Right To Education

Introduction

Education helps in developing a nation’s economy and society as it provides knowledge and skills to the people. Good quality education is important for one’s success in his or her life. Education can provide for a good opportunity in life and helps further improve one’s skills. It is the foundation of a society that further leads to good wealth, social prosperity along with political stability. Everyone judges others on their economic and social status in the society which one attains through good quality education and it evidently improves individual’s quality of life. Moreover, will help individual evade poverty and build up harmony and democratic society. The primary role of education is to educate individuals and, to prepare and qualify them for work and contribute to the economy as well as to get along with people in society and teach them the values and morals of society.

What is Education?

According to Britannica Dictionary Education, discipline is concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments as opposed to various nonformal and informal means of socialization. Education can be connoted as a change in an individual’s conduct in life. It means the improvement of an individual’s ability to choose the best option available at any turn of life.

Right to Education

Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the execution of all human rights. It provides for individual’s freedom and empowerment and also contributes to important development benefits. An international institution like United Nations and UNESCO lays down international legal obligations for the right to education throughout the world. These instruments help promote and develop the right of every person to enjoy access to good quality education, without any sort of discrimination or exclusion. It is for the governments of all nations to fulfill their obligations both legal and political in order to provide education.
India is on top of the list with 356 million young people as the country of world’s largest youth population yet our nation only has one-third of the world’s illiterate population and to counter this alarming number, the Indian government proposed the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act and making education a fundamental right of every child in the age group of 6 to 14.
Everyone is entitled to the right to education. This is recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as a human right that includes the right to free, compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, in particular by the progressive introduction of free secondary education, as well as an obligation to develop equitable access to higher education, ideally by the progressive introduction of free higher education.

International Recognition of Education

One of the root causes of other human right problem is less literacy and this cannot be handled unless the right to education is addressed as the key to unlocking other human rights. The right to education is endorsed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted in 1948, and Article 26 of UDHR states that
“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit……”
Moreover, the right to education is mentioned and is, protected and promoted in other international human rights treaties, like:
· Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (1958) – Article 3
· Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960)
· International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) – Article 13
· Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1981) –Article 10
· The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) – Article 28 & 29

Right to Education in Indian Constitutional Perspective

Our founding father was committed to social justice and has reflected the same in our constitution. The Indian Constitution recognized education as the essence of social transformation, as is evident from its education-specific Articles.
Supreme Court in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka pronounced that right to education emanated as a fundamental right. In this case, the Supreme Court through a division bench comprising of justice Kuldip Singh and R.M. Sahai, held that: ‘ the right to education flows directly from the right to life. The right to life and the dignity of an individual cannot be assured unless it is accompanied by the right to education.’
The rationality of this judgment was examined in J.P. Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh where the enforceability and the extent of the right to education were said in the following words: “The right to education further means that a citizen has a right to call upon the State to provide educational facilities to him within the limits of its economic capacity and development.” And the same has been reiterated in Bandhua Mukti Morcha, etc v. Union of India.

Right to Education Act

Right to Education Act (RTE) provided free and compulsory education to children in 2009 and enforced it as a fundamental right under Article 21-A. Every child of the age group of 6-14 years will be provided 8 years of elementary education in an age-appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his/her neighborhood.
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has a right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards and the appropriate Government 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.

The RTE Act provides for the:

  • Right to children to get free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighborhood school.
  • It also defines that ‘compulsory education’ means the 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. Meaning, no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charge.
  • It provides for the duties and responsibilities of the Government, local authority, and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and division of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
  • 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 the prohibition of the deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than the decennial census, elections to the local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
  • A child who completes elementary education shall be awarded a certificate.
  • The call needs to be taken for a fixed student-teacher ratio.
  • Twenty-five percent reservation for economically disadvantaged communities in admission to Class I in all private schools is to be done.
  • Improvement in the quality of education is important.
  • School teachers will need an adequate professional degree within five years or else will lose the job.
  • School infrastructure (where there is a problem) needs to be improved every 3 years, else recognition will be canceled.
  • The financial burden will be shared between the state and the central government.
  • It prohibits (a) physical punishment and mental harassment; (b) screening procedures for admission of children; (c) capitation fee; (d) private tuition by teachers and (e) running of schools without recognition,
  • It provides for the 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.

 

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