The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) came into effect on April 1, 2010. Most people know that the Act is important, but otherwise understand very litle of what it says. To understand it really requires some background knowledge which this article attempts by providing a historical narrative, an outline of its key features, and a description of its serious flaws. It then suggests recommendations to address these flaws. Our assessment is that the RTE is a mixed bag, with some good and some really bad ideas.
Right to Education Act
The `Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009' (RTE Act) came into effect today, with much fanfare and an address by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In understanding the debates about this Act, a little background knowledge is required. Hence, in this self-contained 1500-word blog post, I start with a historical narrative, outline key features of the Act, describe its serious flaws, and suggest ways to address them.
Today India creates the world's largest school voucher program. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 comes into force, meaning that from the start of the next school year, 25% of all recognized private schools must admit poor and marginalized students between the ages of six and 14—and government will pay for their tuition.
Heard of model rules? No? When an Act is passed in Parliament, there may still be vague areas that need closer attention. Model rules are written to help implement the Act. But the rules can never be better cooked than the original law was when poured into the parliamentary pressure cooker. No creative legislative masala can help cover up half-baked khana and half-thought laws. So it is with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and its model rules.