make compulsory the elementary education and try to take care that every child is being treated well or not and gaining proper knowledge.

Let’s now focus on the literacy rate of India.

Government have taken many major steps and initiatives for increasing the literacy rate in India. If we see the data of the year 2001, the National Literacy Mission which was held in 2001 have given the data which shows that in India 64.84% of the persons were literate in which 75.26% were males and 53.67% were females. At that time the highest literacy rate was in the state of Kerala in which 90.86% persons were literate among them 94.24% were males and 87.72% were females. The lowest literacy rates were in Bihar in which only 47% of the persons were literate among which 59.68 were males and 33.12% were females.

For the year 2011 the literacy rates were 74.04%. In which 82.14% were males and 65.465 were females.
So, we can see that there is an increase in the literacy rate. If we compare since independence then from the year 1951 to the year 2011 the rates are as follows-

1951-        Total literacy rate: 18.33%

                Male literacy rate:   27.16%

                Female literacy rate: 8.86%

1961-       Total literacy rate: 28.30%

               Male literacy rate: 40.40%

               Female literacy rate: 15.35%

1971-        Total literacy rate: 34.45%

                Male literacy rate: 45.96%

                Female literacy rate: 21.97%

1981-       Total literacy rate: 43.57%

               Male literacy rate: 56.38%

              Female literacy rate: 29.76%

1991-      Total literacy rate: 52.21%

              Male literacy rate: 64.13%

              Female literacy rate: 39.29%

2001-      Total literacy rate: 64.83%

              Male literacy rate: 75.26%

              Female literacy rate: 63.67%

2011-      Total literacy rate: 74.04%

              Male literacy rate: 82.14%

              Female literacy rate: 65.46%

As compared since independence we can see that there is an increase in the literacy rate. But the increasing level is slow. So the government has made different rules and regulations, different types of norms, acts, articles etc to increase awareness among the people.

Education is the most fundamental right of us and we should try to encourage the people from urban areas and persons who are not able to get the sufficient information regarding rules and regulations so that the acts and articles made by the government can be useful and fruitful.

Sugested Readings.

Substantive Rights That Flow From Article 21

Legal Education in India: What lies ahead?



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  1. Dear Sir,

    My name is Zafar Husain from Kanpur UP. My daughter has got name of RTE 2019 Allotted list.
    But when i went got to that school which is Allotted by RTE Act. They didn’t given the admission. They told me. He don’t know about RTE admissions.

    Would you please guide me. how can i get the admission
    My Contact no. is 9795075367