The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Bill making it mandatory for private schools to reserve 25% seats for children of economically weaker sections of society.
The RTE judgement will come into effect from today and the court said prior admissions would not be affected.
See also - Quality Education (Teacher Eligibility Test ) to implement RTE :
A bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia and Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar, which had reserved its verdict on August 3 last year, upheld provisions of the law which made right to education a fundamental right of children in the age group of 6-14 years.
The RTE Act will be applicable for day schools and not for boarding schools. The RTE Act will also not be applicable in private minority schools.
The order was passed on a bunch of petitions by private unaided institutions which contended that the Act violates the rights of private educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) which provided autonomy to private managements to run their institutions without governmental interference.
The Centre had defended the law saying it was aimed at uplifting the socially and economically weaker section of society.
The Centre had emphasised the need to de-link merit and talent from social and economic differences among different sections of society and said that the act calls for "moving towards composite classrooms with children from diverse backgrounds, rather than homogeneous and exclusivist schools".
FAQs on the Right To Education
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today has said Right To Education is constitutionally valid and has made it clear that it will apply to all schools controlled by govt or local bodies. Here are some FAQs on this act.
What is the Right to Education Act?
All children between the ages of 6 and 14 shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighbourhood school. There is no direct (school fees) or indirect cost (uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals, transportation) to be borne by the child or the parents to obtain elementary education. The government will provide schooling free-of-cost until a child's elementary education is completed.
What does this mean for schools across the country?
Right to Education Act, 2009, mandates 25 per cent free seats to the poor in government aided and private unaided schools uniformly across the country. However this will not be applicable to private minority institutions that get no aid from the government. Government schools will have no quota. These schools have to admit all.
Schools will have to implement the 25% reservation at the entry level of the school. States will have to bear the cost of this.
How will the poor students be selected?
Poor students from neighbourhood areas have to be admitted, based on a lottery system.
What are problems with the Act and its implementation?
Many activists feel, that exempting private minority schools from admitting poor students is the biggest drawback as many private schools will exploit this. Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO, conducted a study across 9 states last year to understand the impact of the Right to Education Act and discovered some disturbing trends.The names of a large number of students were enrolled but they were not in schools. Bodies which are to implement the Right to Education Act haven't even been set up in many states.
What happens if the RTE is not implemented by schools?
The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) can review the safeguards for rights provided under this Act, investigate complaints and have the powers of a civil court in trying cases.