Right To Education: Still A Dream?

Posted on May 6, 2013 in Education

By Rachita Sharma:

April 1 marked the 3rd year of the implementation of RTE Act in our country, as it was passed by the Prime Minister on April 1, 2010. Was it successful in delivering any promising results?

pict_grid7According to Mahatma Gandhi, education is not only a pursuit of freedom of expression, but a modified method to specifically suit the goal of nation building of the new India. With this dream forward, the Government of India passed The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) in August, 2009. This milestone act was then finally brought up to implementation on April 1, 2010. Simply put, this act provides each and every child of this country between 6 to 14 years of age, a fundamental right of free and compulsory education in India under Article 21a of our prestigious Indian Constitution. It also implied that any public or private school cannot bar a student from being promoted till class VIII. Moreover, there is a special organization called as National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, which is in charge of monitoring and implementation of RTE Act.

However, the Right to Education Act is alleged of having many loopholes in the administration which prevent in meeting the objectives of the program. Many educational groups claimed that such a policy was decided in haste without considering and analyzing it to the base. The state of primary education in our country clearly reveals the stature and declined quality of education. On proven facts, it is apparently evident that the teachers in such small schools are at a negligible rate. Irregularity on the part of teachers, who are at the most responsible to make up for the future of downtrodden children, worsens the condition.

However, it is not only the dark impact of RTE Act. According to the statistics of an NGO Pratham, the act results in an increase of enrollment of students in primary schools from 26 to 32%. Also, a marginal increase has been visible in the facilities offered in such schools like drinking, sanitation and mid-day meals. To quote Shashi Tharur, India’s Minister of State for Human Resources, “…free mid-day meals at school are a powerful incentive to children from poor families to attend school and stay there.” Nonetheless, he further adds, “This does not mean that all enrolled students will emerge prepared for the information age; but getting children into school is a start. India also needs a relevant curriculum and skilled teachers who can motivate students to learn it — in short, an overdue emphasis on quality, in addition to officials’ understandable focus on access and inclusion.

India has a huge pool of knowledge and information. It ranks second in terms of student enrollment. RTE Act is undoubtedly an encouraging initiative in calling more and more kids to the schools. But at the same time, these large disparities in the level of education, majorly concentrated in the backward regions of the country needs an immediate assessment. RTE Act with a critical ruling can aid this purpose very significantly.