Our thinking, expectations
After independence the Directive Principles of State Policy
in the Constitution provided that "the State shall endeavour
to provide for free and compulsory education for all children
up to the age of 14 years".
In its education report for 2004, UNESCO ranked India at
105 (out of 127 countries) in its Education for All
Development Index (EDI).
To tackle the problem of high dropout rate and bring in outof-school children, the government had to take measures
to make educational opportunity available to all children in
the age range of 6-14 years.
The government tried to make schooling more attractive by
introducing policies like mid-day meals, school adoption
programs (by better off private schools and nongovernmental entities) and inviting private sector
(particularly Information Technology industry) to participate in
such an endeavour.
A public-private partnership has the potential of optimising
existing resources, as the public sector plays the role of
enabler and facilitator, and the private sector contributes its
expertise, technology and management practices.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was to provide useful
and relevant elementary education for all children in the 6 to
14 age group by 2010.
SSA had two aspects – I) It provided a wide convergent
framework for implementation of Elementary Education
schemes; II) It was also a programme with budget provision
for strengthening vital areas to achieve universalisation of
All investments in the elementary education sector from the
State and the Central Plans was to reflect as part of the
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan took note of the fact that provision
of elementary education was largely made by the
government and government aided schools. There are
also private unaided schools in many parts of the country
that provide elementary education. Poorer households
are not able to afford the fees charged in private schools
in many parts of the country. There are also private
schools that charge relatively modest fees and where
poorer children are also attending. Some of these schools
are marked by poor infrastructure and low paid teachers.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education
Act, or Right to Education Act (RTE), was hailed as a
landmark bill in 2009 when it was passed by parliament
August 4 2009.
The Act dictates that all children between the ages of 6
and 14 are entitled to free and compulsory education.
The Act also states that 25 per cent of admissions in all
private unaided schools will be provided free of cost to
children from underprivileged homes in neighbouring
Supreme Court upholds R T E Act
On April 12, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of
the RTE Act and made it clear that its would be implemented
across the country. The court, however, exempted private
unaided minority schools (such as schools run by religious
institutions) from the Act stating that it would “infringe the
fundamental freedom” of such schools.
The Karnataka government, through its Budget, had also
stated that the RTE Act would be implemented from the
academic year 2012-2013.
Quality education is an integral part of access
and must include quality with respect to:
(1)the education process (including quality
curricula and reasonable class sizes);
(2) adequate and safe infrastructure and
learning and teaching resources; and
(3) interventions that mitigate non-school
factors impacting teaching and learning.
A narrow approach to learning can result in the
degrading of other school subjects and essential
skills, values and relations, forcing teachers to
„teach to the test‟.
Numeracy and literacy achievement are important,
but they should be understood as necessary but
not sufficient to developing cognitive capabilities,
including critical and higher order thinking.
Capabilities that foster innovation and build
character are also crucial education outcomes,
including: creativity, curiosity, civic-mindedness,
solidarity, self-discipline, selfconfidence,
compassion, empathy, courage, selfawareness, resilience, leadership, humility,
peace, and more.
The primary site of assessment should be the
classroom where teachers assess student
learning in order to inform and improve teaching
Problems posed by RTE
• Three years after the Right To Education (RTE) came into
force, nearly 20% of government schools were yet to have
professionally competent teachers, according to a study
conducted by the HRD ministry.
• The study for 2012-13 revealed that the percentage of
professionally educated teachers in government schools was
around to 81%, just one per cent up from the previous year.
• The RTE Act, which came into force three years back,
mandates states to have professionally-qualified teachers in all
schools within five years.
The report showed improvement in school infrastructure
during the three year period, with percentage of schools
with girls toilet facility going up to 69% and percentage of
primary schools with single classrooms in government
schools coming down from 40% to 29%.
It is unlikely that gender parity in primary and secondary
education will be achieved by 2015. Thus, particular
attention needs to be paid to gender parity across all
priorities within the global development framework.
By education I mean an all-round drawing out of
the best in child and man - body, mind and spirit,
Literacy is only the means where by man and
woman can be educated. Begin the child‟s
education by teaching it in addition to literacy, a
useful handicraft and enabling it to produce. I hold
the highest development of the mind and the soul
is possible under such a system of education.
However, the Right to Education Act is more about
Right to Schooling than the Right to Education. It
focuses heavily on inputs whereas learning
outcomes have not been addressed. It is unlikely
to improve mass education because there is no
focus on quality.”
Arun Kapur, Director Vasant Valley School
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
Education Act came into force on April 1, 2010.
• It describes the modalities of the provision of free and
compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in
India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.