Constitution 86th Amendment Act, 2002

The Constitution 86th Amendment Act, 2002 enshrined right to education as a fundamental right in part-III of the constitution. It came up with the below features:

Change in Fundamental Rights

A new article 21A was inserted below the Article 21 which made Right to Education a Fundamental Right for children in the range of 6-14 years. This article reads:

“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”

Change in DPSP

Article 45 which originally stated:

“The State shall endeavour 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.”

Was substituted as

“The State shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.”

Change in Fundamental Duties
  • Article 51A was also amended and after clause (J), the clause (k) was added which says:
  • “who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.”

As per the above amendments, the 86th Amendment Act came up with the following:

  • It made Right to Education a Fundamental Right for Children from Age 6-14.
  • It made education for all children below 6 years a Directive Principle for State Policy (DPSP).
  • It made the opportunities for education to child a Fundamental duty of the parents of the children.

No child is liable to pay any kind of fee/ capitation fee/ charges. A collection of capitation fee invites a fine up to 10 times the amount collected.

Children from Disadvantaged Group:

This right provides that ”child belonging to disadvantage group” means a child who

  • Belongs to SC & ST
  • Socially backward class
  • Geographical, Linguistic
  • Gender or such other matters
  • Is differentially abled

The Right to Education Act 2009 did not initially talk about “Physically disabled” children. To enable such provisions, the Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill 2010 was introduced in the RajyaSabha on April 16, 2010. This bill was later referred to a standing committee on Human Resource Development. The bill was passed in both the houses of the parliament by May 2012 thus expanding the definition of “Child belonging to disadvantaged group”. Now this group shall also include the children with disability. Disability means blind, leprosy cured, hearing impaired, locomotor disabled and mentally ill. It also includes autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation & multiple disabilities. These children have the same right as of other children. Please note that Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age is laid down under a separate legislation- the Persons with Disabilities Act. A number of other provisions regarding improvement of school infrastructure, teacher-student ratio and faculty are made in the Act.

  • Teachers: This act provides that the states will ensure that no non-teaching work is given to the teachers. The act recommends quality teachers and mandates that untrained teachers will have to upgrade themselves in 5 years.
  • Schools: The act has listed minimum infrastructure requirements as a part of the schools and mandates the states to ensure that schools have these requirements. The schools which don’t conform to the quality standards as mentioned in the act, will upgrade themselves in 3 years or face derecognition.
  • Reservation: The act mandates 25% reservation for disadvantage sections of the society as defined by the act.
  • Management Committees: The act mandates that parents are to constitute the 75% members in the management committees. The School management committees are to have 50% women members.
  • Screening: This act makes the screening of students / parents unlawful. It invites fine up to ` 25000 in the first instance and double in every successive violations.
  • Examinations: No child can be put through any exam, not even class V & Class VIII board examinations.
  • Number of Teachers: The act mandates number of teachers as follows: (please note that in newspapers, different news have written different ratios. The following list is reproduced from the official document)
  • Class I to Class V
    • Up to 60 children : 2 teachers (Pupil Teacher Ratio: 30:1)
    • 61 to 90 children : 3 teachers (Pupil Teacher Ratio: 30:1)
    • 90 to 120 : 4 teachers (Pupil Teacher Ratio: 30:1)
    • 121-200 : 5 teachers (minimum Pupil Teacher Ratio: 40:1)
  • Class VI to Class VIII
    • One teacher per class each for 1. Science and math 2. Social Studies 3. Languages.
    • One teacher for 35 children
    • If there are more than 100 children then 1. A full time teacher 2. Part time instructors for Art, Health and Physical Education, Work Education.
  • Corporal punishment: The Right to Education Act 2009 makes corporal punishment unlawful.
  • Private Teaching / Tuitions: Clause 28, Chapter 28 of the act mandates that no teacher shall engage himself / herself in private teaching.
  • Monitoring: The act states that National & State Commissions for protection of Child rights would monitor the effective implementation of measures in this act and inquire into complaints.
  • National Advisory Council: The act provides that the central Government shall constitute a National Advisory Council of maximum 15 members which shall advise the central government on implementation of the various provisions of the act.

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