Right to Education Act
Important Definitions pertaining to
Child: Male or Female child of the age 6-14 years
Elementary Education: Education from class 1-8
School: (i) Established, owned and controlled by Government
(ii) School receiving aid or grant to meet whole or part of its
expenses from Government
Compulsory: It is the obligation of the Government to provide
compulsory admission, attendance, and completion of elementary
education, provide a neighborhood school, provide infrastructure
including school building, teaching staff and learning equipment
and ensure good quality education.
Every child in the age group of 6-14 has right to free and
compulsory education till completion of elementary education. No
child has to pay any kind of fee/charges/expenses in pursuing and
completing elementary education.
Children with Disability have right to free and compulsory
elementary education keeping in mind all round development of
the child and other mentioned under section curriculum and
Children who have not been to school or could not complete
elementary education should be admitted in a class appropriate to
his/her age. Children admitted directly to his/her age appropriate
class have the right to receive special training helping cope with
A child thus admitted to elementary education is
entitled to complete elementary education even after
fourteen years of age.
It will be the responsibility of the local authority to
maintain records of all children residing within its
jurisdiction as well as monitor admission, attendance
and completion of elementary education.
It is the responsibility of the appropriate Government
to establish a neighborhood school (within 1 Km for
Class I-V, within 3 kms for class VI-VII) within
period of three years from commencement of the act.
Right of transfer to other school: In case the child is out of school or
has to move for any reason (within or outside state) has the right to
get transferred any other Government or Government aided school
for completion of elementary education. Head teacher or incharge of
the school, child last attended, should immediately issue transfer
certificate, a delay in issuing the same will make them liable for
disciplinary action. Even if there is delay in producing Transfer
certificate it will not be a ground to delay or deny admission to the
Proof of age for admission: for the purpose of admission, to
determine the age of the child birth certificate to be referred. In case
of lack of age proof, school cannot deny admission.
The child can be admitted during any time of the academic year,
even after extended period for school admission.
The school shall not subject a child to screening procedure for
admission. The act also ensures that children belonging to weaker
sections and disadvantaged groups shall not be prevented and
Private education institutions to admit in class I (at least 25% of
the strength of the class), children belonging to weaker sections
and disadvantaged group in the neighborhood till the child
completes elementary education. The expenses of these children
to be borne by Government as per its norms.
No child will be expelled or held back in any class till completion of
elementary education. No child is required to pass any board
examination till completion of elementary education. Every child
completing elementary education shall be awarded a certificate.
No child will be subject to physical punishment or mental
Financial Responsibility: Responsibility of both Central
and State Governments
The Central Government will develop framework for
national curriculum, develop and implement standards
for training of teachers and provide technical support
and resources to state Government
Responsibility of educating children has been put on
the Government but it is the duty of parents to admit
the child in neighborhood school.
Pre School Education: The act talks about necessary
steps to be taken by appropriate Government to
prepare children for elementary education by providing
pre schools education to children above three years
until they complete six years.
SCHOOL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Composition: Schools shall form School Management Committee
consisting of elected representatives of local authority, parents of
children admitted in the school and teachers. At least three-fourth
of members should be represented by parents including good
representation from parents belonging to disadvantage groups and
weaker sections. 50% of members of the committee should be
Functions: monitor working of the school, prepare school
development plan (SDP), and monitor grant utilization. The SDP
prepared shall be basis for plans and grants to be made by
Persons possessing minimum qualification as laid down by academic
authority will be eligible for appointment as a teacher. If teachers
not available in sufficient numbers then there can be relax in
minimum qualification which the teacher should to acquire within a
period of five years. Schools should also ensure that vacancy of
teacher should not exceed 10 % of total sanctioned strength.
Duties of a teacher: Teachers should be regular and punctual in
attending school, conduct and complete curriculum, assess learning
ability of each child, supplement additional information as per need
of children and hold regular meetings with parents to update on
progress of their ward.
Pupil teacher ratio: For class 1-5th ratio to be 40:1 and for 6-8th
maintained to be 35:1. For class 6-8th at least one teacher should be
there for science and math, social studies and languages.
Teachers are not allowed to take private tuitions or private teaching
Teachers shall not be involved in Non educational purpose other
than population census, disaster relief and election related duties.
CURRICULUM AND EVALUATION
Curriculum and Evaluation procedure shall consider the following:
Conformity with values enshrined in constitution
All round development of child
Building up child’ potential, knowledge and talent
Development of physical and mental abilities to the fullest extent
Learning through activities, discovery and exploring in child
friendly and child centered manner
Medium of instruction, as far as practicable to be in child’s mother
Making child free of fear, trauma and anxiety and helping express
Continuous evaluation of child’s understanding of knowledge and
ability to apply the same.
In addition to assigned functions, National Commission for
protection of Child Rights has been vested with power to
examine and review safeguards for right of child, inquire
into complaints relating to right of child to free and
compulsory education, and also take necessary steps.
Redressal of Grievance: person having any grievance
relating to right of a child can make written complaint to
local authority having jurisdiction who in turn shall decide
the matter within a period of three months. Aggrieved
person not satisfied with the decision can appeal to state
commission for protection of child rights.
NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR A
School Building: It should be all weather building consisting of one
classroom per teacher and an office cum store cum head teacher’s
room, barrier free access, separate toilets for girls and boys, safe
and adequate drinking water facility, kitchen for cooking mid day
meal, playground and school boundary/fencing.
Minimum no. of working days/instructional hours: two hundred
working days for class 1-5th with 800 instructional hours per
academic year. For class 6-8th two hundred and twenty working
days including 1000 instructional hours per academic year.
Teaching learning equipment to be provided to each class
Library: there should be a library in each school providing
newspaper, magazines and story books
Play materials, games and sports equipment should be provided to
The act ignores children above 14 years of age. The Act does not
ensure that children do not drop out after age 14.
When the act realizes and recognizes the importance of pre
primary education for children (age 3-6 years) why appropriate
Governments are not instructed to implement it compulsorily
rather than using the term ‘may make necessary arrangement for
providing free preschool education” used.
Teachers have raised the issue that there is no provision to
guarantee that SMC will be a non-political and indiscriminate body
who can hamper the functioning of teachers and school?
School Management Committee will monitor the working of the
school, but there is no guideline which mentions mechanism to
monitor effectiveness of the School Management Committee to
ensure that it is in discipline? SMC talks about good representation
of parents but how can it be ensured that parents play an active
role and that their voices heard?
Provision for library for each school has been mentioned, but why
not computers? Don’t the children deserve good quality education?
Why does the Act cannot legalize education, curbing child labour
to bring every child to classroom?
In absence of detention and examination what are the procedures to
monitor progress of a child? Will quality suffer? Under the act, a child
can graduate to the next class regardless of performance or skill level
in the previous one. The system then provides for special attention
(through Section 4 of the Act) for such a child in the higher class to
make up the deficiency in skills and ability. The critical question is –
can a child who is unable to bear the workload of a junior class now
deal with the workload of a senior class in addition to taking special
Another critical issue has been raised that when every child is
promoted to the next class irrespective of performance, wouldn’t
parents and teachers put in less of a marginal effort to ensure
development of the child. The onus to support the child is passed
from teachers and parents to schools (through Section 4 of the Act),
and rarely, if ever, will teachers be held accountable for falling
standards of teaching.
In case of private schools where underprivileged children are able
to complete elementary education, what will happen to the
children when the government support the tuition will come to an
end. In such a situation, what would the school do? Throw the
child out? Where would she go for high school education? May be
nowhere, since that is not part of her Fundamental Right!
The act denies right to secondary and senior secondary education,
it dilutes the Fundamental Right of children below six years.
The act continues discrimination against government school
children as their teachers will still be deployed for census,
elections and disaster relief duties as these duties are, by no
means, less time consuming and will definitely have an impact on
the teaching time.
Teachers are the soul of the teaching-learning processes: clause
23 of the Bill states that the government may relax qualifications
for teachers. This will severely impede the quality of teaching-
learning processes if necessary and appropriate training is not
imparted to them.
The Act does not regard special needs of children in internal
strife/conflict situations in several parts of the country, where
school access is hampered severely. Nomadic communities and
pastoralists, Forests dwellers and tribals in remote areas also need
special attention to access education. The bill has a only cursory
mention of migrant children but does not clearly specify the ways
and means of including this large group of children whose
education rights are not fulfilled