As per a source in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Centre is thinking for a proposal to extend free and compulsory education up to 12th standard.
As per the existing provision students up to Class 8 are entitled to free and compulsory education. According to the law framed in 2009, compulsory education means government to provide free elementary education to every child in the age group of six to fourteen.
Free education means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee that may prevent the student from pursuing and completing elementary education. This Act has been in force since April 2010, but the state governments feel it has failed to achieve its goal as still large number of students is out of it.
According to Professor Janaki Rajan, a teacher in Jamia Milia Islamia, students do not find education till Class 8 beneficial for them it hardly makes them employable. For any job, the minimum qualification required is often Class 10 passed and education till Class 8 leaves them nowhere.
And the goal of Right to Education is about giving equal opportunity to everyone, but there is hardly any future for the poor students after Class 8 as there is no responsibility taken by the government of them as they are above 14 years of age.
As per a central government study, there were 8, 65,441 children out of schools in 2014-15 only in Uttar Pradesh. Delhi High Court lawyer Ashok Agarwal, who is also the national president of All India Parents Association, gives a different reason for why the RTE has failed.
He said that as per the RTE Act, the unaided private schools have to reserve 25 percent of seats for free education. And after passing out Class 8, these students transfer themselves to government school as they no longer receive free education and in these schools, they face a serious problem in adjusting themselves.
The All India Parents Association, since 2017, has been demanding an extension of the right to education up to Class 12. Recently, the ministry has informed it in a written communication that their demand is in the consideration.
As per the communication dated 24 January, it is informed that the proposal is under consideration of this ministry and any decision taken in this regard would be intimated, once it is examined thoroughly.
By: Aishwarya Sharma