Right To Education Bill (The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act )
What is Article 21?
- Article 21. Protection Of Life And Personal Liberty: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
- Article 21A Right to Education: – “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.”
- Every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years has the right to free and compulsory education.
- This is stated as per the 86th Constitution Amendment Act added Article 21A. The right to education bill seeks to give effect to this amendment
- The government schools shall provide free education to all the children and the schools will be managed by school management committees (SMC).
- Private schools shall admit at least 25% of the children in their schools without any fee.
- The National Commission for Elementary Education shall be constituted to monitor all aspects of elementary education including quality.
- No child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education
- A child who completes elementary education (upto class shall be awarded a certificate
- Calls for a fixed student-teacher ratio
- Will apply to all of India except Jammu and Kashmir
- Provides for 25 percent reservation for economically disadvantaged communities in admission to Class One in all private schools
- Mandates improvement in quality of education
- School teachers will need adequate professional degree within five years or else will lose job
- School infrastructure (where there is problem) to be improved in three years, else recognition cancelled
- Financial burden will be shared between state and central government
- 1950: Constitution of India contained Article 45, as one of the directive principles of State policy, which states that: “The State shall endeavor to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.”
- 1968: First National Commission for education under Dr. Kothari submits its reports. It introduced several far-reaching changes as uniform curriculum for both boys and girls, mathematics and science as compulsory subjects etc. It also proposed a Common School System.
- 1976: Constitution amendment making education a concurrent subject (responsibility of both state and center) was passed.
- 1986: National policy on Education (NPE) endorsing Common School System (CSS) was formulated. Subsequent NPE’s endorsed CSS but it has never been implemented.
- 1993: The Supreme court in the case Unnikrishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh ruled that the right to education is a fundamental right that flows from the Right to life in Article 21 of the Constitution.
- 1997: Constitution Amendment making Education a fundamental right was introduced.
- 2002: 86th Constitution Amendment added Article 21A stating that “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to fourteen years in such as a way as the State may, by law, determine.” The 86th Amendment also modified Article 45 which reads as “The state shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of 6 years”.
- 2005: CABE committee report constituted to draft the Right to Education Bill submits its report.
- Every time a new version was placed till it was tabled in Parliament in 2008.
- The bill was approved by the cabinet on 2 July 2009.
- Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 20 July 2009 and the Lok Sabha on 4 August 2009.
- It received Presidential assent and was notified as law on 3 Sept 2009 as The Children’s Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
Right to Education in UN Declaration:
- As per article 26 of UN declaration of Human Rights, it has been clearly stated that “Everyone has the right to education…directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
- India is yet to achieve credible accomplishments in various segments of education – literacy, universal enrolment, lowering the dropout rate, improving quality and making the system more relevant.
- 50% students in the Indian education system fail at the secondary level. They often do not continue with their studies.
- Only six per cent of the youth in the 18-23 years bracket go in for higher education in India. The quality of many primary schools is appallingly low.
- One in five children is over or under age, one in three children drops out before completing the primary cycle; and one in two children does not have clean drinking water at school.
- A recent study in rural India found that not a single grade 5 student had mastered grade 2 competencies in Hindi or mathematics.
- Vulnerable groups are often deprived of educational opportunities.
- The literacy rate in India varies from 90 percent for rich urban males to a mere 17 per cent for the poor.
- The difference between the primary enrolment rate of landless peasant households and medium to large landowners is almost 20 percentage points.
- About three-quarters of children denied education live in six states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The elusive goal of providing free and compulsory education until the age of 14 within a few years has been regularly reiterated, without any effective steps being taken to reach it- Amartya Sen