UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

REFORMS FOR UPLIFTMENT OF THE WEAKER SECTIONS OF INDIA

'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 principle of State policy.
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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 years.

• 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
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as a fundamental right.

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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 2012. • Universal retention by 2012.

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• 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 of the S S A.
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To promote literacy among its citizens, the
Government of India has launched several schemes such as • the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme, • Mid-day Meal Scheme and • the National Program for Education of Girls

at Elementary Level (NPEGEL).
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Role of Private Sector in SSA

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“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.” Arun Kapur, Director Vasant Valley School
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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 atpar 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 and protection of Child Rights.
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IMPLEMENTATION OF RTE EEGULATIONS 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 the curriculum.
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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.
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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.
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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 publicprivate 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
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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, teacherstudent ratio and faculty are made in the Act.

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• 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 Constitution)
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SC backs Right to Education
The apex court upheld at least 25% students from socially and economically backward families. These students will be guaranteed free education from class I till they reach the age of 14.

the constitutional validity
of the Act and directed all schools, including privately-run schools, irrespective of the board they are affiliated to, to admit from this academic year (2012-

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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) (g). “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.”
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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 nonminority school not receiving any kind of aid or grants to meet its expenses from the appropriate Government or the local authority.”
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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.
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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. 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.

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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.
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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.
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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 attend, or drop out after a few months. • Through school & social mapping, many issues need to be addressed that prevent a weak child from completing the process of education.

reservation is to promote social integration. A school is a perfect setting where existing inequalities in society can be bridged if the school encourages students to integrate psychologically, emotionally and academically.

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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 Rules,
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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.
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The RTE Act mandates the following timeframe for implementation of its provisions:
Activity Establishment of neighbourhood schools Provision of school infrastructure  All weather school buildings  One-classroom-one-teacher  Head Teacher-cum-Office room  Library  Toilets, drinking water  Barrier free access  Playground, fencing, boundary walls Timeframe 3 years (by 31st March, 2013)

3 years (by 31st March, 2013)

Provision of teachers as per prescribed 3 years (by 31st March, 2013) Pupil Teacher Ratio Training of untrained teachers Quality interventions and other provisions 5 years (by 31st March 2015) With immediate effect 39

Implementation of RIGHT TO EDUCATION ACT
provides for all children the benefit of free and compulsory • admission, • attendance and • completion of elementary education.
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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....

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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 have either dropped out or have never been there.
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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.
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Enrol, attend, learn, and 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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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 access.

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Provide Social & Location Mapping of schools, Water & sanitation facilities
• The Dept. of Science & Technology to provide geo-spatial technology to perform at grass-root survey. • Provision of access to sufficient safe drinking water • Provision and access to adequate sanitation facilities, specially for girl child.

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ROLE OF CIVIL SOCEITY in RTE
• 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.

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ROLE OF CIVIL SOCEITY
• A VIBRANT CIVIL SOCEITY MOVEMENT CAN ENSURE THAT • THE PARENT / CHILD FROM WEAKER OR DISADVANTAGED SECTIONS BECOME AWARE OF • THE VALUE OF EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO ELEMENTARY EDUCATION AND • PUT IN SERIOUS EFFORTS ON THEIR PART. • NGO contribution of knowledge, ideas and solutions to the challenges are needed.

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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.
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► 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 Act.

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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”. Prof. Praveen Jha, JNU

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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.
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„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.
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• .„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 Governments to implement this right.
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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 anxiety.
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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.
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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.
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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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