Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

Introduction

Elementary education is called primary education. It is crucial for the mental and skill development of the children. For the successful future of the students, their analytical confidence must be illuminated in them. In India primary education’s age starts at five and ends when he or she is 12 to 13 years old. In India primary education starts from Class 1 or Grade 1 and goes up to Class 6/7 or Grade 6/7.[1] This education is important for the developed and developing economies. These children are the future of our country and hence, it is indispensable to provide them with basic premises of stationery and books. Quality elementary education is a must for the citizens of the country. It’s the responsibility of the government to give utmost emphasis on the education sector as it will help in eradicating poverty, unemployment from the country.

Free education is a unique idea that gives access to education to every student i.e. both rich and poor class. With the implementation of the Right to Education Act, the 2009 government provides free education services to the student between 6 to 14 years of age. The central focus of this act is to weightage on the quality of the education. However, we have embarked on the sixty-eighth year and there’s still a long way to go in terms of fulfilling the real vision of an educated and competent India, where a quality education is not a privilege provided only to the elite class, but the right of every child born in this nation.[2]

This article focuses on the implementation of this act, its loopholes, and how it can be rectified.

What does the act say?

Right of Children to free and compulsory education (RTE) Act, 2009 is an activity implemented by the Parliament of India on 4th August 2009. This act was enforced from 1st April, 2010. This legislation was passed to achieve the modalities of Article 21-A of the Indian Constitution. As per the 86th amendment of the Constitution, it stated that: The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the aged six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.[3] To provide the quality and even-handed elementary education implementation of such education was a must. This was enacted by the Parliament in the 53rd year of the Republic of India. All the state governments have to make sure that all the children between the age of 6 and 14 years are provided with the education irrespective of their class, caste, and gender. It is compulsory education and all the schools; the government has to adhere with it. If any school does not follow the basic guidelines of this act then strict action has to be taken by the government.

India has become a 135th country in the world to make education a fundamental right for every child.[4] The government has to pay the fees or any kind of charges which prevent him from pursuing the elementary school education.

Any country’s economic growth is viable only when its educational policies are effective as education gives the strength and motivation to achieve more. This act can only be effective if the government has a strict hold on the implementation of this act.

Implementation of the Act

A person develops proper wisdom only through education. Education controls society and all its complex issues can be resolved through education. Education is powerful because, without it, early civilizations would have struggled to survive and thrive as a culture. Adults must train the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on.[5]

Right to free and compulsory education is the fundamental right of every individual. It can be only implemented properly when the nation will understand the purpose and impact of education. Quality of education is compromised and priority is given on building more and more schools. The expenditure that is to be done by the government is primarily done in developing more schools and the education is compromised. Faculty, books and other stationery are compromised. Children studying in government schools face this issue a lot. In private schools, fees are so high that children can’t afford education over there.

Various reports and studies reveal that there has been a decline in learning outcomes since the enactment of the RTE Act.[6] The after-math of teaching and learning is poor. There has been a fall in the literacy rate of the country. There has been more focus on the infrastructure and the enrollment rates of the children so that there can be more earning in this sector. All the money that’s earned is funded for making the elite infrastructure.

Poor children do not want to study in a government school because education in these schools is not taken seriously and absenteeism of the teachers develops the resistance to go to government schools. Therefore, they prefer to be unlearned rather than developing the hatred for the school or education system.

Loopholes in the system

Section 17 (1) talks about that no children shall be exposed to mental and physical harassment. Most of the schools do not adhere to this provision of the act, faculties and teachers harass children physically if they did not work on time or didn’t do the work as per the requirement of the subjects or course. Children are harassed based on gender, caste, ethnicity. Especially in private schools if the child belongs to a poor family then school authorities can use this against the children to harass him/her. In schools’ children are majorly mentally harassed with the workload, pressure, and expectations of the teachers. The act is silent on the ban of such harassment. There is an urgent need to amend this act. Children get easily affected by the environment in which they are living and it anguishes their future.

The major loophole of this act is that in Section 28 of the RTE it is mentioned that there must be no engagement of teachers in private tutorials. Perhaps due to the number of students in the class, it becomes difficult for the teacher to pay attention to the weak or less attentive children. Hence, the terms of this act are violated. It helps them in earning additional income as they are not satisfied with the income that they receive from the schools.  Banning teachers from taking private tuitions does not do away with the cause of the problem. Even if private tuitions by teachers are successfully done away with, it still does not address the prevalence of teacher underperformance and absenteeism.[7]

Section 29 (2) (h) of the act says that a child should be free of fear, trauma, and anxiety, his views must be able to express freely. Fear and anxiety of exams have negative repercussions on children. Teachers create a fearful environment for the students during the period of examination. Due to which a lot of children start questioning their capabilities.

There is a need to maintain the standards of this act and emergence of the solutions to these loopholes.

Need of rectification

 The loopholes in the provision of the acts fail the ideology behind creating the Right to free and compulsory education. This act was created with the noble intention to provide free education to the children between the age-group of 6 and 14 but there the implementation of this act is not done smoothly. Due to irregularities and compromising attitude of the government and teachers, children’s education is put on stake because of the teachers being not able to perform their duty properly. There is a need to give the wake-up call to the school authorities that apart from the infrastructure building it is important to focus on the quality of the education. The focus of the education system has been shifted in increasing the enrolments. The government needs to take strict action and the proper check is to be maintained whether schools are adhering to the provisions and guidelines of this act. If any school or teacher is missing out to adhere to it then that school must be liable for the punishment.

Awareness must be spread for the importance and role of education in building the future. Students should also cooperate with the teachers and school authorities; teachers must understand the needs of students. Teachers must guide the children in the right direction.

Conclusion

The right to free and compulsory education is a wonderful initiative by the government. Education is the most powerful weapon to overcome anything. There has been a lot of recent development in the education system of our country which hiked the literacy rate in our country. Education brings civilization and adaptability for several things. It is our fundamental right and we must spread awareness regarding education in both the rural and urban areas. The government should keep the check on the applicability of this act.

Questions

  • What type of fear and anxiety affects children?
  • How are children exposed to mental and physical harassment?
  • Why is this happening?
  • Why do children take private tuitions?
  • Why is the implementation of this Act weak?

References

  • The Constitution of India
  • Right to free and compulsory Education Act, 2009
  • The Hindu
  • Legal Services India

[1] Priyanka Nagrale et al., What is Elementary Education, its Importance & What are the Issues with Elementary Education Sure Job (2015), https://surejob.in/elementary-education-and-its-importance.html

[2] https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/03/Assessing-the-impact-of-Right-to-Education-Act.pdf

[3] Surjeet Singh, 86th Amendment in Constitution of India (2017), https://www.indianconstitution.in/2017/09/86th-amendment-in-constitution-of-india.html

[4] Aarti Dhar (1 April 2010). “Education is a fundamental right now”The Hindu.

[5] Gudipati Rajendra Kumar, Proper implementation of Right to Education Act is the need of the hour The Hans India (2017), https://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Hans/2017-03-08/Proper-implementation-of-Right-to-Education-Act-is-the-need-of-the-hour/285594

[6] An analysis of Outcomes in India’s Implementation of the Right to Education Act, Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, accessed in May 2020.

[7] legal Service India, A critique on the Right to Education Act., http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/585/A-critique-on-the-Right-to-Education-Act..html

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