‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ or Right to Education Act (RTE), is an act enacted by the Indian Parliament on 4th August 2009, which describes the importance of free and compulsory education for children aged between 6 and 14 years.Under Article 21A, of the Indian Constitution,India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child.
The act came into force on 1st April 2010.
The bill was approved by the cabinet on 2nd July 2009.Rajya Sabha,the upper house of the Indian Parliament passed the bill on 20th July 2009 and the lower house Lok Sabha on 4th August 2009.It received Presidential assent and was declared a law on 26th August 2009. The law came into effect in the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1st April 2010.The first time in the history of India a law was brought into force by a speech by the the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. In his speech, Manmohan Singh said “We are committed to ensuring that all children, irrespective of gender and social category, have access to education. An education that enables them to acquire the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary to become responsible and active citizens of India.”
Some of the salient features of this act includes features like private schools having to take 25% of their class strength from the weaker sections of the Indian society. Government will fund education of these children.No seats in this quota can be left vacant. These children will be treated on par with all the other children in the school.There will be no discrimination on any basis.
No donation or capitation fee is to be allowed.No admission test or interview can be taken either for the child or parents.No child can be held back, expelled and required to pass the board examination till the completion of elementary education.A fixed student and teacher ratio is to be maintained.
Approximately 22 crore children fall under the age group 6-14. Out of which 4.1% i.e. 92 lakhs children either dropped out from school or never attended any educational institution. These children will get elementary education.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had been mandated to monitor the implementation of this historic right.