From April 1, 2010 the Right to Education has come into force ensuring free education to more than 92 lakh out of school children in India. The passage of this Act gives every child the right to a quality elementary education. The main features of the Act are:
All children aged 6-14 shall have the right to free and compulsory education at a neighborhoods school.
No direct (school fees) or indirect cost uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals, transportation need to be borne by the child or parents to obtain elementary education.
The govt will provide schooling free of cost until the child’s elementary education is completed.
All schools must comply with certain infrastructure and teacher norms. Two trained teachers will be provided for every 60 students at the primary level.
Schools shall constitute School management committees comprising local officials, parents, guardians and teachers. The SMCs will monitor utilization of govt grants and the school environment.
RTE mandates inclusion of 50% women and parents of children from disadvantaged groups in SMCs.
Implications of RTE Act
Teachers will be at the core of implementation of RTE that seeks to work towards a heterogeneous and democratic class room where all children participate as equal partners. There are 57 lakh teachers posts at primary and upper primary level. Currently more than 5.23 lakh teacher posts are vacant. To bring the pupil –teacher ratio to 30:1 as prescribed by the RTE Act 5.1 lakh additional teachers are required. Already there are 5.1 lakh schools with a pupil-teacher ratio of more than 30:1.On top of that 5.48 lakh untrained teachers at the primary and 2.25 lakh at upper primary level have to acquire necessary qualification within 5 years of the RTE Act coming into force.
To ensure 25% reservation for children from disadvantaged and weaker sections schools will have to disclose the lists of children taken in this category as well as ensure that diversity is maintained .The state governments will undertake household school mapping to ensure that all children are sent to school.
State governments and local bodies will have to establish primary schools within one km of the neighbourhood.For the children of Class VI to VIII the school should be within 3 km of the neighbourhood.In the absence of a school in small hamlets the state government shall make adequate arrangement like free transportation and residential facilities.