Six years from the 86th amendment to the Constitution of India inserts, which provided for compulsory education to children aged between six-fourteen years as a state responsibility, the union cabinet cleared the Right to Education Bill. It awaits approval in the Parliament before it can be made to be a fundamental right of every child.
The bill provides for a 25% reservation for disadvantaged children of the neighborhood for the entry level in private schools. There will be reimbursed of the expenditure incurred by the schools. No donation or capitation fee can be taken on admission and a provision that speaks of no interview of the child or parents as a part of the admission procedure.
The Bill totally prohibits expulsion, punitive measures in the form of physical torture or detention of a child. Running of non-recognized schools has been identified to be a punishable offense that may attract penalties.
The Right to Education Bill will act as the enabling legislation for execution of the 86th constitutional amendment that bestows a right to free and compulsory education to every child between the age of six and fourteen. But it has been two decades more than fifty years in the making since 1937 when Mahatma Gandhi gave voice to the universal need of education. It was only in 2002 that education made a fundamental right in the 86th amendment to the Constitution.
In2004, the NDA government in power, drafted the Right to Education Bill but lost the elections before it could be introduced. The UPA's present Bill was juggled between the state and the Centre with regards to the funding and responsibility.
The process of providing free and compulsory education can be categorized under the 4A structure which put the government as the principle body entrusted with the responsibility, other than that the stakeholders i.e. individual child as a student has responsibilities too. The 4A structure has also talked about the availability and accessibility of education.
Critical question lie whether the Bill should include age groups below six years and above 14. Also, issue like scarcity of teachers, low skilled teachers, and deficiency of infrastructural facilities hasn't been dealt under the Act.
The Bill faces resistance from the Ministry of Finance and law with regards to issues related to the involvement of state responsibility and financial burden estimate by the finance ministry which goes up to 550 Crore per annum. The Planning Commission expressed its inability to fork out the amount of money required; moreover the state governments were not willing fund even on a part basis. Thus the Indian legislature is forced to re-think the entire footing of the bill itself.
The mind of a child is like an empty slate. It shows whatever one writes about it. Children are very vulnerable to what is around them and happen to intake every bit of what is taught or enacted around them. Thus education is an important aspect for them.