Significance of RTE Act, 2009

With the passing of the Right to Education Act, India has moved to a rights-based approach towards implementing education for all. This Act casts a legal obligation on the state and central governments to execute the fundamental rights of a child (as per Article 21 A of the Constitution).

  • The Act lays down specific standards for the student-teacher ratio, which is a very important concept in providing quality education.
  • It also talks about providing separate toilet facilities for girls and boys, having adequate standards for classroom conditions, drinking water facilities, etc.
  • The stress on avoiding the urban-rural imbalance in teachers’ posting is important as there is a big gap in the quality and numbers regarding education in the villages compared to the urban areas in the country.
  • The Act provides for zero tolerance against the harassment and discrimination of children. The prohibition of screening procedures for admission ensures that there would be no discrimination of children on the basis of caste, religion, gender, etc.
  • The Act also mandates that no kid is detained until class 8.It introduced the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in 2009 to have grade-appropriate learning outcomes in schools.
  • The Act also provides for the formation of a School Management Committee (SMC) in every school in order to promote participatory democracy and governance in all elementary schools. These committees have the authority to monitor the school’s functioning and prepare developmental plans for it.
  • The Act is justiciable and has a Grievance Redressal mechanism that permits people to take action when the provisions of the Act are not complied with.
  • The RTE Act mandates for all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children from socially disadvantaged and economically backward sections. This move is intended to boost social inclusion and pave the way for a more just and equal country.
    • This provision is included in Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act. All schools (private, unaided, aided or special category) must reserve 25% of their seats at the entry-level for students from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups.
    • When the rough version of the Act was drafted in 2005, there was a lot of outcry in the country against this large percentage of seats being reserved for the underprivileged. However, the framers of the draft stood their ground and were able to justify the 25% reservation in private schools.
    • This provision is a far-reaching move and perhaps the most important step in so far as inclusive educationis concerned.
    • This provision seeks to achieve social integration.
    • The loss incurred by the schools as a result of this would be reimbursed by the central government.
  • The Act has increased enrolment in the upper primary level (Class 6-8) between 2009 and 2016 by 19.4%.

In rural areas, in 2016, only 3.3% of children in the 6 – 14 years bracket were out of school.