RTE or the Right to Education is the right of children between the age of 6 and 14 to free and compulsory education, this act came into force in the year 2010. Compulsory means that the respective state government will provide free elementary education and ensure the admission, attendance, and completion of education of children of the age group 6 to 14 and free means that the child will not have to pay any fee or charges of any kind to attain education.
This was the initiative taken by the government to ensure that the children of the country get proper education regardless of the nature of income of their household. The act has provisions for the non-admitted kids to be admitted in the appropriate classrooms and it lays down the duties of the government also. Hence, it is a boon for the families with low income. Government has schools in almost all the major areas of every city and the parents can send their kids to the school in their own area which will be closer to their homes as well.
The act has definitely helped the children and their families in numerous ways. It lays down norms for the working of the school stating the instructional days and teaching hours per day. It also makes sure that the pupil teacher ratio is maintained by every school and it ensures that properly trained teachers are employed by the school for the proper education of the children. Apart from this the schools provide 21 articles for the children of the school which include – books, uniform, bag, shoes, stationery etc. The parents don’t have to spend anything at all on the kid’s education as everything, even the school uniform, is provided by the government. The government also provides a free mid-day meal to all the students of the school so that they can eat healthy food during the recess.
But every coin has two sides and like everything else, this act has a flip side too. It’s about the fact that the government has a rule of not failing the students before 8th grade even if they fail their annual examinations. This has lead to devastating results. The children have started taking school for granted, their learning levels have dropped and has affected their academic performance. The rule is under review but nothing really helpful has come out of it so far. The kids who are way behind their grade level are getting promoted anyway and this can be a serious problem once the kid reaches 9th grade and then starts flunking. It will be a blow to his/her self esteem and it will become suddenly expensive for the parents to educate the kid.
Another reason why this act to be unable to help people is that there is a popular opinion that the education provided by government school is of poor quality. This can be because of shortage of teachers or lack of proper infrastructure, which is why a lot of parents prefer sending their kids to a private school. The act tried to bring private schools under its ambit but there are loopholes there too – the unaided private school find this act to be violating their constitutional right of running an institution without any interference of the government and the schools which are willing to do the PPP(public-private partnership) often complain that there are barely any admissions under the RTE act due to lack of awareness among the people.
Hence, RTE is a great initiative but there are still major loopholes which need looking into otherwise the whole act will end up being only a sham. The government has definitely tried a lot to uplift the economically backward communities of the country but a proper structure is required because things are still quite haphazard until yet.
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