In general parlance, there is a popular cliche that children are the future pillars of the nation. Keeping this in view, it becomes imperative for any nation to provide quality education to its young minds so that the future leaders can charter the course in the right direction.
Like most nations, India took a giant leap by making education free and compulsory for children between the age group of 6 to 14 years.
The Indian parliament on 4 August 2009 enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) which describes the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21 a of the Indian Constitution.
‘Free education’ means that no child, other than a child who has been admitted by his or her parents to a school which is not supported by 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.
‘Compulsory education’ casts an obligation on the appropriate Government and local authorities to provide and ensure admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by all children in the 6-14 age group.
The Act makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 and specifies minimum norms in elementary schools. It requires all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of seats to children (to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan).
So here are some of the highlights of the Right to Education Act:
# All children between the ages of 6 to 14 can get free education from class 1 to class 8, in a nearby government school or aided school.
# Children who have never been to school or have dropped out, can get back to school. They will get admission in a class suitable to their age.
# Children who are poor or underprivileged can get free education till class 8 in a private school.
# Children cannot be forced to give tests for getting admission in a school.
# Children cannot be asked to leave school or be forced to repeat a class, till they complete class 8.
# Children must be given admission in a school even if they don’t have documents like transfer certificate and age proof.