Universal Elementary Education India 2012-13 by H Janardan_Prabhu


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 'An Educated India is
 A Progressing India'
                                 Education for All
Ever since Independence, India has
undertaken several initiatives to achieve
universalization of elementary education,
which has yielded mixed results.

The Right to Education legislation in India has
seen a chequered history in evolving from a
directive principle to a fundamental right. In
1950, the constitution articulated its
commitment to education through its directive     2

principle of State policy.
Universal Elementary Education
• The role of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) for
 strengthening the social fabric of democracy through
 provision of equal opportunities to all has been
 accepted since the inception of our Republic.

• The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of
 State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to
 endeavour to provide free and compulsory education
 to all children up to age fourteen in a period of ten
• In 2002, the 86th constitutional amendment was
 followed by rounds of discussions(tabling of right for
 free and compulsory education bills by the NDA and
 the UPA governments), which made education a
 fundamental right for children in the age group of 6 –
 14 tears.

• The Act was introduced in Rajya Sabha in December
 2008. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on 4th August
 2009 and the president gave his assent to it on 26
 August 2009.The Act came into force on 1 April 2010
 as a fundamental right.
 The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had been
 set with specific targets. These are:
• All children in school, Education
  Guarantee Centre, Alternate School or
  'Back-to-School' camp by 2005.
• All children complete five years of
  primary schooling by 2009.
• Children complete eight years of
  elementary schooling by 2012.
• Focus on elementary education of
  satisfactory quality with emphasis on
  education for life.
• Bridge all gender and social category
  gaps at the primary stage by 2009 and
  at the elementary education level by    7
• Universal retention by 2012.
• Though the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan [SSA]
  is being administered through government
  and govt. aided schools,
• some private unaided schools are also
  actively involved in contributing towards
  universal elementary education.
• The govt. entered into an agreement with
  the World Bank for assistance to the tune of
  US $ 600 million to fund the second phase      9

  of the S S A.
To promote literacy among its citizens, the
Government of India has launched several
schemes such as
• the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya
•   Mid-day Meal Scheme and
• the National Program for Education of Girls
    at Elementary Level (NPEGEL).
Role of Private Sector in SSA

“Right to Education Act is indeed a landmark law.
It marks a historic moment for our country, where
an estimated eight million children aged between
6 and 14 do not currently attend school. However,
the RTE 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.”    12

Arun Kapur, Director Vasant Valley School
  National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
• The act also provides that, no child shall be held back, expelled, or
  required to pass a board examination until completion of
  elementary education.

• Provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them at-
  par with the students of the same age.

• Right to Education of Person with Disabilities till 18 years of age
  has been made a Fundamental Right.

• The act provides for establishment of the National Commission for
  Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for supervising
  of proper implementation of the act, looking after the complaints       18
  and protection of Child Rights.
Successful implementation of the RTE act
passed by the central government requires key
steps to be undertaken by state governments.
States are required to notify specific rules for
carrying out the provisions of the Act. They are
also required to constitute a State Commission
for the Protection of Child Rights and notify a
state academic authority to frame and monitor      19

the curriculum.
Recently the Centre is seriously exploring ways to
bring pre-school education under Right to
Education Act to provide free and compulsory
education to children between the age group of
four and six.
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002,
inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide
free and compulsory education of all children in the age
group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in
such a manner as the State may, by law, determine. The
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education
(RCFCE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential
legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every
child has a right to full time elementary education of
satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school
which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.
          Major Highlights of the Act
The Act makes education a fundamental right of
every child between the ages of 6 and 14.
• It requires all private schools to reserve 25% of
  seats to children from poor families (to be
  reimbursed by the state as part of the public-
  private partnership plan).
• It also prohibits all unrecognized schools from
  practice, and makes provisions for no donation
  or capitation fees and no interview of the child
  or parent for admission.
• The Act also provides that no child shall be
  held back, expelled, or required to pass a
  board examination until the completion of
  elementary education.
• There is also a provision for special training of
  school drop-outs to bring them up to par with
  students of the same age. The Right to
  Education of persons with disabilities until 18
  years of age has also been made a
  fundamental right.
• A number of other provisions regarding
  improvement of school infrastructure, teacher-
  student ratio and faculty are made in the Act.      24
• Monitoring and Implementation of the act
  should be done by the National Commission
  for the Protection of Child Rights, an
  autonomous body together with Commissions
  to be set up by the states.
• Schools excluded from RTE under special
  category : Kendriya Vidyalaya, Navodaya
  Vidyalaya, Sainik School and Madrasas
  (protected under Article 29 and 30 of the   25

SC backs Right to Education
The apex court upheld         at least 25% students from
                              socially and economically
the constitutional validity   backward families. These
of the Act and directed       students will be
                              guaranteed free education
all schools, including        from class I till they reach
privately-run schools,        the age of 14.
irrespective of the board
they are affiliated to, to
admit from this
academic year (2012-                                         27
SC Bench said: “To put an obligation on the unaided non-minority
school to admit 25 per cent children in class I under Section 12(1) (c)
cannot be termed as an unreasonable restriction. Such a law cannot
be said to transgress any constitutional limitation. The object of the
2009 Act is to remove the barriers faced by a child who seeks
admission to class I and not to restrict the freedom under Article 19(1)
“From the scheme of Article 21A and the 2009 Act, it is clear that
the primary obligation is of the State to provide for free and
compulsory education to children between the age of 6 and 14 years
and, particularly, to children who are likely to be prevented from
pursuing and completing the elementary education due to
inability to afford fees or charges.”
The SC judgment said: “We hold that the Right of
Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is
constitutionally valid and shall apply to a school
established, owned or controlled by the appropriate
Government or a local authority; an aided school
including aided minority school(s) receiving aid or grants
to meet whole or part of its expenses from the
appropriate Government or the local authority; a school
belonging to specified category; and an unaided non-
minority school not receiving any kind of aid or grants to
meet its expenses from the appropriate Government or
the local authority.”
The 86th constitutional amendment (2002),
And the RTE Act (2009), have given us the
tools to provide quality education to all our
children. It is now imperative that we the
people of India join hands to ensure the
implementation of this law in its true
spirit. The Government is committed to
this task though real change will happen
through collective action.                      30
With this, India has moved forward to a rights
based framework that casts a legal obligation on
the Central and State Governments to
implement this fundamental child right as
enshrined in the Article 21A of the Constitution,
in accordance with the provisions of the RTE
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is implemented
as India‟s main programme for universalising
elementary education. Its overall goals include
universal access and retention, bridging of
gender and social category gaps in education
and enhancement of learning levels of children.     31
Both the Central and state governments are responsible
for ensuring effective implementation of the Act. There has
been significant improvement in terms of the number of
primary schools, largely due to additional resources made
available through the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan to bridge
existing gaps. The scheme is now being extended to the
secondary school level as well.
In addition to the Government‟s initiative, the private
sector has also played a role in improving the state of
education in the country and continues to do so.
Since RTE Act came into force,
• 50,672 new schools,
• 4.98 lakh additional classrooms,
• 6.31 lakh teachers, etc
• have been sanctioned to States and UTs
  under S S A. The fund sharing pattern
  between the Central and State Governments
  has also been revised to a sharing ratio which
  is more favourable to States Governments.        33
Reservation of 25% seats in private
schools for children from poor
families            • The principle behind 25%
• The school may be there
  but students may not         reservation is to promote
                               social integration.
  attend, or drop out after
  a few months.               A school is a perfect setting
• Through school & social     where existing inequalities
  mapping, many issues        in society can be bridged
  need to be addressed        if the school encourages
  that prevent a weak child    students to integrate
  from completing the
  process of education.       psychologically,
                              emotionally and academically.   36
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education
(RTE) Act, 2009 has come into force with effect from April
1, 2010. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Framework of
Implementation and norms for interventions have been
revised to correspond with the provisions of the RTE Act.
This includes
•   interventions, inter alia for opening new primary and
    upper primary schools as per the neighbourhood
    norms notified by State Governments in the RTE
•   support for residential schools for children in areas
    which are sparsely populated, or hilly or densely
    forested with difficult terrain, and for urban deprived
    homeless and street children in difficult circumstances,
• special training for admission of out-of-school children
    in age appropriate classes, additional teachers as per
    norms specified in the RTE Act,
• two sets of uniforms for all girls, and children belonging
    to SC/ST/BPL families,
• strengthening of academic support through block and
    cluster resource centres, schools, etc.
   The RTE Act mandates the following timeframe for
          implementation of its provisions:
Activity                               Timeframe
Establishment of neighbourhood
                                       3 years (by 31st March, 2013)
Provision of school infrastructure
  All weather school buildings
  One-classroom-one-teacher
  Head Teacher-cum-Office room
  Library                             3 years (by 31st March, 2013)
  Toilets, drinking water
  Barrier free access
  Playground, fencing, boundary
Provision of teachers as per prescribed
                                        3 years (by 31st March, 2013)
Pupil Teacher Ratio
Training of untrained teachers         5 years (by 31st March 2015)
Quality interventions and other
                                       With immediate effect
      Implementation of
provides for all children the benefit of free
 and compulsory
• admission,
• attendance and
• completion
of elementary education.
 In India, since we gained freedom of
            self governance,
• Undoubtedly, much progress has occurred
 since the last sixty years of our
 independence and
• many more children with a diverse
 background are accessing school.
• Yet....                                   41
         Dropped out, child labourers

• There are ‘invisible’ children_ children bonded to
 work with an employer,

• young boys grazing cattle or working in a dhabha

• girls working in the fields or as domestic help or
 caring for younger siblings, and

• children being subjected to early marriage. Many of
 these children are formally enrolled in a school but   43

 have either dropped out or have never been there.
Extremely vulnerable ones

• Many others such as migrant and
 street children, who live in extremely
 vulnerable conditions; denying them
 education is against the universal
 nature of human rights.
            Enrol, attend, learn,
        Be empowered by education

• Providing universal access itself is no longer
  enough; making available school facility is
  essential but not sufficient.
• A monitoring mechanism is needed to ensure
  that all children attend school regularly and
  participate in the learning process.

          Not attending,
     drop-out in a few months?
• Focus must be on the factors that prevent
  children from regularly attending &
  completing elementary education. Children
•   weaker sections and
•   disadvantaged groups, as also
•   girls.

Good education is empowering

• विद्याविधिविहीनेन क िं ु ऱीनेन दे हहनाम ् ।
  अ ु ऱीनोऽवि विद्याढ्यो दै ितैरवि िन्दद्यते
• Of what use is nobility of family if a person
  is illiterate?
• A learned man is respected by Gods too
  though he does not belong to a noble
  family.                                         47
   Free, compulsory and of high quality
• The right to education is free, compulsory and
  it includes good quality education for all.
• A curriculum not only provides good reading
  and understanding of text books but also
  includes learning through activities,
  exploration and discovery.
• Comprehension, competence,
  competitiveness and creativity should be
  developed, not forgetting compassion.            48
    Education Depts of State & Union
  Governments have direct responsibility
To provide
• schools,
• infrastructure,
• trained teachers,
• curriculum and
• teaching-learning material, and
• mid-day meal.
A well coordinated mechanism is needed for
inter- sectoral collaboration & convergence.
On the part of the whole Govts:
• The factors that contribute to the
  achievement of the overall goal of
  universalizing elementary education as a
  fundamental right requires action on the
  part of the whole Governments.
 A well coordinated mechanism is needed for
  inter- sectoral collaboration & convergence.
Timely & appropriate financial
allocations, redesign school spaces
• The Finance Department to release funds
  at all levels.
• The Public Works Dept. to re-conceive and
  redesign school spaces from the pedagogic
  perspective & Address issues of including
  disabled children through barrier free
Provide Social & Location Mapping of
schools, Water & sanitation facilities
• The Dept. of Science & Technology to
  provide geo-spatial technology to perform
 grass-root survey.
• Provision of access to sufficient safe
  drinking water
• Provision and access to adequate
  sanitation facilities, specially for girl child.   52
• Above all, people‟s groups, civil society
  organizations & voluntary agencies will play
  an crucial role in the implementation of the
  RTE Act.
• This will help build a new perspective on
  inclusiveness, encompassing gender &
  social inclusion, & ensure that these become
  integral & crosscutting concerns informing
  different aspects like training, curriculum and
  classroom transaction.                            53
• NGO contribution of knowledge, ideas and   54
  solutions to the challenges are needed.
Good teacher‟s company enables.

• यः िठतत लऱखतत िश्यतत िररिच्छती िण्डितान ्
  उिाश्रयवि ।
  तस्य हदिा रक रणैः नलऱनी दऱिं इि विस्ताररता
  बुवधः ॥
• One who reads, writes, sees, inquires, lives in
  the company of learned men, his intellect
  expands like the lotus leaf does
   because of the rays of sun.
► A key issue being raised against the
provisions of the RTE Act is the absence
of provisions for improving the job conditions of
teachers. This leads to limited availability of
quality teachers in rural or inaccessible areas.
► According to analysts, teacher training is one
of the biggest requirements of the
current system and has been neglected by the
Since the Government has finite resources,
reimbursing expenses to private schools will
be at the expense of government schools.
Therefore, it should be made voluntary for
private schools reserve seats for children from
disadvantaged sections of society. It is unfair
to make this applicable for all private schools.
“The whole idea of reimbursement of
expenses to private schools is a case of poor
economics. If the government is unable to
meet the expenses from where will it
generate additional resources to reimburse
the private schools”.                              67

Prof. Praveen Jha, JNU
The National Council for Teacher Education has laid
down the minimum qualifications for teachers in schools
in 2001 on the basis of the National Council for Teacher
Education Act and the RTE Act, according to which
teachers appointed by the government or employing
authority should be trained and have minimum
qualifications for different levels of school education.
Within the five year period, all teachers need to acquire
the academic and professional qualifications prescribed
by the academic authority under the RTE Act. This is a
difficult task.
„Free education‟ means that no child, other

than a child who has been admitted by his
or her parents to a school which is not
supported by the appropriate Government,
shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or
charges or expenses which may prevent
him or her from pursuing and completing
elementary education.                         78
• .„Compulsory   education‟ casts an obligation on
  the appropriate Government and local
  authorities to provide and ensure admission,
  attendance and completion of elementary
  education by all children in the 6-14 age
• With this, India has moved forward to a rights
  based framework that casts a legal obligation
  on the Governments to implement this right.        79
The new law provides a justiciable legal
framework that entitles all children between the
ages of 6-14 years free and compulsory
admission, attendance and completion of
elementary education. It provides for children‟s
right to an education of equitable quality, based
on principles of equity and non-discrimination.
Most importantly, it provides for children‟s right to
an education that is free from fear, stress and         80

The Rights perspective under the RTE Act has also
brought in new monitoring mechanisms to ensure that
child rights under the Act are protected. The RTE Act
provides for constitutionally created independent bodies
like the National and State Commissions for Protection
of Child Rights to perform this role. These bodies, with
quasi-judicial powers bring in an element of monitoring
new to the implementation of SSA, requiring that
internal monitoring mechanisms under the SSA engage
purposefully with these independent bodies.                81
The RTE provides a legally enforceable rights
framework with certain unambiguous time targets that
Governments must adhere to. For example, the Act
mandates that every child in the six to fourteen age
group shall have a right to free and compulsory
education in a neighbourhood school. The Act also
provides that if a school does not exist in an area or
limit prescribed as the neighbourhood, the appropriate
Government and the local authority shall establish a
school in this area within a period of three years.      83
The revised S S A Framework for Implementation is
derived from the recommendations of the Committee on
Implementation of RTE Act and the Resultant Revamp of
S S A, and is intended to demonstrate the harmonization
of S S A with the RTE Act. It is also based on child centric
assumptions emerging from the National Policy on
Education, 1986/92 and the National Curriculum
Framework (NCF), 2005. The revised S S A Framework
of Implementation provides a broad outline of approaches
and implementation strategies, within which States can
frame more detailed guidelines keeping in view their
specific social, economic and institutional contexts.

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