Right to Education
Right to Education (RTE) is by far the most historic
development in universalisation of elementary education in the country. Enacted
in 2010, it implies that every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years has Right
to elementary education. They are entitled for free and compulsory education.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the main vehicle for
implementation of the RTE Act. It is one of the largest programmes of its kind
in the world. It is primarily funded from central budget and it covers the whole
country. More than 19 crore children are covered under this scheme in 11 lakh
habitations. 98% of habitations in this country have elementary schools within 1
km and 92% have upper primary schools within 3 km of their locations.
The programme has been implemented in order to narrow down
gender and social gaps in elementary education. Special efforts have been made
to reach out to girls and children belonging to SC/ST and Muslim minority
Over 3500 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) have been
set up as residential upper primary schools for girls from SC, ST, OBC, Muslim
communities and BPL girls in the educationally backward blocks. Free boarding /
lodging, books, stationary and uniforms are being provided to the children in
Under SSA, special attention has been given to urban deprived
children, children affected by periodic migration and children living in remote
and scattered habitations. Attempts have also been made to reach out to children
suffering from autism. It involves their identification, preparation of
individualized Education Plan, teacher training on Autism and therapeutic
As part of the scheme, steps have been taken to improve the
standard of elementary education in the country. It includes improvement in
infrastructural facilities and sanctioning of new teacher posts in government
schools. Free textbooks are being provided to all children in government and
government aided schools.
Last year, the centre released more than 23800 crore rupees
and during the current financial year (2013-14), in the first eight months, over
16000 crore rupees have been released.
This increased funding has led to massive creation and
improvement of infrastructure at school level. About 95% schools have drinking
water facilities and 90% schools have toilets. Similarly about 75% upper primary
schools have furniture. More than 3 lakh new school buildings with toilets,
drinking water facilities and electricity have been created under the Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan, a flagship programme of UPA government to implement RTE.
Since the enactment of the Right of Children to Free and
Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the enrolment of children at the
elementary level has increased from about 19 crore in 2008-09 to about 20 crore
in 2012-13 as per District Information System for Education (DISE) data. A total
of over forty three thousand five hundred schools, seven lakh additional
classrooms, five lakh forty six thousand toilets and thirty four thousand six
hundred drinking water facilities have been sanctioned to States/UTs under Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme to meet the objectives of the RTE Act.
The enrolment among the SCs has increased from 3 crore to 4
crore during 2008-09 and 2012-13. Similar positive trends have been noticed
among STs and minorities also. Thirteen states have also admitted children
belonging to disadvantaged groups/weaker sections in private unaided schools as
per the RTE Act.
Along with the Mid Day Meal Scheme, the Right to Education
Act has made substantial impact on universalisation of elementary education,
reduction in dropout rates and fighting classroom hunger.
The improvement is reflected in the Net Enrolment ratio in Primary Education. It
was 99.89% in 2011-12. There has been a substantial drop in dropout rate among
the kids at the elementary level. The number of out of school children has come
down sharply from more than 1.34 crore in 2005 to 29 lakh in 2012-13.
Several new measures have been taken for improving quality
under RTE, in letter as well as in spirit. About 20 lakh additional teacher
posts have been sanctioned under SSA upto 2012-13. Out of this twelve lakh forty
thousand posts are reported to have been filled. After RTE, it is compulsory
that only those people who are able to clear the Teacher Eligibility Test may be
appointed as teachers.
To improve quality of learning, children are provided free
text books upto class 8. Continuous and comprehensive evaluation system is being
promoted. Curriculum reforms are made to make learning more children friendly
and inclusive. Training for in service teachers and head masters are being
The focus of all HRD Ministry schemes under the 11th Five
Year Plan was access and growth whereas quality is the key under the current
Five Year Plan.
Courtesy : PIB