Shreya Sharma talks about Right to Education in India.
Right to Education in a lay man’s language means the right of every citizen of India to get educated. In technical sense ‘Right to Education’ is a right that has been granted to us as a fundamental right by the Constitution of India, this means that every citizen of India between the age group of 6 to 14 years is entitled to get free and compulsory education. In eighty sixth amendment act, 2002 of the Constitution, Article 21-A was inserted which provides free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years as a fundamental right. Also, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 was passed that represents that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.
The title of the RTE Act has the words ‘free and compulsory’, here ‘free education’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him/her from pursuing and completing elementary education whereas ‘compulsory education’ puts an obligation on the concerned government and local authorities of a particular area to provide and ensure admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by all the children between the age group of 6 to 14 years.
RTE Act is an initiative by the government to improve the literacy rate of the nation by providing free education to those who can’t afford to go to school. The basic education of few subjects is very important for every child as it helps the child in the practical world, enhances his/her mental ability and also develops interest in acquiring higher education. The act not only grants free education to children between the age group of 6 to 14 years but also puts an obligation on the authorised government and local authorities to look after the admission, attendance and completion of elementary education of each and every child living in the concerned area, also the finance of the child and other responsibilities has to be managed between the Central and State governments.
Various other initiatives have also been made by the government for encouraging enrolment and attendance of the children by introducing Mid- Day Meal program. Since there are a lot of children who do not get proper meal in a day for which they have to do various odd jobs. Therefore this program was initiated as through this program children will not only get full cooked meal to eat but will also have to come to school to attend classes. Another was of promoting education was by providing all the students with a pair of free uniform which they were required to wear to school.
Even after endless efforts made by the government our nation has not been able to achieve a good literacy rate, since we have the largest population of the world but our literacy rate isn’t high enough a lot of children below the age of 7 years get into child labour to fight poverty, estimates say that up to 60 million children (6-14 years) are not in school, out of those in school only 47 out of 100 children enrolled in class I reach class VIII. Due to poverty many parents put all focus on meeting basic survival needs due to which millions of children have no option but to stay away from getting basic education. There are a lot of children who get into child labour and human trafficking due to poverty, poverty is not a condition of a person financially but it is a disease which destroys a person, for basic survival people take up any type of jobs and in some cases they sell their own children for money.
Although India’s literacy rate has risen to 75% from 12% at the time of independence but it is still behind the world average literacy rate of 84%, as compared to other nations, India has the largest illiterate population.
Even after endless efforts made by the government like free education programs for the poor, to developing of schools in areas that are in rural parts of India, to employing trained and experienced teachers, the literacy rate still hasn’t touched the average world literacy rate it is only because awareness of importance of education is not there among people, for survival the poor compel their kids to work at a very young age but the thing they don’t realise is that without education their child can earn for survival only but once their child has attained basic education he/she will be able to earn for his/her family and will also be able to sponsor his/her children’s school fee and this is the only way poverty will end. Otherwise without education oe would not be able to grow in life he/she will only be able to sustain themselves and even their coming generations won’t get a chance to see the inside of school or value the power of education.
Therefore, it is very important to advertise about the initiatives taken by the government to promote education among the poor through advertisements, posters, on radio etc. also NGO’s that teach the under privileged children should be given sponsorship by the big private companies so that they are also able to contribute towards development of the society. Also, the poor in the locality should be counselled on the importance of education and also about the rights and privileges they get, by the ones who are aware about the right to education and various other programs attached with it. It is only when we will dream about a literate nation with 100% literacy, we will be able to achieve it.