RIGHT TO EDUCATION
The significance of education in the life of an individual can’t be esteemed. It is noteworthy to make a kid rationally solid and dynamic native. Education is must for the improvement of a nation. Education is similar to a flame which illuminates and uproots the dimness of lack of awareness. It is just with the education that ignorance passes away and proficiency spreads. The Right to Education is a universal entitlement to education, a right that is recognized as a human right.
The right to education is enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights. India being the second most populous county in the world also has the largest number of illiterates in the world. We all recognize that illiteracy is bad, that it prevents the cultural growth of a person.2 Therefore RTE, Act was introduced in to deal with the problems and challenges that India was facing in eradicating illiteracy.
This paper has been divided into four parts. First part introduces with the subject of the paper i.e., Education and its need. Second part emphasizes that how Right to Education became Fundamental Right. Third part highlights the Challenges and Accessibility of Education in India and concluding with suggestions is listed in the last part.
Till the nineteenth century, education in India was an exclusive right available only to a small section of society. Under British rule, in spite of compulsory education laws, not much progress was made in this direction. Post-independence, Article 45 of the newly framed Constitution stated that “the State shall Endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution, free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years”.4 But nothing much happened towards universalization of elementary education.
The Indian Education Commission (Kothari Commission) 1964–1968, reviewed the status of education in India and made several recommendations. Most important amongst these is its recommendation of a common school system with a view to eliminating inequality in educational opportunities. Thereafter, several political as well as policy level changes influenced the course of FCE. The country witnessed an increased international focus on its initiatives regarding FCE after its participation in the World Conference on Education for All in 1990.
In the meanwhile, India signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in 1992 and initiated the process of adopting legislation to make education a fundamental right of the child. Inroads in this direction were already made in 1976 through an amendment to the Constitution to enable the Government at the center to also make legislation for school education, the power for which until then, had solely been in the hands of the state governments.
In 1992, in the case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, the Supreme Court of India held that right to education is concomitant to fundamental rights enshrined under Part III of the constitution and that every citizen has a right to education under the constitution.10 Subsequently, in the case of Unnikrishnan J.P. v. State of Andhra Pradesh,11 Supreme Court limited the right to education age-wise and held that every child/citizen has a right to free education up to the age of 14 years and thereafter it is subject to limits of economic capacity and development of the State.
Furthermore, two committees were formed to consider the state of education in India. The first, a Joint Committee of State Government Ministers of Education (the Saikia Committee) concluded in 1997 that the Constitution should be amended to create as a “fundamental right” the right to free and compulsory education from six to fourteen years of age, and to impose a “fundamental duty” on parents to provide opportunities for education to their children in this age group.
Article 21 A was inserted in the Constitution of India by 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002 which made the education of the children a fundamental right. It provides that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may by law determine. It is evident that the recent changes introduced by the legislature in the Constitution are an important step in achieving the eventual goal of education for all.
However, the goal is far from achieved. Much more is yet to be done to fulfill the noble objective of the right of every child to education. It can be achieved by the collective efforts of all the stakeholders. There is a need for coordination, with strong political will and commitment, between the Central and State Government agencies. Inaction a law alone cannot guarantee the right to education in the country and came into force in April 2010. No doubt the RTE has far-reaching consequences for implementing the mission of free and compulsory elementary education.
This task, however, is not much easy as it appears because, the prevailing harsh socio-cultural and economic ground realties pose daunting challenges for executing RTE, Act. Some of the major challenges are: Out of School Children: The number of out of school children is a challenge before the government. With more than one-third of its population below 18 years, India has the largest young population in the world.
Out of every 100 children, 19 continue to be out of school.14 According to UNESCO‟s report on progress in primary education, around 7.74 crore children around the world are out of school. Three-fourths of these out-of-school children reside in 15 countries including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, China, Brazil and the African nations. With one-third of the world’s illiterate, the report places India 105th among 128 nations.15 Financial Constraints: Availability of funds is a challenge in accessibility of education. Funding of the Right to Education Act, which is done through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is another area of concern.
The enactment of RTE saw the approval of Rs 2.31 lakh crore for implementation of RTE It is evident that the recent changes introduced by the legislature in the Constitution are an important step in achieving the eventual goal of education for all. However the goal is far from achieved. Much more is yet to be done to fulfil the noble objective of the right of every child to education. It can be achieved by collective efforts of all the stakeholders. There is a need for coordination, with strong political will and commitment, between the Central and State Government agencies. Inaction a law alone cannot guarantee the right to education in the country.
Author: jageshwar pateriya,
jagran lakecity university/student