Education as fundamental right: what it means

RTE act mandates free and compulsory education of improved quality


Jasleen Kaur | April 1, 2010

From April 1, education becomes a fundamental right as the historic Right to Education (RTE) Act comes into force. The Act mandates free and compulsory education to all children between the age group of six to 14 years. More than one crore children in this age group are out of school. So road ahead is definitely not easy. But the government seems confident.

The Act says that the government schools will provide free education to all the children whereas private schools will have to admit at least 25 percent of the children from economically disadvantaged communities to class one, without any fee. The government will pay for these children.

Here is a brief to what the Act is all about.

No capitation fee

Under this Act, the schools cannot charge parents any capitation fee; donation or contribution or payment, other than the fee notified by the school.

Elementary education

No child shall be held back, expelled or required to pass a board examination until completion of elementary education i.e. till class eight. And every child will be awarded a certificate after the completion of their elementary education. And if a child above the age of six has not been admitted in any school or could not complete his elementary education, s/he will be admitted in a class appropriate to his age.

Improvement in quality of education

The availability of good teachers has always been a concern. Now, all teachers will need adequate professional degree. Those who don't get it in next five years will lose job. Approximately 15 lakh teachers will get training.

All the schools are required to improve their infrastructure in three years or their recognition will be cancelled.
The Act also calls for a fixed student-teacher ratio. Within six months, the government and the local authority will ensure that the student-teacher ratio is maintained in each school.

Financial burden will be shared by the centre (65 percent) and the state (35 percent).

Age proof

For the purposes of admission, the age of a child shall be determined on the basis of the birth certificate. But no child shall be denied admission in a school for the lack of age proof

Review of school

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights will examine and review the safeguard the rights provided under this act

They will inquire into complaints relating to child's right and will also recommend measures for their effective implementation




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