The Right to Education Act (RTE) is enacted to make the right to education a fundamental right in the country. It marks a watershed in the Indian education system and that is why it is essential legislation. In August 2009, Parliament passed the act, and came into force in 2010. Following this, India became one of the 135 countries that have made education a fundamental right of every child.

Under Article 21 A of the 86th Constitutional Amendment (2002) in the Indian Constitution, 

“The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State may by law determine.”

Aims and Objectives of RTE (2009)

The main aims and objectives of RTE (2009) are as follows:

Free Education

2RTE aims to offer free and compulsory education to children until the completion of their elementary education. The word ‘free’ implies that no fee is payable by the child which may prevent him/her from completing education.

Compulsory Education

As per the Act, ‘compulsory education’ refers to an obligation on the government’s part to ensure the enrolment, attendance, and completion of elementary education.

Admission of Children

The Act aims to offer means and resources for the enrolment of a non-admitted child to a class of his/her appropriate age.

Share of Financial Burden

It aims to protect the child’s education by reminding the duties of respective governments, the local authorities, and parents. It fosters the share of the financial burden between the central and state governments.

Better Infrastructure

Based on the standards and norms for Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTR), it aims to improve the infrastructure and buildings, working days of the school for the students and teachers.

Avoid Inequality

It aims to remove the urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings through the prohibition of teachers’ employment for non-educational work, apart from census, elections, and disaster relief work.

Trained Teachers

The Act aims to appoint teachers who are appropriately trained and qualified.

Reduce Harassment

The Act aims to remove mental harassment and physical punishment through the prohibition of the same.

Features of RTE (2009)

The main features of RTE (2009) are as follows:

Free and Compulsory Education

Under Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy, the Constitution states “The state shall endeavor to provide within ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.”

Language Safeguards

As per Article 29(1) of the Indian Constitution, “Any section of the citizen, residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.”

Equality of Opportunity in Educational Institutions

According to Article 29(1), “No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.”

Women’s Education

RTE facilitates the development and growth of Women’s Education. Education of the girls is regarded with more importance than that of the boys.

Universalization of Education

RTE facilitates the inclusion of all children and promotes their education. It gives universal access to education up to a certain age.

The Act envisages that the academic curriculum must be developed according to the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution. It should foster the all-round development of the child. The educational system must be both child-centric and child-friendly.