Right to education in Indian context.
- 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 (RTE) 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.
- Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into effect on 1 April 2010. The title of the RTE Act incorporates the words ‘free and compulsory’. ‘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. ‘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 group. 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 Act.
The RTE Act provides for the:
- Right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school.
- It clarifies that ‘compulsory education’ means obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. ‘Free’ means that no child 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.
- It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
- It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
- It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours.
- It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil teacher ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings. It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
- It provides for appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.
- It prohibits (a) physical punishment and mental harassment; (b) screening procedures for admission of children; (c) capitation fee; (d) private tuition by teachers and (e) running of schools without recognition,
- It provides for development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centred learning.
Quality Education Under RTE Act
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 lays down the duties of the appropriate Government and the local authority to ensure that good quality elementary education conforming to norms and standards is provided, curriculum and courses of study are prescribed in a timely manner, and teachers are trained. In order to focus on quality education, the Central RTE Rules have been amended on 20th February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes.
- The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage have, accordingly, been finalized and shared with all States and UTs. These would serve as a guideline for States and UTs to ensure that all children acquire appropriate learning level.
- Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Sarva Shiskha Abhiyan (SSA), the State Governments and UT Administrations are supported on several interventions to improve teaching standards, including regular in-service teachers’ training, induction training for newly recruited teachers, training of all untrained teachers to acquire professional qualifications through Open Distance Learning (ODL) mode, recruitment of additional teachers for improving pupil-teacher ratios, academic support for teachers through block and cluster resource centres, continuous and comprehensive evaluation system to equip the teacher to measure pupil performance and provide remedial action wherever required, and teacher and school grants for development of appropriate teaching-learning materials, etc.
- Additionally, the Central Government, supports States and UTs on early grade reading, writing & comprehension, and early Mathematics programmes through a sub-programme of SSA namely ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat’ (PBBB) in classes I and II. Further, the Government has launched Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) programme on 09.07.2015, inter alia, as a sub-component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), to motivate and engage children of the age group from 6-18 years in Science, Mathematics and Technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities.
- Further, as per model rules prescribed under RTE Act, 2009 a primary school is provided at a distance of 1km and an upper primary school is provided at a distance of 3Km, though the States have notified their own neighborhood norms as per their requirement. Government also provides various facilities to students at all levels in order to ensure high enrolment and quality of education including scholarships and teacher training.
Collaboration with Foreign Universities
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) has notified, on the 11th July, 2016, the UGC (Promotion and Maintenance of Standards of Academic Collaboration between Indian and Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2016 regarding collaboration between Indian Higher Educational Institutions and Foreign Higher Educational Institutions leading to the award of a degree.
- As per these regulations, Indian Universities and Colleges having the highest grade of accreditation/threshold accreditation, and conforming to other eligibility conditions as laid down in the regulations, can apply online to the UGC for starting twining arrangement with Foreign Educational Institutions (FEI) having the prescribed quality.
- All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has set norms for regulating collaboration and twinning program between Indian and Foreign University/Institutions in the field of Technical Education Research and Training with an objective to safeguard the interest of student community in India and ensure uniform maintenance of Norms & Standards as prescribed by various statutory bodies.
Bridging Gender Gap in IITS
- Out of 2264 female candidates who were allotted seats in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in 2016, 848 joined IITs. The admission process for the current year is not over. To improve female enrolment in the B.Tech. Programmes in IITs, a Committee under the chairmanship of Director, IIT-Mandi was constituted by the Joint Admission Board (JAB) to suggest suitable measures.
- The report of the Committee was considered by the IIT Council in its 51st meeting held on 28.04.2017 and decided to increase female enrolment from the current 8% to 14% in 2018-19, 17% in 2019-20 and 20% in 2020-21 by creating supernumerary seats.
Bhagavad Gita in School Education
- Content related to ‘Bhagavad Gita’ is already included in National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT)’s Class XII Sanskrit text book, namely, Shashwati, Part-II (Chapter IV: Karma Gauravam) since 2007-08.
- The National Curriculum Framework-2005 brought out by NCERT states that to strengthen our cultural heritage and national identity, the curriculum should enable the younger generation to reinterpret and re-evaluate the part with reference to new priorities and emerging outlooks of a changing societal context.
- The document further states that the cultural diversity of this land should continue to be treasured as our special attribute. However, education, being a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, and the majority of schools being under the jurisdiction of the State Governments, it is within the ambit of the States/ Union Territories to decide about the subjects to be taught in their schools keeping in view the National Curriculum Framework (NCF).
Review of Deemed University Status
- Presently, Institutions Deemed to be Universities are regulated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as per the provisions of UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2016. As per the Regulations, there is a provision for mandatory intensive external review of every Deemed to be University once in every five years based on the criteria prescribed by the UGC from time to time.
- Only those Institutions Deemed to be Universities are not reviewed by the UGC which are accredited with highest grade by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or all their eligible Courses are accredited with highest grade by National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for two continuous cycles.
- The review of such Institutions Deemed to be Universities can be done by the Institution itself through external peer review mechanism.
- Since there is a mandatory provision for reviewing of every Institution Deemed to be University, the Ministry does not interfere in conducting review of these Institutions. However, in case of Category ‘B’ Institutions identified by the Tandon Committee, the Government has asked the UGC to see whether the deficiencies pointed out by the Committee have been rectified while carrying out inspection as per the mandatory requirement of UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2016. For Category ‘C’ Institutions as identified by Tandon Committee, the UGC has been asked to see during inspection that whether deficiencies have been rectified and that the Regulations are being adhered to.
Re-Evaluation Policy of CBSE
- There have been some variations in totaling of marks during verifications of marks/scrutiny which have been communicated to the students and revised marks statement issued. This year total No. of 106981 cases of Verification of Marks has been received in all the 10 Regions of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The said variations are due to totaling of marks, unassessed portion, transfer of marks from inside the answer book to the main cover page.
- The orders of the Hon’ble Court have been complied by the CBSE for scrutiny of the answer scripts. A notice in this regard has been issued by the CBSE dated 28.06.2017.
- As the entire evaluation has human component, there are chances of error in the nature of totaling, posting, un-assessed, comparison.
- These errors are miniscule/insignificant looking into the quantum of answer books being evaluated (1 crore answer scripts of class X and XII). Hence, there is nothing wrong in the totaling process as a whole. Further in order to review and bring reform to the present evaluation system of the CBSE two Independent Committees have been formed in order to bring systemic improvement in the evaluation and post examination activities to make them error free.
Incubation Centres in Universities
- 15 Technology Business Incubators (TBI) have been approved by this Ministry in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology (DST) in the year 2016 across various Centrally Funded Technical Institutions with 100% funding from DST.
- The DST has also supported 93 Technology Business Incubators and Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Parks in various universities/institutions.
- For 5 years under National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)
On an average 15 projects each are under taken for physical incubation by these incubation centres with an incubation period of 2 to 3 years. During last three years, in the 93 Technology Business Incubators located in academic setups, 1395 projects have been under physical incubation.
Education is a tool for empowerment and the RTE Act with all the shortcomings is a good attempt. The task is difficult and the scheme will get modified in the light of practical experience. All the stakeholders should act positively and try to implement it. Universal education will take its own time and the initial attempt should be to give good education to all those who want it. Even if the learning results are below the desired level, children putting on a clean uniform and attending school has its merits. This will teach them a sense of good behaviour instead of running around in the street or traveling up and down in trains without tickets.