Right to Education (RTE Act 2009): Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

RTE Act 2009: The Right to Education is a fundamental right in India. Under this act, free and compulsory education is provided to all children of India falling under the age group of 6 to 14. The Right to Education Act 2009 translates to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which made India a part of 135 nations where every kid has the fundamental right to be educated.

The act is stated as per the 86th Constitution Amendment Act via Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. It lays down several benchmarks and provisions for schools and educational institutions to ensure the Right to Education in India. It is the responsibility of the National Commission for Elementary Education to monitor all factors of elementary education along with guaranteeing quality. Learn about RTE Act 2009 features, objectives, and implications discussed here.

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009

The 86th Amendment Act of 2002 makes the Right to Education in India a fundamental right. The RTE Act 2009 is the “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009”. In August 2009, it was approved by Parliament. The main motive for the Right to Education in India is to provide quality education to children.

Right to Education UPSC Notes

Children are the future of our country and they need to be educated. RTE Act also known as the Right to Education Act 2009 provides free education to children of ages 6 to 14. The government schools will be controlled by School Management Committees (SMC) and shall offer free education to all children.

Significance of RTE Act 2009

According to the RTE Act 2009, there are two main focal points for the kind of education it promises; free and compulsory. Take a look at the points to have a better understanding of the Right to Education Act:

Free Education

As per the RTE Act 2009, no child should be obligated to pay any form of fee, cost, or expense that might discourage him or her from remaining committed to pursuing and completing elementary education, except for a child whose parents have permitted him or her to register in a school that is not supported financially by the appropriate authority.

Compulsory Education

According to the RTE Act 2009, the state and local governments must ensure that all children between the ages of 6 and 14 can enroll in, attend, and complete primary school. All pertinent information on the RTE Act 2009, its clauses, constitutional provisions, etc., will be enclosed in this article.

History of Right to Education Act 2009

At the time of the drafting of the Indian Constitution, RTE Act 2009 was formed but it had other roles and significance. The history of the Right to Education Act 2009 goes back to Independence. Education and its significance were always included in the Constitution but there was never a dedicated bill passed for the same. It was the Constitutional Amendment of 2002 that included Article 21 (A) in the Constitution making Education a fundamental right.

It was passed by Parliament as law on 26th August 2009. Though it had its fair share of controversy due to 25 percent reservation for backward students in private schools. Recently, the Indian Law Commission proposed a 50 percent reservation in private schools for disadvantaged and poor children.

Salient Features of RTE Act 2009

In accordance with Article 21A of the Indian Constitution, children living in India between the ages of 6 and 14 have the right to receive free as well as compulsory education. On August 4, 2009, the Indian Parliament passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, also known as the Right to Education Act (RTE).

Article 21A of the Indian Constitution, which was added in 2002 as part of the 86th Amendment Act, declares that the State is responsible for providing all children between the ages of 6 and 14 with free and mandatory education in the fashion that the State may by law specify.

  • As a result, the right to education was included in the list of Fundamental Rights instead of the framework of Directive Principles of State Policy.
  • The RTE is the piece of legislation that emerged out of the 86th Amendment.
  • The title of RTE Act 2009 article’s contains the word “free.” This means that no child, except for the ones who are permitted by their parents to attend a school not supported by the government, is obligated to pay any type of fee, charge, or expenditure that would prevent him or her from completing and finishing basic education.
  • Under this Act, the government is now obligated to ensure that all kids between the ages of 6 and 14 are accepted to, attend, and finish primary school.
  • In principle, RTE Act 2009 ensures that all children in economically and socially deprived parts of society receive free basic education.

Advisory Council for Implementation of RTE Act 2009

For the implementation of the RTE Act 2009, HRD (also known as Human Resource Development for Health Research) constructed a team of 14 members. This team was named the National Advisory Council (NAC).

This NAC team was curated wisely with experts in their field to implement the Right to Education Act 2009 in India. Check out the tabulated data for important members of this advisory council.

NAC Members for Implementation of RTE Act 2009

Members Attributes
Krishna Kumar Former Director of NCERT
Yogendra Yadav Social Scientist
Kiran Karnik Former President of NASSCOM
Annie Namala An activist and head of the Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion
Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad Vice President of Muslim Education Society
Sajit Krishnan Kutty Secretary of TEACH India

Right to Education Article

The Right to Education Act 2009 finds its foundation in Part IV of the Indian Constitution, Article 45 and Article 39(f) of DPSP which had a provision for state-funded education that is unbiased and attainable for every child.

In 1990, Ramamurti Committee Report was the first official report on the Right to Education. The Supreme Court’s remarkable judgment in the Unnikrishnan JP vs State of Andhra Pradesh and Others in 1993 stated that Education is a fundamental right.

  • Tapas Majumdar Committee was established in 1999 which effected the introduction of Article 21A.
  • In Part III of the Constitution, the Right to Education was formed as a fundamental right.
  • In addition, the 86th Amendment initiated Article 21A which compelled the Right to Education for children of age 6 to 14 years as a fundamental right.
  • The 86th amendment to the constitution of India imparted inquiry of legislation for the Right to Education Act 2009 and the Right to Education Bill 2008.

Right to Education Act 2009 and Its Provisions

The Right to Education Bill and its provisions include all the rules and regulations and norms set for free education for children. The list of Provisions of the RTE Act 2009 has been given below, read it thoroughly to be well versed with all the important pertinent of the Right to Education Act:

  • The right of kids to get a free, public education in a nearby school until they finish their elementary schooling.
  • According to the RTE Act 2009, “compulsory education” means that the government is required to make sure that children between the ages of 6 and 14 are admitted, enrolled in, and finish their elementary education.
  • The word “free” denotes the absence of any fees that the child must pay to pursue this education.
  • The Right to Education Act 2009 allows for the admittance of an unadmitted youngster to a class that is acceptable for his or her age.
  • To ensure a child’s education, it outlines the responsibilities of the elected leaders, local officials, and parents.
  • Additionally, the Right to Education Act outlines the economic burden distribution between the state and federal governments.
  • It outlines rules and guidelines for infrastructure and facilities, Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTR), and the school’s and teachers’ shift patterns.
  • In addition, the RTE states that teacher postings shouldn’t be imbalanced between urban and rural areas. Aside from jobs related to the census, disaster relief, and elections, the Act forbids hiring instructors for non-educational jobs.
  • The Act stipulates that the teachers chosen must possess the necessary credentials and training.
  • The Right to Education Act 2009 disallows; Physical punishment and verbal harassment, Screening measures for youngsters being admitted, Capitation costs, The instructors giving private lessons, and Running schools without recognition
  • According to the RTE Act, the curriculum must be created in a way that is consistent with the ideals entrenched in the Indian Constitution and that ensures the child’s whole development.
  • The curriculum should expand on the child’s knowledge, potential, and talents while fostering his or her ability to overcome trauma, fear, and anxiety through the use of a simultaneously child-friendly and child-centric framework.

Limitations of Right to Education Act

Every Act has its good and bad characteristics. Similarly, the Right to Education Act 2009 came into force successfully but it had its limitations. Check out the details mentioned below to have a detailed insight:

  • Children of age group 6-14 were only applicable to the Right to Education Act. The age group of 0-18 years would have been a better and more inclusive option for RTE Act.
  • Many of the RTE Act 2009 education-related schemes were found similar to earlier programs like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and are suspected of being ineffective and corrupt.
  • Quality education was missing in this program and importance was given to statistics and annual reports.
  • The lack of teachers affected the quality of education in government schools where it was promised to provide free education.

Importance of Right to Education in India

India has shifted to a rights-based strategy for developing a methodology for all with the passage of the Right to Education Act. The state and national governments are legally required by this Act to uphold a child’s fundamental rights (as per Article 21 A of the Constitution).

The RTE Act 2009 specifies requirements for the ratio of students to teachers, which is crucial to delivering high-quality instruction. It also discusses establishing acceptable drinking water facilities requirements, classroom conditions, and providing different restrooms for boys and females.

  • As there is a significant disparity between the quality and quantity of education provided in urban and rural areas of the nation, it is crucial to emphasize preventing this mismatch in teacher postings.
  • The Right to Education Act 2009 forbids bullying and discrimination against minors. There won’t be any bias against children based on caste, gender, religion, etc., thanks to the ban on entrance screening techniques.
  • The RTE Act also stipulates that no child may be imprisoned before eighth grade. To achieve grade-appropriate educational objectives in schools, the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system was launched in 2009.
  • To encourage democratic participation and good governance in all elementary educational institutions, the RTE Act also calls for creating a School Management Committee (SMC) in each school. These bodies are empowered to oversee how the school is run and create plans for its growth.
  • The RTE Act contains a grievance handling process that enables anyone to initiate a lawsuit when the Act’s requirements are not followed, and it is judicially enforceable.
  • According to the RTE Act 2009, all private educational institutions must reserve 25% of their places for students from socially and economically disadvantaged groups. This action aims to increase social integration and open the door to a more just and equal nation.
  • The RTE Act’s Section 12 (1)(c) has this clause. All schools, whether unaided, private, aided, or special category, must set aside 25% of their admittance for children from economically disadvantaged and other underrepresented groups.
  • There was a great deal of opposition to this huge number of seats designated for the disadvantaged when the Act’s rough form was released in 2005. But the draft’s authors held firm and could defend the 25% reserve in private institutions.
  • This offering is a significant development and may be the most significant step in the direction of inclusive education.
  • The goal of this clause is to promote social inclusion.
  • The central government would pay back the losses incurred by the schools as a consequence of this.
  • Between 2009 and 2016, the Right to Education Act contributed to a 19.4% surge in enrollment at the upper primary level (Classes 6-8).
  • Only 3.3% of pupils in the 6 to 14 age range were not attending school in rural areas in 2016.

Criticism of RTE Act 2009

The RTE Act 2009 has received a lot of criticism, even though it is a positive move toward making India’s educational system truly free and mandatory. Following are a couple of the critiques:

  • The education quality provided was not given much consideration during the hasty drafting of the Right to Education Act or during any consultations.
  • Children under the age of six are not protected under the RTE Act 2009.
  • Many of the Act’s education-related programs have been likened to earlier programs like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and are suspected of being ineffective and corrupt.
  • Numerous documents, including a birth certificate and a BPL certificate, are needed at the time of enrollment. Orphans appear to have been excluded from the RTE Act 2009 benefits by this action.
  • The 25 percent seat reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and others in private educational institutions has encountered practical challenges. Discrimination against parents and students’ struggles to integrate into a new sociocultural environment are a few of the obstacles in this regard.
  • A 2019 change to the Right to Education Act, which addressed the “no detention” policy until class 8, brought in regular annual tests in classes fifth and eighth.
  • If a child fails the annual exams, they are required to retake it and are offered further instruction. The student may be kept in class if the retest is not passed.
  • After numerous states argued that frequent exams were necessary to assess children’s academic capabilities accurately, this modification was enacted.
  • Six states with better learning results due to their successful CCE system deployment as required by the Right to Education Act were opposed to this revision. The six states were Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Goa, and Maharashtra.
  • Many states have had difficulty transitioning to the CCE method of assessment. This is mostly caused by a dearth of training and orientation for instructors.
  • Another critique of the Act is that it conveys some responsibility to private educational institutions while doing little to improve the quality and results of India’s system of public education.

Right to Education UPSC

It took over 60 years after independence for the right to education to become basic. To promote equality, inclusivity, and unification, the government and all stakeholders should now concentrate on educational quality and progressively move toward creating a single system of education and platform across the nation for all societal segments.

Right to Education topic explains the features, objectives, and implications of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Interested IAS aspirants must check out Polity Books for UPSC to start their exam preparation in the right manner and prepare this topic thoroughly by jotting down important points. Check out the Right to Education UPSC questions here and practice them well to ace your exams.

RTE Act 2009 Sample Questions

UPSC Prelims: The Right to Education Act Bill was passed by Parliament in? The correct option is: (A) 2006, (B) 2009, (C) 1998, (D) 2019
Answer: Option B

Question: Consider the statements: (1) In India, more than 90% of teacher education institutions are directly under the State Governments, (2) As per the RTE Act, for teaching primary classes, a candidate is required to pass a Teacher Eligibility Test conducted in accordance with the National Council of Teacher Education guidelines, (3) As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in a State, a person would be required to possess the minimum qualification laid down by the concerned State Council of Teacher Education. Which of the statements is/are correct? (A) 3 only, (B) 1 and 3, (C) 2 only, (D) 1 and 2
Answer: 2 only – As per the RTE Act, for teaching primary classes, a candidate is required to pass a Teacher Eligibility Test conducted in accordance with the National Council of Teacher Education guidelines

Question: Tapas Majumdar Committee is related to: (a) Right to life, (b) President’s Rule, (c) Centre-State Relations, (d) Right to Education
Answer: Right to Education

Question: Consider the Statements: (1) In 2002, the Right to Education Act established free and compulsory education for children as a basic right under Article 21-A, (2) The RTE Act has been successful in increasing enrolment in upper primary schools (Class 6-8), (3) School infrastructure has improved as a result of stricter infrastructure standards, particularly in rural areas. Which of the statement(s) is/are correct? (a) 1 and 2, (b) 2 and 3, (c) 1 and 3, (d) All of these
Answer: 2 and 3

Mains Question (GS Paper 2, 2020): Right to Education Act, 2009 is a breakthrough in India’s education landscape. Critically Examine.

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