Right to Education

Education is one of the most important and necessities to have a good future. Anything that is considered so important, valuable, and necessary will eventually also be expensive, so is education. With the increase in population and the notion of the nation being called developing, the youth must strike the notion out. In India, most of the population comprises of the backward society such as the slums population. If proper and basic education is provided to them, they too can contribute to making the country a better place. Therefore, the government introduced a scheme called the Right to Education by which the citizens are provided with free Education.


Illiteracy has been a major problem in India since the memoir. The increase in the population led to an increase in the ratio of illiteracy as well. Taking this situation into consideration, the government sought the need to introduce a bill about providing education to children as they opined that it is the youth who need to be educated to make India a developed country rather than developing. On the 4th of August 2009, the government introduced the Right to Education Act, 2009 i.e. Right to Education Act,2009. This act came into effect on the 1st of April 2010 making India a part of the 135 countries that have made education a fundamental right for every child. 

Article 21-A

Education has always been a problem regardless of center or state. After the decision in Unnikrishnan, the Constitution Act,2002 introduced Article 21-A stating “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine”. Originally Article 45 (DPSP) of the constitution dealt with providing free education and care to children up to the age of six. There were many proposals made by successive governments to make the right to education a part of the Fundamental Right. After fifty-two years, the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act resulted in introducing the Right to Education as a part of the Fundamental Right. The journey of Right to education initially being enumerated as a directive principle of state policy to further being considered as a fundamental right has been a struggle for activists, NGOs, and educationalists.

In the case  Bandhua Mukti Morcha (led by Swami Agnivesh) vs. U.O.I.[1] The Hon’ble apex court held that the Right to Education is placed as a part of the Right to life because every individual deserves basic education. It is every citizen’s right to basic amenities and education is a part of it. Without the right to education, the Right to life under Article 21 will just remain a dream and far from realization. Recently in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation vs. the State of Karnataka[2], the declaration made for the Right to education was upheld by an eleven-judge Bench.

Right to Education Act

The Right to Education Act was introduced by the Manmohan Singh Government on the 4th of August 2009. It was introduced to provide education to every child enabling them to have a better future. Right to Education concentrates on the following:

1.     Compulsory and free education to all

According to the Right to Education Act, the government must provide free and compulsory primary education to all children in the neighborhood school which falls within 1 Km radius.

2.     The benchmark mandates

The right to Education Act,2009 laid down some norms and standards concerning the number of children per teacher, the classrooms, separate toilets for students, the drinking facility, working hours, etc. Every school in India has to comply with these norms prescribed under the Act.

3.     Special provisions for special cases

The Right to Education Act,2009 instructs that, special cases too should be provided with admission with the appropriate aged class and given special training till the possible level.

4.     Quantity and Quality of teachers

The Act mandates that every school should appoint a specific number of teachers with proper qualifications. Every teacher appointed is ought to possess a degree of B.Ed. 

5.     No tolerance against discrimination and harassment

Right to Education Act, 2009 prohibits discrimination against any child based on religion, caste, creed, sex. The harassment of any student, teacher, or staff is not acceptable.

6.     Ensuring all-round development of children

The Right to Education Act,2009 demands to make the curriculum in a manner that can ensure complete development of the child. They are asked to make curriculums which not only contribute to the all-round development of the child but also which suits right. It should help the child to build its knowledge, human potential, and bring out the talent it possesses.

7.     Improving learning outcomes to minimize detention

The Right to Education Act,2009 mandates that no child should be held back or expelled until the class eight. The Act also introduced the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in 2009, it was introduced to improve the performance of the child and grade-appropriate learning in schools. Another reason for introducing this system was that they could evaluate the child in every aspect and could help the child improve in any way possible.

8.     Monitoring compliance of RTE norms

According to the Right to Education Act,2009, it is necessary for all schools which come under the jurisdiction of this Act to have a School Management Committee, which comprises of a headteacher, local elected representative, teachers, parents, etc. they are asked to work in all possible ways to make the school a much better place for the children to study in.

9.     Right to Education Act is justiciable

The Right to Education Act,2009 is backed by a Grievance Redressal (GR) mechanism, which gives the people the power to take action on the non-compliance of the Act.

10.  Creating inclusive spaces for all

Though this Act, all the private schools are asked to reserve 25% seats for students who are either socially or economically backward. This rule has been made to ensure the children feel included and as a part of the society and to provide a more just and a notion of equality.


Even though the government introduced this Act intending to provide education to all children aged between six to fourteen, all schools do not comply with it. Various reports by various forums have pointed out many loopholes that need to be focused on which have to date been ignored. Our society is divided into three major parts namely: urban, semi-urban, and rural, and each part of the society faces different problems concerning the implementation of this Act. The problem in implementing this act which the rural people face is that there is no adequate infrastructure and qualified teachers. The urban part faces a completely different problem which is, ­­dominated by private institutions which charge very high fees and also make it difficult for the Right to Education students by insisting on the expensive uniform, books, etc. which is not affordable and semi-urban face their issue of not having sufficient teachers for the students. 

Many forums critiqued the progress of this Act. One such forum was the Oxfam, it evaluated the three-year progress of the Right to Education Act since 2009. They found that the Act had many gaps and loopholes and also found many issues concerning the sanitary, drinking water, the appointment of new teachers, etc. 

In the present scenario, less than 10 percent of schools comply with the Act. To enforce this act and to make it a part of every school, the government has to fix the loopholes listed by various forums who have evaluated, examined the implementation of the Act in various years. In my opinion, all schools should be owned by the government, and it should be the duty of the government to provide proper infrastructure, qualified teachers, provide the Right to Education students and the non-RTE students with books, uniform, etc. wearing the same uniform, owning the same books and sharing the same infrastructure creates an atmosphere of equality and brotherhood. In Sikkim, all schools are owned by the government of Sikkim and they feel they have to build the feeling of togetherness and equity in their children. Whereas on the other hand, schools in the other parts, half privatized and half government-owned. The private schools even if agree to provide admission to the RTE students, they apply charges on various other things such as uniform, etc. and these students further get bullied by the privileged ones. Private schools which do not have RTE students show their dominance over the government schools.

Children socially and economically backward do not approach government schools as they lack sanitation, infrastructure, qualified teachers, etc. and these students also refuse to approach private schools due to the miscellaneous charges and the fear of being bullied, dominated. It should, therefore, be the duty of the government to either solve these gaps and loopholes or to make all the school’s governments and work on building equality and brotherhood among them. 


[1] 1984 3SCC 161

[2] (2002) 8 SCC 481

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