What is Right To Education
- ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ or ‘Right to Education Act’ also known as ‘RTE’, is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.
- Section 12(1)(C) of the ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act mandates that all private unaided schools (with the exception of minority-run schools) reserve 25% of seats in their entry-level class for children from socially disadvantaged and economically weaker groups.
- It also prohibits all unrecognised schools from practice, and makes provisions for no donation or capitation fees and no interview of the child or parent for admission. The Act also provides that no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education.
Why Right To Education
- RTE Act helps children belonging to lesser privileged backgrounds, access quality education, thereby opening up opportunities for their families, themselves and their community, thus contributing to national development.
- Additionally, Inclusive education is the need of the hour. It helps build friendships and inculcate mutual respect and understanding. Section 12(1)(C) of ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ is closing socio-economic gaps, thus providing social inclusion in classrooms.
- The Inclusive Education Clause in the RTE Act is an important step in the right direction. When privileged children and children from socially disadvantaged and economically weaker groups attend classes together, that reflect the similarities and differences of people in the real world, they learn to appreciate diversity.
- When all children, regardless of their socio-economic differences are educated together, everyone benefits.
Status in Uttar Pradesh
- Uttar Pradesh has approximately 634,000 seats (30% of the country’s total of 21 Lakhs) where children could be admitted through section 12(1)(C) of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. However there had been little implementation with only 108 admissions across the state from 2010-2014, primarily due to unclear state policy and resistance from influential private schools.
- As per DISE data – since DISE is the most comprehensive education data set currently available – the implementation of the provision in Uttar Pradesh had a seat fill rate of less than 1% by the year 2012, with the lowest school participation rate of 2.43%.
- RWF has been spearheading the implementation movement of RTE, primarily Section 12(1)(C) in the state at policy as well as execution level. RWF has put in years of intensive efforts at all levels of the U.P. government for a state level policy reform on RTE that has potential to impact 600 thousand poor children every year. Our crusade against powerful hurdles like political and private school lobby during the implementation of the RTE law in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of the country, is unique as no other organization had attempted to challenge the status quo.
- RWF and Govt. of U.P. built valuable partnerships with other stakeholders while functioning like a cross-sectorial team to bring about a significant interim policy thrust in early 2015. This partnership enabled implementation of the Act across the state in academic session 2015-2016 witnessing historical development.
- RWF’s persistent advocacy and implementation efforts with top state leadership led to the beginning of a historical development of 4,400 admission orders across 26 districts in a span of 6 months, in 2015, which was 80 times improvement over 54 admissions across 4 districts in 2014.
- In 2016, this number had touched 17,209 mark across at least 50 districts of Uttar Pradesh. The system RWF built enabled 52,000 children to be admitted in private schools and study there for free, across 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh in three years from 2015-2017, creating history.
- Simultaneously, RWF helped government in capacity building by training government officials in the education department, district administration, and over 1700 school administration representatives from different districts across the state on social inclusion within classrooms.
- RWF’s fight for RTE was a significant one with Lucknow’s legendary City Montessori School (CMS), which denied admissions to 31 poor students. RWF fought a fierce court battle in High Court and Supreme Court, and on 29 Sep, 2015, 13 out of 31 children were admitted in the school following SC’s order on 28 Sep, 2015.
- RWF institutionalized the admission process by building an online digital system (rte25.upsdc.gov.in) that requires minimum human intervention for better scaling and transparency.
- After successful implementation of the online portal, Uttar Pradesh witnessed a huge success with 30,754 allotments in 5,000+ schools across 58 districts.