Right Of Children To Free And Compulsory Education Act

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, represents the consequential legislation to Article 21A inserted in the Constitution of India through the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002. The RTE Act has become operative with effect from 1st April 2010. The GOI had notified the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 in the Official Gazette on 9th April, 2010. The RTE Act provides the legislative framework for Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE). SSA has been harmonized with RTE mandate. The salient features of the RTE Act, 2009 include :

  • The right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighborhood school.
  • It clarifies that 'compulsory education' means obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. 'Free' means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
  • It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
  • It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
  • It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school working days, teacher working hours.
  • It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil teacher ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings. It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
  • It provides for appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.
  • It prohibits :
    1. physical punishment and mental harassment,
    2. Screening procedures for admission of children, capitation fees,
    3. private tuition by teachers,
    4. running of schools without recognition.
  • It provides for development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the child's knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centered learning.
  • It provides for protection and monitoring of the child's right to free and compulsory education and redressal of grievances by the National and State Commissions for protection of Child Rights, which shall have the powers of a civil court.

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