Right to Education Act was implemented by the Government of India on 4 August 2009 to illustrate the importance of mandatory education for children aged 6 to 14 years.
Education for children should be free and compulsory by Article 21a of the Indian Consitution.
The enactment is critical in ensuring minimal norms for elementary school, prohibits recognized schools from functioning and puts a hard cap on the fee amount charged from students.
The salient features of the Act are as follows –
- Free and mandatory education for everyone.
The government must ensure that every student in the country has access to a neighbourhood school within 1km of their residence.
Students must not incur any expenses for elementary education, up to Class 8.
Hence, provisions for textbooks, uniforms and any educational material must be provided by the government school.
- Setting the standard for school.
Elementary schools set up for children must have a proper teacher-student ratio, clean classrooms, separate lavatories for students and defined working hours for teachers.
- Age-appropriate education.
The subject matter and level of teaching should be on par with the understanding and age of the students.
They should be admitted in age-appropriate classes only following government norms.
- Quantity and quality of teachers.
Teachers at the elementary schools should hold the necessary qualifications and training.
The proper teacher-student ratio is essential for developing a suitable learning environment.
- Zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment.
Students, teachers and non-teaching staff should not face any physical or mental harassment at the school.
The admission procedure must be indiscriminate towards social classes, financial conditions, gender, caste or religion.
- Holistic development for children.
The curriculum followed by the elementary schools must ensure the all-round development of students.
Studies should be accompanied by physical activities, creative activities and extra-curricular.
- Improving learning outcomes.
Under the Act, students cannot be held back in a class for another year until Class 8 or expelled.
The teaching must be at a level where students can learn and nurture their talents.
- Regulation of norms followed by students
The school must have a hierarchical administrative structure consisting of a principal, headteacher and management body.
The local community and parents must also involve themselves in affairs regarding their wards.
- Creating inclusive spaces for every student.
The RTE Act is instrumental in providing education to differently-abled students.
It is paramount in making fundamental education accessible to the weaker and backward sections of the society.