ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dilution of the Right to Education Act

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is a long way off from becoming a social reality due to the reluctance to enforce many of its provisions. What has suffered the most is the autonomy and dignity of teachers, which form the core of this law’s approach.

Any stocktaking of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 or Right to Education (RTE) Act must start with some clarity about its nature. A fundamental right to elementary education covering eight years (six to 14 years) of childhood is impressive and it is hard to believe that India’s children have such a right. Again, if having a right means that there is law which says so, then the RTE Act is a reality. A right is a right inasmuch as it is recognised and respected by someone other than the one who has the right. For example, if a woman has to remind someone who is stalking her that she has a right to dignity and to not being stalked, her right has little substance, at least for now.

The case of children is worse. They cannot complain to adults, even less the adult society or the state, that the right they have is being violated. Moreover, a childhood spent without getting the advantage of a right cannot be compensated later. The RTE Act, in this sense, carries an acute urgency. For the right to acquire a legal, justiciable status is one thing, while its availability to every child is quite another.

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Updated On : 8th Apr, 2019

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