The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education
Act (RTE) describes the modalities of the provision of free and compulsory education
for children between 6 and 14 in India 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.
The Act, apart from making education a fundamental right of every child between
the ages of 6 and 14, specifies minimum norms in elementary schools.
- It requires all private schools to reserve 25% of seats to children from poor families
(to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan).
- It also prohibits all unrecognized 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.
- There is also a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them
up to par with students of the same age.
- The RTE act requires surveys that will
monitor all neighbourhoods, identify children requiring education, and set up facilities
for providing it.
This Act is the first legislation in the world that puts the responsibility of ensuring
enrollment, attendance and completion on the Government unlike other countries where
the responsibility rests only with the parents.
In the Indian constitution, education comes under the purview of the states, and
the Act has made state and local bodies accountable for the implementation, with
a good chunk of financial support coming from the centre.
A committee set up to study the funds requirement has estimated that over Rs. 171,000
crores or 1.71 trillion (US$38.2 billion) would be required in the next five years
to implement the Act.