Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act
From 1 April 2010, a new law has come into force – The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. Under this Act, every child within the age group of 6-14 years will be provided 8 years of elementary education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his/her neighbourhood. No child shall be denied admission for want of documents; no child shall be turned away if the admission cycle in the school is over and no child shall be asked to take an admission test. Children with disabilities will also be educated in the mainstream schools.
Generally, April 1 is associated with Fool’s Day every year but this year, it was a Historic Day for the people of India, as from this day, the Right To Education will be accorded the same legal status as the Right To Life as provided by Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. The new Act states that free and compulsory “Elementary Education” from first class to eight class, to the children of the age of 6 to 14 years belonging to disadvantaged group or weaker section, is not merely the responsibility of schools run or supported by appropriate Governments or local authority, but also of schools which are not dependent on Government funds. Private schools shall admit at least 25% of the children in their schools without any fee.
But, all said and done, there are still many things wanting in the Act. Though the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has come into force w.e.f. 1 April 2010, but it is silent as to from which academic year it will be implemented. Also, the term “disadvantaged group or weaker sections” isn’t too informative. Still, a laudable effort on the part of the Government – a step towards a more educated and enlightened India!!