Swathi Bhat analyses the evolution and the implementation of RTE Act, 2009.
Education as defined in Black Stone law dictionary, comprehends not merely the instruction received at schools and colleges. Education is nothing but a system of giving and taking of knowledge or we can call it as a system of sharing of knowledge which takes place in various schools, colleges, universities, etc. Education is one of the basic needs of people in all human societies. The very stand of society depends upon the transmission of culture to the young. Every society has its own means to fulfill such needs. Education has been one of the ways fulfilling this need. Education plays a very important and crucial role for the growth and development of the country.
In the year 1950, India made a Constitutional Amendment i.e., to provide free and compulsory education to children up to the age of 14 years, by adding Article 45 of Directive Principle of State Policy(DPSP). Today the Indian Constitution, through its 86th Amendment has inserted the provision of Article 21(A) in the constitution which specifies or recognizes Education as a Fundamental Right for the citizens of the country which attempts to provide free and compulsory education for the children falling under the age group of 14 years. The Constitution of India not only sets out the right but also sets duty on parents of such children under Article 51A to provide education for their children from the age group of 6 to 14 years.
The Government of India in the year 2009 enacted i.e. Right to Education Act, (RTE) which came into force on 1st April, 2010 highlighting the importance of Education to the children from the age of 6 to 14 years under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. Right to Education act is a very wide ranging Act which deals with issues like minimum standards of infrastructure in public and private schools, reservations of seats for economically backward class, sufficient teachers, etc. While on the other hand it speaks about teaching learning process in schools and colleges. Article 28 of United Nation Convention on Rights of the Children also recognizes Right of the Children to Education
In 1993, the Honorable Supreme Court of India gave its landmark judgment in the case of Unnikrishnan JP v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Others, held that Education is the fundamental right flowing under the concept of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Current Issues Relating to RTE Act:
According to this Act minority institutions which are unaided are exempted from this reservation as it is considered as being ultra vires of the constitution and it might interfere with the rights of the minorities. So this law indirectly puts the burden on private institutions who will be economically hindered by providing free education to 25% of the students. Though the government promises to financially support such schools, it wouldn’t be necessary to mention the intricacy involved in receiving such grants which needs to be filtered through the prevailing corrupt system.
Secondly, this Act doesn’t allow the child to be detained or held back until the completion of the primary education irrespective of the fact whether the child can cope up with the curriculum or not. Even the selection of these students is not based on the merit.
Thirdly, this Act promises to provide education to students who are in between the age group of 6 to 14 years. In this competitive world, just obtaining primary education is insufficient. Parents or guardians of such students are required to follow the norms of the school and will not be provided with any grants after the completion of the primary education. Hence, this may result in dropouts and the whole concept of providing education becomes ineffective.
Fourthly, each state has the liberty to frame its own rules for the implementation of this Act which is resulting in ambiguity and misinterpretation of the Act. There are no clear provisions regarding the documents required to avail the benefits of RTE Act. Further there is a blurred revealing of various aspects like free school uniforms, books, transport facilities etc.
Lastly, there is a lack of awareness among the targeted group. The government has failed in communicating and reaching the people. Though the media took few initiatives towards spreading the Act, it is still unclear due to various drawbacks mentioned above. The Act provides for online selection of students. This would be a tough row to hoe as many parents who come from both socially and economically backward sections of the society would be unaware of technologies and procedures.
Certain Contraventions Relating to Education in India:
The following are certain contraventions which we would like to focus into:
- Whether Education in today’s world is for the purpose of charity?
Because in today’s world if a person wants to get admission in any of the well recognized schools, colleges or universities in particular the private institutions they have to give huge amount of donation just for having a seat in such institution.
- There are still some places in India where there is lack of availability of proper schools for children which makes their parents bound to send their children to work, to earn some of their daily expenses.
- There are also certain situations, where schools are available in their locality but the parents insist on children going to work and earn some money for their family as they consider education is unnecessary.
- In such circumstances whom should we blame, the government or the parents of such children who are the victims of poverty?
- On the other hand there are few circumstances in India, where parents don’t educate their daughters as they think it is a waste of money and compel them to indulge in household chores.
The above are certain practical contraventions which is important to be answered because on one hand the government is taking many vigorous steps towards the encouragement of education whereas on the other side of the coin the following contraventions have set off.
Today, the Government of India has made tremendous educational planning starting from constituent of school up till universities in its territorial boundaries. As a result of which there has been a phenomenal growth in number of schools and universities both in private as well public undertaking.
Though it has been many years since the RTE Act has been passed, there is no significant improvement in the field of education. There is a failure on the part of government in providing good infrastructure and qualified teachers. According to the Act, a child should be provided with good infrastructure school within every 1km to 3km, and it is the duty of the government to adhere to the same and increase the quality of existing government run schools instead of imposing unnecessary regulations on private institutions. However government alone cannot bring noteworthy modification in school education without the support of guardians and community members. Time has also come for public to wake up and contribute towards the eradication of ailments like illiteracy and ignorance.
 AIR 1993 SC 2178