Author: Akanksha, A Student at Amity University Jharkhand


A favourable picture of the situation is presented by the Annual Status of The Education Report of 2018, which surveyed 546,527 children in rural India between the ages of 3 and 16 and selected them from 354,944 households across 596 districts. According to the report’s figures, the percentage of kids between the ages of three and sixteen who are not enrolled in school decreased from 3% to 2.8% in 2018. The poll also revealed that the percentage of girls aged 11 to 14 who missed school has decreased from 10.3% in 2006 to 4.1%.Though the 2018 status report appears to show an upward trajectory, it really fell short of the anticipated expansion in terms of both the enrollment ratio and providing all students with high-quality education. Quality education for all is the primary responsibility of the state apparatus. The slow progress of the right to education in India can be attributed to a number of factors, including an inadequate teacher-to-student ratio, low government funding allocated to strengthening education, poor policy implementation, a strong taboo against female education in remote areas, a lack of job-oriented education and skill development in schools, illiteracy and parental disinterest in education, etc.


The writers of the Indian Constitution placed a high priority on education, and during the debates on Parts III and IV of the document, it was even brought up in the Constituent Assembly Debates. Despite heated debates over other education-related topics like language, child age, minority rights, etc., the right to education was not included in the list of essential rights (Part III) of the Constitution. Although the Constitution’s Article 29 states that “no citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institutions maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, or language,” it does not establish the right to education as one of the fundamental rights of the people and guarantees that everyone, regardless of social or economic background, can receive an  elementary or foundational education. The 86th addition, which was passed in 2002, was the most important addition to the constitution that included education as a fundamental right. The aforementioned modification added Article 21A to Part III of the Constitution, which states that children between the ages of six and fourteen get free and obligatory education.


Naturally, the right to education does not imply that every person has the same type or level of education; rather, it refers to the minimal requirement for a high-quality education, whether it be fundamental, basic, or elementary schooling. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 26 that “everyone has the right to education.” At the very least at the  basic and elementary levels, education should be free. Elementary schooling must be required. All people should have equal access to technical and professional education, and higher education should be provided on the basis of merit.

“Parents have the right to decide in advance what kind of education their children will receive.” The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that States Parties acknowledge the child’s progressive right to education, in particular by requiring universal access to free primary education and implementing policies that promote regular attendance at school and lower dropout rates. These international agreements unintentionally highlight the need for universal access to free and compulsory education, as well as the state’s and parents’ and guardians’ duties to provide education.

It was duly acknowledged that in India, the right to education is a basic right that is accompanied with the right to high-quality education. Article 21A of the Indian Constitution mandates that the state, parents, and society as a whole play a crucial role in establishing education as a fundamental human right for all people, regardless of their social or economic background. Through their several significant rulings, the Supreme Court and High Courts have maintained the right to free and compulsory education.

The Right to Education Act was subsequently passed by Parliament in 2009 and put into effect in 2010. There have been significant changes since the 1986 education policy. A number of mission-oriented initiatives, such as the “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (2009), the Constitution (Eighty-six) Amendment Act (2002), the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the  Rashtriya  Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA),” and the “District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) were followed.


It is a given that every person has equal access to education so they can develop to the utmost extent possible and become whole human beings. Article 21A of the Constitution requires the State to give education to everyone in order to achieve the aim of the right to universal education. The statement reads, “The States shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six and fourteen in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.” The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE) was passed in accordance with this article, and it went into effect on April 1, 2010.

The child centric RTE Act of 2009 suggests that teachers should reorient themselves to better suit the needs of the students. It seeks to fulfil the fundamental right to primary education for all children between the ages of six and fourteen. Additionally, the statute requires a 25% reservation for underprivileged groups in society, such as children with disabilities, socially backward class members, and SCs and STs. It provides for the inclusion of dropouts and other kids in age-appropriate classes. The division of duties between the federal and state governments with regard to providing children with financial and other forms of education, as well as the ban on using instructors for non-educational purposes unless specifically authorised by the Act.


The right to education was originally mentioned in an article under the Directive Principles of State Policy rather than the Fundamental Rights. It is possible to assume that the founders of the Constitution meant for the State to be accountable for educating all of its inhabitants, regardless of social or economic status. The Supreme Court repeatedly intervened to fairly establish the right to education when it was denied. In Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, the Supreme Court upheld the right to education as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution and noted that a citizen’s right to education cannot be denied by imposing an excessive capitation fee. Following suit, the Supreme Court in Unni Krishnan v. State of Tamil Nadu upheld this principle and added that every person is entitled to free education up until the age of 14, after which it is contingent upon the State’s capacity, growth, and economic standing. The Constitution was modified and three additional provisions—Articles 21A, 45, and 51A—were added in response to these rulings. The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six and fourteen in a way that the State may, by legislation, designate, according to Article 21A.Article 45 stipulates that the State would make an effort to offer early childhood care and education to every child until they finish the age of sixty-two. all children receive early childhood care and education up until the age of six.” Who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years” is stated in Article 51A. The aforementioned provisions make it abundantly evident that the state, in conjunction with the child’s parents or guardians, has a duty to provide early childhood care for children under six years old and free education up until the age of fourteen. The Supreme Court in Avinash Melhrotrav’s case, the Union of India, and other.


Given that villages make up the majority of India, it is important that the state educates all children equally, regardless of their social or economic background .Education may be provided by non-state organisations or private sector at a high cost, making it difficult for children from underprivileged backgrounds to access. Even at the fundamental or elementary level, children in rural places cannot receive a proper education due to a lack of appropriate facilities and committed, trained teachers. Due to its inability to modernise public schools and colleges with state funding, the government was unable to compete with private organisations that had strong infrastructure and a committed staff of professionals who worked to increase educational standards. Universal Elementary Education is mandated by the National Policy on Education of 1986, but its implementation has been hampered by the commercialization and upgrading of the education sector. The anticipated pace of growth was not met by the RTE, 2009. It is also important to remember that a child’s entire development must be attended to before considering high-quality education. A child’s development requires more than just literacy; they also require a comprehensive, high-quality education that addresses their needs. Because constitutional provisions on education have not been effectively implemented through National Education Policies and RTE: For many people, especially the children from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, schooling has become a fantasy. Since the right to education is a fundamental human right, the state must aggressively enforce it to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and without regard to socioeconomic status.

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