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How far has India come In guaranteeing education?

Right to Education Act

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which aims to provide compulsory schooling to all children in the 6-14 age group, came into force on April 1, 2010. Section 6 of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act states that the local authority and the appropriate government shall ensure that there is a school in every neighborhood within a period of 3 years from the commencement of the Act. Section 19 of the Act states that where a school, established before the commencement of the Act, does not fulfill the norms and standards specified in the schedule, it shall do so within a period of 3 years from the commencement of the Act. This means, that by 31st March 2013:

  • The local authority and the appropriate government shall ensure that there is a school in every neighborhood.
  • Every school must fulfill the norms and standards specified in the schedule of the Act. These norms and standards include:
    • Pupil Teacher Ratio norms (These vary with school type, whether primary or upper primary, and number of children enrolled);
    • All-weather building;
    • At least one classroom for every teacher;
    • Barrier free access;
    • Office-cum-store-room-cum-Head teacher’s room;
    • Separate toilets for boys and girls;
    • Safe and adequate drinking water facility for all children;
    • Arrangements for securing the school building by boundary wall or fencing;
    • Kitchen shed where mid day meal is cooked in the school;
    • Library providing newspaper, magazines and books on all subjects, including story books;
    • Teaching learning equipment to be provided to every class, as required;
    • Play material, games and sports equipment to be provided to every class, as required

It has been clarified by the Central Government, through a guideline dated 26 October 2012, that it is not necessary to have a playground within school premises.
However, schools must provide alternative arrangements in nearby parks for children to play outdoor games and other physical activities.

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