Back to: Contemporary India and Education – Unit 3
Regarding the common school system, several policies have emerged such as the National Education Policy (1986) and the Right to Education (2009). During the Budget session in 1986, the Parliament of India discussed and adopted the “National Policy on Education 1986.” This program was supervised by prominent Central and State government educationalists, experts, and senior representatives. 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.
The Idea of a Common School System In India
As per the National Education Policy (1986), the common school system should be structured in the following manner.
Provision of Equal Opportunities
The NPE demands that equal opportunities should be provided to all both in terms of access and success.
Emphasis On Women
Women’s education should be facilitated and they should be imparted technical, professional, and vocational education.
Emphasis on Backward Classes
Education of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes should be paid equal attention.
Adequate learning resources and materials must be provided in inaccessible areas.
Emphasis On Minority Communities
The establishment and setting up of educational institutes by minority communities should be allowed.
Education of handicapped children
Handicapped children must have feasible access to education and special schools with residential facilities must be set up.
Correspondence education must be offered to facilitate equal opportunities. It will make education accessible and convenient for those who cannot attend regular classes.
As per the RTE (2009), the common school system should be structured in the following manner.
RTE 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.
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 financial burden between the central and state governments.
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.
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.
The Act aims to appoint teachers who are appropriately trained and qualified.
The Act aims to remove mental harassment and physical punishment through the prohibition of the same.
Several commissions and policies have been created to establish a good quality common school system in India but these two enactments have been the most impactful to date.