Right to Education is an imperative and extremely substantial right for every citizen in the country, regardless of their age. It is a fundamental right that needs to be accessible, for the growth of a country and development of the economy. Providing constitutional rights to education will essentially help improve the literacy rate, making India the most literate country. Apart from enhancing the literacy rate, education has tremendous potential in turning citizens into intellectual scholars, who can introduce policies and schemes to improve the unfortunate conditions prevailing, such as poverty, famine or even environmental degradation, as a result of global warming. With each and every country, across the world, taking extreme measures towards modernization, education is the basic fundamental step to improve the living conditions of the country.
It is pertinent to note that providing education and skills with all is a long, gradual and slow process. It may take more years to establish a perfect literacy rate, especially in a country like India. However, with the correct absolute measures, it is consequential to establish a proper system of education, in order to make the country, more affluent and prosperous.
Education is a life-long investment and can yield the finest results and bring out the best of the abilities of every citizen, who can ultimately work to the best of their potential and work efficiently. The most unfortunate part about this entire scenario, regarding the right to education, is that it is used more as a political tool for vote bank politics. Apart from the political element, that has been attached to providing education to all, the entire education system is weak and broken. It is devoid of rules and policies that lack implementation, resulting in disorderliness and an inefficient classification of education.
Regarding this, introducing a fundamental right which blatantly states ‘right to an education’ is vague and rather ambiguous. There needs to be a more comprehensive educational system that caters to the educational needs of citizens of different age groups. There needs to be a standard level of education, provided to all by the Government.
The Right to Education Act was recently passed by the Parliament of India in 2009, which mandates free and compulsory education for children between 6 years and 14 years of age. This has been elaborately defined under Article 21(A) of the Constitution. It is a constitutional amendment which has made a substantial improvement and its statistics show an increasing success rate in the enrolment of children of the particular age group.
While some provisions have failed due to implementation hurdles, others struggle due to a lack of coordination and the paucity of funds or delay in allocation. Moreover, the Act has since undergone certain amendments that tend to run contrary to the law’s spirit (Bhattacharjee, 2019).
There are various problems that have arisen, post-RTE act. This includes the increase in the enrolment of the total number of children because of the uncontrolled rise in the population, in India. There is a clear-cut lack of coordination between the State Governments and the Educational institutions. Apart from that, there has been no focus on the infrastructure. The children are forced to study under the ambit of poor infrastructure and improper facilities. They barely have sufficient supplies and are struggling to cope up with the unclear Act that supposedly aims to provide free and noteworthy education.
It is essential to overcome the ambiguities in the policies and the penultimate goal is to provide the required quality of education. Even though the purpose of this Act is to make Education accessible to children, one of the leading causes of poverty in India is the low-literacy rate, caused because of the dearth of quality level education due to the limited number of schools available and its unreachability, particularly in rural areas where women and children are forced to walk miles for accessing even the basic amenities such as water.
In India, in addition to the lack of implementation of the RTE Act, the lack of awareness about the significance of education, many inhabitants in the villages and rural area believe that it is more vital to work in fields and factories, to earn wages, rather than benefitting from education as it does not assure any benefits, in the long run. A raging thought is also prevalent in the mindset of these citizens, who believe that girls are not destined for education. They are responsible for the household and maintenance of their families. It is considered to be preposterous and absolutely absurd to send girls to acquire education and enhance skills for training. Bearing in mind the pros of providing education to all and the cons of low literacy rate in countries, it is imperative to build an established structure inclusive of all educational policies and schemes.
The ruling Government needs to ensure that the schemes are being executed with the utmost importance. There needs to be more awareness regarding the importance of education. This will help develop alertness in the minds of those who oppose education, citing it as a ‘western’ concept. Though there are existing laws, governed by the Constitution, there seems to hardly be any change in the overall literacy rate of the country altogether.
Kerala continues to be the most literate state with a rate of 93.91% while the rate in Bihar is 63.82% because of the aforementioned dominant problems. There needs to be an adequate balance and State Governments need to step up and make education, an urgency instead of indulging in vote bank politics, corruption and lackadaisical behaviour.