Education is not just meant for a career and making a living. It’s a way to bring self-discipline, team spirit, and a sense of responsibility to children. It also helps prevent people from feeling socially insecure while fostering self-confidence and decision-making abilities. That’s why the government and some of the best NGOs in India have been working on various educational policies and financial interventions.
Whether you’re running a top NGO in the country, planning to start a skill development or vocational Training program for young adults, or just want to be informed, this blog has everything you should know about the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009.
What is the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009?
In August 2009, the Parliament of India enacted the RTE Act 2009. It’s also known as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. The Act started in April 2010, making India one of the 135 countries to make education a fundamental right for children. Every child aged between 6-14 should be educated regardless of their financial status, race, region, family background, etc.
The RTE Act 2009 sets minimum norms for elementary schools and prohibits unrecognized schools. The Act also advocates against donation fees and children’s interviews at the time of admission. In addition, education quality is monitored through regular surveys to ensure compliance with the norms. Importance of women education is gaining a lot of importance and rightly so.
Key Features of the RTE Act 2009 Compulsory Free Education for all
The government needs to give free and compulsory elementary education to every child up to Class 8 in a neighborhood school within 1 km. In addition, children are provided with free uniforms, textbooks, stationery, and special material for those with disabilities.
Quantity and Quality of Teachers
Schools need to maintain the specified pupil-teacher ratio with no urban-rural imbalance. The RTE Acts 2009 mandates appointing well-trained and qualified teachers.
The Act lays down standards related to classrooms, drinking water facilities, hygiene, working hours of teachers, and separate toilets for boys and girls. Every elementary school in India has to follow these norms to maintain a minimum standard outlined by the RTE Act 2009.
Zero Tolerance Against Harassment and Discrimination
The Act prohibits mental or physical harassment as well as discrimination based on caste, religion, class, and gender. As per the Act, all private schools have to reserve 25 percent of their seats for children who belong to disadvantaged groups (DG) and economically weaker sections (EWS). Put simply, schools (government or private) should be neutral towards all children helping them to learn and grow together.
Overall Development of Children
The RTE Act 2009 sets norms for curriculum to ensure the all-round development of children. The curriculum should help build a child’s knowledge and explore human potential and the real talent in every child.
The Act is Justiciable
The Act mandates that no child can be expelled or held back from school till Class 8. To improve children’s performance, the Act introduced the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system that ensures grade-appropriate learning outcomes. CCE also helps evaluate every aspect of the child during their school time. Accordingly, gaps could be identified and filled in time.
Improving Learning Outcomes
The RTE Act 2009 is backed by a Grievance Redressal (GR) mechanism. This means that people can take action against non-compliance with the norms and standards outlined by the Act.
How Can You Help?
Several NGOs in India are working for children’s fundamental right to education, especially for marginalized women and girls and those from financially backward societal groups. You can volunteer to help them or donate to help gather resources.