Child Education Rights

Main Barriers to Education

  • Poverty
  • Gender discrimination
  • Overcrowded schools
  • Lack of trained teachers

Interventions to Barriers

  • Community mobilization
  • Teacher training and support
  • School rehabilitation and construction

The Right to Education (RTE) guarantees free and quality education to all children aged between 6 and 14, and additionally, incentives like Mid-Day Meal, scholarships and even reservations in private schools are designed to encourage maximum enrollment of students from underprivileged backgrounds.

Educational challenges have been prevalent at both the center and states for many years in India. The Right to Education Act 2009 maps out roles and responsibilities for the center, state and all local bodies to rectify gaps in their education system in order to enhance the quality of education in the country


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1. Compulsory and free education for all

It is obligatory for the Government to provide free and compulsory elementary education to each and every child, in a neighbourhood school within 1 km, up to class 8 in India. No child is liable to pay fees or any other charges that may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education. Free education also includes the provisions of textbooks, uniforms, stationery items and special educational material for children with disabilities in order to reduce the burden of school expenses. 

2. The benchmark mandate

The Right to Education Act lays down norms and standards relating to Pupil-Teacher-Ratios (number of children per teacher), classrooms, separate toilets for girls and boys, drinking water facility, number of school-working days, working hours of teachers, etc. Each and every elementary school (Primary school + Middle School) in India has to comply with these set of norms to maintain a minimum standard set by the Right to Education Act.

3. Special provisions for special cases

The Right to Education Act mandates that an out of school child should be admitted to an age appropriate class and provided with special training to enable the child to come up to age appropriate learning level.

4. Quantity and quality of teachers

The Right to Education Act provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified Pupil-Teacher-Ratio is maintained in every school with no urban-rural imbalance whatsoever. It also mandates appointing appropriately trained teachers i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.

5. Zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment 

The Right to Education Act 2009 prohibits all kinds of physical punishment and mental harassment, discrimination based on gender, caste, class and religion, screening procedures for admission of children capitation fee, private tuition centres, and functioning of unrecognized schools.

6. Ensuring all round development of children

The Right to Education Act 2009 provides for development of curriculum, which would ensure the all-round development of every child. Build a child’s knowledge, human potential and talent.

7. Improving learning outcomes to minimise detention

The Right to Education Act mandates that no child can be held back or expelled from school till Class 8. To improve performances of children in schools, the Right to Education Act introduced the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in 2009 to ensure grade appropriate learning outcomes in schools. Another reason why this system was initiated was to evaluate every aspect of the child during their time in school so that gaps could be identified and worked on well in time.

8. Monitoring compliance of RTE norms

School Management Committees (SMCs) play a crucial role in strengthening participatory democracy and governance in elementary education. All schools covered under the Right to Education Act 2009 are obligated to constitute a School Management Committee comprising of a head teacher, local elected representative, parents, community members etc. The committees have been empowered to monitor the functioning of schools and to prepare school development plan.

9. Right to Education Act is justiciable

The Right to Education Act is justiciable and is backed by a Grievance Redressal (GR) mechanism that allows people to take action against non-compliance of provisions of the Right to Education Act 2009.

10. Creating inclusive spaces for all

The Right to Education Act 2009 mandates for all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children belonging to socially disadvantaged and economically weaker sections. This provision of the Act is aimed at boosting social inclusion to provide for a more just and equal nation.

Why is the Right to Education Important?

Right to education is the first step to tackle poverty. It is a fundamental right of each individual irrespective of their caste, religion, sex, or economic background. Education helps an individual make informed decisions for themselves and also contribute to the progress of the society and nation.

Does every child have the right to education?

Every child has the right to education. Education is critical for the holistic development of a child. Education helps a child develop different skills and behaviors which further help in developing a successful and fruitful future and an adequate standard of living.

Is Education a right or privilege?

Education is a right of every individual and not a privilege. This means that the right to education is granted by law to each person. Individuals cannot be discriminated in education based on their caste, religion, sex, or economic background. In India this right is granted by the Right to Education Act (RTE), Article 21-A of the Indian Constitution.


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