Effective implementation of RTE ACT, 2009: A Socio-Legal Analysis: Akriti Gupta & Amarjeet Ranjan


 Author: *Akriti Gupta

Faculty Associate, Faculty of Law, The ICFAI University, Jharkhand.

Co- Author: **Amarjeet Ranjan

Faculty Associate, Faculty of Law, The ICFAI University, Jharkhand.

ISSN: 2582-3655


A citizen of a country is the outcome of a structured economy and potent education system of country and the kind of country that is able to provide for education for all the stratum of society, such a country, in my opinion, may transcend all the boundaries of a broken system that fatally affects our country in the future.

Art 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that – Everyone has the Right to Education which shall be free at least in the elementary and fundamental stages in which elementary education shall be made mandatory. It also emphasizes on the point that parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.[1]

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, popularly known as the Right to Education Act (RTE), was enacted on 4 August 2009 by the Parliament of India. It describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution[2] in the 86th Amendment of the Constitution.  Article 41 of the Constitution delivers that “The States shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to education.”[3]

Article 45 delivers that “The State shall endeavor to provide education for all children up the age of six years.” [4]

Furthermore, Article 46 provides directive principles to promote the educational interests of the weaker section of the people, in particular the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[5]

The Act came into force in India on 1 April 2010, making India one of the 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child.[6]

In general, a “child belonging to disadvantaged groups” refers to “a child belonging to the Scheduled Caste, the Scheduled Tribe, the socially and educationally backward class or such other group having disadvantage owing to social, cultural, economic, geographical, linguistic, gender or such other fact, as may be specified by the appropriate Government, by notification”.[7]

Additionally, a child belonging to “weaker section” of the society refers to “a child belonging to such parent or guardian whose annual income is lower than the minimum limit specified by the appropriate Government, by notification” (RTE Act, 2009, Section 2, Clause (e)).[8]

The Act benefits every child between the ages of 6 and 14 by making education a fundamental right. It also specifies minimum norms in elementary schools. This requires all private schools to reserve 25% of seats for children belonging to economically weaker sections in their neighborhood and  give admission from Class I onwards. If such schools provide pre-school education, then these rules are to be applied to the pre-school section as well.[9] The State Government and/or Local Authority will be responsible for deciding the area or limits of the neighborhood for each school.[10]According to the existing RTE Rules (2010), a primary school is tracked down within 1km of each neighborhood and an upper primary school is tracked down within 3km.[11]Though most states have identified these limits, there are some inter-state variations too. In Himanchal Pradesh there should be minimum 25 students between 6- 11 years, admitted in the school and primary school must be located within 1.5 km. In Madhya Pradesh no provision for distance for primary school must be satisfied.[12]

In India, a child is admitted in to private schools based on their economic status or caste based reservations.[13] An implementation of this Act prohibits all unrecognized schools from practice. Apart from that, it makes provisions for no donation or capitation fees, and no interview of the child or parent for admission. The Act also provides a child the right to complete elementary education, and that they shall not be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until they complete their elementary education. Apart from that, a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them at par with students of the same age is also present.[14]

The RTE Act requires surveys that help in monitoring all neighborhoods, identifying children who require education and setting up facilities to provide it. An observation of Sam Carlson, the World Bank education specialist for India, states: “The RTE Act is the first legislation in the world that puts the responsibility of ensuring enrolment, attendance and completion on the Government. It is the parents’ responsibility to send the children to schools in the US and other countries.”[15]

The Persons with Disabilities Act gives the Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age. Many other provisions regarding improvement of school infrastructure, teacher-student ratio and number of faculties are also made in the Act.

Since education is a concurrent issue in the Indian constitution, both Center and states can legislate on the issue. This Act lays down specific responsibilities on the Center, state and local bodies for its implementation. The states have been yelling about their lack of financial capacity, which prohibits them from delivering education of appropriate standard in all the schools needed for universal education. [16]This makes the Central government, which collects most of the revenue, subsidize the states. Hence this

research is conducted to see the effective implementation of the Act by conducting a survey to the guardians to find out about their knowledge of the Act.


1.     Shailey Tucker and Gayatri Sahgal, 25% Reservation under the RTE: Unpacking the Rules in PAISA States:

The author in this article gives a brief review of the existing Rules in six states. Even though all State Rules outline provision of 25% reservation for children in all private-unaided schools, the definition of the category of EWS, their explicit entitlements and reimbursement policies tend to vary across states. Although we expect some inter-state differences, which indeed is a consequence of being in a federal system, the varying levels of the enunciation of these specific provisions give root to ambiguity in the implementation of these at the state level. For instance, let us look into the definition of a neighborhood. While some states have explicitly defined its meaning, other states like Madhya Pradesh have only vaguely described its meaning. This leaves the definition of the area from which EWS children are to be selected open to interpretation. Looking into the reimbursement policies too, some states have extensively detailed the basis for calculation, the process of reimbursement and the people involved in this process. Whereas, several other states (e.g., Bihar, Maharashtra, HP) have limited their Rules to only describing the procedure necessary in calculating per-child expenditure. Therefore, in these states where the process for reimbursement is not clearly spelled out, the way in which such complicated provisions are to be implemented on the ground remains indistinct. Apart from that, it is equally important for members of civil society to put pressure and demand for clarity in the guidelines describing the implementation of these policies.

2.   Sanchayan Bhattacharjee, Ten years of RTE Act: Revisiting achievements and examining gaps

The author here asserts that the RTE Act should now move beyond “easy to measure” metrics and focus on the quality of learning. Moreover, it is observed that the states across India have varying requirements, due to which the law must work towards increasing the scope for decentralization. The brief assesses the RTE Act’s successes while highlighting the challenges confronted by it. The challenges are: efficiently implementing the 25% reservation system; the implementation of the no-detention policy; the unreasonably strict input norms; and the need to include early childhood care and education within the scope of the Act. The brief also lists recommendations, required at both the systemic and policy levels. These recommendations concern on addressing these challenges in the next iteration of the Act.

3.   “Effectiveness of Instructional Strategy on Computer Literacy among Elementary School Students”:

The study, as carried out, by DR. T. Pradeep aims to find out the effectiveness of Instructional strategy on computer literacy among elementary school students. The findings disclosed that the Pre-Computer Literacy of children is not significantly dependent on the Instructional Strategy or Gender and their interaction when considered to be as a covariate. But there is a significant effect of Instructional strategy, Intelligence, and gender on the computer literacy of the students. There is a significant effect of Instructional Strategy, Type of school and their interaction on computer literacy of students by considering Pre-Computer Literacy as a covariate. There is a significant effect of Types of school on Computer literacy of the students.

  • “Contributors.” The Elementary School Journal:

The present research investigates the challenges of the Right to Education Act, 2009 among MCP School Teachers of Delhi. Recent reform in the field of elementary education is The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Article 21 A was added as the new fundamental right in 2002 by the 86th amendment. This Act, which was passed by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, received the consent of the President on August 26, 2009. “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” came into effect on April 1, 2010. This present research is a descriptive survey, in which the data was collected from 120 in-service teachers of the Municipal Corporation Schools of Delhi. For the survey, a questionnaire comprising of open-ended questions was prepared to study the views, challenges and suggestions of the teachers regarding the RTE Act. The data thus collected was tabulated systematically and analyzed qualitatively. The major finding of the study shows that there is a wide gap between policy interventions and how it is actually understood and implemented on the field.

5. A. Hari Krishna1 , M. Ravi Sekhar , K. Ravi Teja & S. M. Reddy, Enrolment in Elementary Education with Reference to Right to Education Act 2009: An Empirical Analysis of Selected States of India during 2004-05 to 2015-16

The present study inspects elementary education in terms of enrolment with reference to the Right to Education Act 2009. The study is carried out based on the secondary data obtained from the annual report of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA). The time period involved in this study spans  12 years – from 2004-05 to 2015-16. It is divided into 2 sub-periods with reference to the Right to Education Act 2009 i.e., before RTE Act (2004-05 to 2009-10) and After RTE Act (2010-11 to 2015-16). The study considers all states and union territories of India as population and 17 states are chosen as sample states. The results comprised of Annual Average Growth Rates, Mean and Standard Deviation as calculated from the study. Additionally, three statistical tests are also employed to test the statistical significance of variations in enrolment across the selected states. The result discloses the average growth of enrolment being better in the pre-RTE Act period than the post-RTE Act period. The estimated average growth and distribution of enrolment during pre-RTE Act differ significantly from that of the post-RTE Act and show a better trend during pre RTE Act. This shows that the implementation of the RTE Act did not contribute in declaiming enrolment in government and private schools. The estimated average growth and distribution of girls’ enrolment during the pre-RTE Act also differ significantly from that of the post-RTE Act. The average growth of girls’ enrolment is positive during the pre-RTE Act, and more during the post-RTE Act. Thus, the implementation of RTE Act has a positive impact in the growth of girls’ enrolment.


The primary objective of RTE Act was to give free and obligatory instruction to every one of the offspring of the age 6 to 14 years. Right to Education Act has done a big change in the lives of Indian Children, especially for economically backward family. Enactment of the legislation doesn’t necessarily mean the proper implementation unless the guardian is made aware of the propositions through proper orientation or self-awareness hence this survey is conducted to know the knowledge and importance of the guardian of the children for better implementation.


  • Awareness of the RTE Act, 2009 legislation amongst the guardian would result in better implementation of the RTE Act, 2009.
  • Due to the high literacy rate of West Bengal, the Implementation of the Act would be better.


  1. The mindfulness among guardians in regards to the RTE Act, (2009)
  2. Attain people’s awareness concerning the significance of education.
  3. To recognize specific provisions for basic education which can be mentioned in the light of the Indian Constitution.

4. To know the role played by local Governments in implementing RTE ACT 2009.4.

  • To observe the change in the condition of the children belonging to disadvantaged groups in the light of RTE Act, 2009
  • To observe the change in the condition of the children belonging to weaker section in the light of RTE Act, 2009


As far as the present study is concerned, the Descriptive Survey Method of educational research is employed. Survey concerns with the conditions that exist, an opinion that is held and forms that are going on. The difficulty, utilization, recognition, and failure of RTE can only be studied by questioning among the common public. It includes an obviously characterized issue and positive targets. In it the aptitude and creative arranging, elucidation and examination of the information accumulated and able reporting of the discovered facts through the empirical method.


For this purpose, the data is collected for an empirical study. The procedure for data collection is manual. This is achieved by opportunity sampling which falls under non-probability sampling. This method assists in terms of its easy reachability to the population and collection of data.

Sampling Size:

The population size is 5,519,145 approximately in Hooghly district of West Bengal area. There are 19 blocks in the district.[17] The sampling size is restricted to 100 houses. The reason for the utilization of empirical study is to acquire primary data, since the data required are not readily obtainable. The primary reason for limiting the population size to 100 people is solely due to the time constraints on the paper.

The population of 100 was distributed amongst various blocks and districts.

Bankura1 1
Barasat 11
Bhadreshwar 22
Chanditala1 1
Dankuni1 1
Hindmotor1 1
Hoogly1 1
Konnagar 11
Rishra2 2
Grand Total5842100

Analysis of the survey conducted:

According to the sample size the information about 100 students were collected which will be referred to as population henceforth. Out of the total data collected from the Hooghly district, Bankura district and Kolkata in West Bengal. There were 58 female candidates and 42 male candidates spread across the three districts out of which maximum population was found to be from Srirampur followed by Kolkata. The gender percentage comes down to 57.43% for females and 42.57% male. Age of the population varied from 10-19 years approx. Fig 1.1 is the actual representation of the average age of the student district and block.

 Average Age of the Population

PLACEAverage age

Fig. 1.1

The guardians were asked about the population’s birth certificate as the Act provides that to be the age proof of the children seeking admission, none of them had their birth certificates with them for varied reasons not asked for. There were other questions to find out whether any student ever had to drop out of the school and if answered in the affirmation they were asked for varied reasons for the drop out so none of them claimed to have had to drop out for school. For inquiring about the fact that if schools were providing special assistance to any kid who is disabled such questions were also included in the questionnaire circulated. All the children included in the survey were fit and were not disabled hence this provision was not of any use to them.

In the survey to know how many people actually belonged to the economically weaker section or disadvantaged section or anyone who for whatsoever reason cannot afford the elementary education question 8 was asked to know the economic status of the people and if at all they belonged to this category then are they sending their kids to school or if they are aware about the RTE Act, 2009. The analysis suggests 47% of them actually belonged to the General Category followed by 32% other backward class, 12% schedule tribe and 9% schedule caste. To analyze this quite a population belonged to the disadvantaged section in the population.

According to the gathered information, 81% of the population belonged to the below poverty line criteria and 19% of them were above the BPL index.

40 children from the population were going to primary schools, 24 were going to secondary schools and 37 were going to higher secondary school. In the sample all of them were attending schools and rightly according to the age as no one had any backlogs or drop out history.

To know more about the accuracy of the information held by the guardians of the population basic provisions of the Act were asked through multiple-choice questions. The first question regarding this aspect was “Whether the child or parent is required to pay any fee to the school for elementary education?” And the response is shown in the chart given above in Fig. 1.5. Where 59.7% of the guardians gave an accurate answer to the question as “NO”, whereas 16.4% said “YES” and were misinformed. So, 23.9% of the respondent were unsure about this provision and chose to mark “MAYBE”. Considering the ratio the majority of the population was right about their idea of the provision.

The next question asked to them was “Can school deny admission without age proof?” so as we can see 65.7% of them stated “NO” as their answer and 34.3% said “YES”. The majority of the population was right in their knowledge about the Act. Next question was posed in front of the stakeholders what was their source of awareness about the Act? The survey reported that their source of information was from the following sources.

Television 43%, Newspaper 14%, Govt. Program 37% and 6% were unaware of the Act.


This assignment was made in order to analyse the effective implementation of the concerned Act, through the survey method in a limited area in West Bengal. As per the data collected the statistical hypothesis was quite satisfactory. The area had 100 % literacy rate and the population was aware of the provisions hence as it can be seen that RTE Act, was well implemented in this area.

The only drawback was lacking birth certificates amongst the population but that was not a matter of concern as the Act suggests without any certificates to the student are eligible to get elementary education. As far as the data regarding suggestions and policy implementation is concerned they were mostly about improving the quality of the education and more awareness about the Act in the rural areas. There were suggestions for increasing the age limit to 18 years and allotting more budget to the education department so that more schools can be built up in the neighborhood. Periodic checks were also asked for, few schools if not checked take advantage of the unaware public.

Over 135 countries in the world have constitutional facilities for free and non-discriminatory education for all. The much-anticipated Right to Education (RTE) Act, passed by the parliament of India, is expected to play an important role in achieving a general and comprehensive elementary education in India. It is the youth and civil society of India who should come forward and open out the usefulness of education to illiterate parents who are unable to value the importance of education in limiting the social evils. Social inequalities and monopolization by any group should not be authorized at any cost. A free-of-cost education up to a certain age must be accessible to all. The right to education is rudimentary. India, accompanied by other countries of the world should also put sincere efforts to make this goal a real success.


  1. Section 2(e) of the RTE Act, 2009
  2. Section 12 (1)(c) of the RTE Act, 2009, https://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/upload_document/rte.pdf
  3. Section 6 of the RTE Act,2009
  4. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 (RTE Rules), Rule 6
  5. Shailey Tucker and Gayatri Sahgal, 25% Reservation under the RTE: Unpacking the Rules in PAISA States, AI Policy Briefs( June 2012)
  6. Sanchayan Bhattacharjee, Ten years of RTE act: Revisiting achievements and examining gaps, ORF Issue Brief No. 304, August 2019, Observer Research Foundation.
  7. “Contributors.” The Elementary School Journal, vol. 111, no. 4, 2011, pp. 662–662. Kumar, Dr T. Pradeep, et al. “Effectiveness of Instructional Strategy on Computer
  8. Literacy Among Elementary School Students.” Indian Journal of Applied Research, vol.3, no. 4, 2011, pp. 117–19.
  • Singh, Shalini. “Awareness in Elementary School Teachers of Government and Public Schools about Right to Education Act 2009.” Journal of Teacher Education and Research, vol. 11, no. 2, 2016, p. 93.
  1. West Bengal Library Department, Department of Mass Education Extension & Library Services                          Government            of             West             Bengal             (2018), http://www.wbpublibnet.gov.in/node/325 (last visited Sept 18, 2019).
  1. Right to Education.in (2010), http://righttoeducation.in/about ((last visited Sept 18, 2019).

QUESTIONNAIRE for the guardians of the children about awareness of Right to Education Act, 2009:


This questionnaire is prepared to access the knowledge of the players of the very impactful Act passed by the government in respect to know the awareness of such imparts in implementing the right to education of the children provided under the said legislation. The information provided herein shall be kept confidential and be used strictly for the research purpose. The questionnaire shall be answered in writing or through tick marks.

Akriti Gupta Ph.D Scholar,

National Law University, Jodhpur

General Information:

(1) Name: …………………………………………………………………….

  • Gender: Male    / Female  / Others
  • Age in Years: 21-30 years  / 31-40 Years    / 41-50 Years

(4) Name of the District…………………………………………….Ward……………………………..

(5) Contact no.: …………………………………………………………..

  • No. of children: …….
  • Gender of kids: …….
  • Category: SC / ST / OBC/ GEN ………..
  • School aided by: Government  / Private /   /Convent   / others

(10) Name of the School: ………………………………………….

Specific Information

  1. Are you aware about the RTE Act 2009? : ……. (1 for Yes / 2 for No)
  • If yes, specify the sources from which you came to know? ……..

(1) School (2) Newspaper /TV (3) Panchayat office (4) any other specify

  • Whether the child or parent is required to pay any fee to the school for elementary education?

(1 for Yes / 2 for No/3 for maybe)

  • Can school deny admission without age proof? ……..

(1 for Yes / 2 for No)

  • For which age group of children the RTE Act, 2009 is applicable? (Tick mark) 1) 1-6 years 2) 6-14 3) 6-18 4) None 5) Not known
    • If yes, specify the sources from which you came to know? ……..

(1) School (2) Newspaper /TV (3) Panchayat office (4) any other specify

  • For which age group of children the RTE Act, 2009 is applicable?

(1) 6-14 years (2) 1-6years (3) 6-18years (4) None of these

  • Does the child have a birth certificate? Yes/No
  • Do you fall under the category of Below Poverty Line? Yes/No
  1. Is there any disabled child in the house? Yes/No
  1. If yes, what kind of disability he is suffering from?


  1. If yes, does he get any assistance or special training from school?


  1. Has the child ever dropped out of school? Yes/No (If yes state the reason)


  1. Is there any kid who never went to school? Yes/No (If yes state the reason)
    1. Any changes or amendments suggested?




[1] A. Hari Krishna, M. Ravi Sekhar, K. Ravi Teja & S. M. Reddy, Enrolment in Elementary Education with Reference to Right to Education Act 2009: An Empirical Analysis of Selected States of India during 2004-05 to 2015-16, IOSR Journal Of  Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS) Volume 22, Issue 11, Ver. 10 (November. 2017) PP 43-51 e-ISSN: 2279-0837, p-ISSN: 2279-0845.

[2] Article 21A, The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002

[3] Prof. M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, Fifth Edition.2005

[4] Id

[5] Id at 2

[6] “Contributors.” The Elementary School Journal, vol. 111, no.4 (2011) pp. 662–662

[7] Section 2(d) of the RTE Act, 2009

[8] Section 2(e) of the RTE Act, 2009

[9] Section 12 (1)(c) of the RTE Act, 2009


[10] Section 6 of the RTE Act,2009

[11] Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 (RTE Rules), Rule 6

[12] Shailey Tucker and Gayatri Sahgal, 25% Reservation under the RTE: Unpacking the Rules in PAISA States, AI Policy Briefs( June 2012)

[13] Id

[14]Sanchayan Bhattacharjee, Ten years of RTE act: Revisiting achievements and examining gaps, ORF Issue  Brief No. 304,  August 2019, Observer Research Foundation.

[15] Id at 10

[16] Kumar, Dr T. Pradeep, et al. “Effectiveness of Instructional Strategy on Computer Literacy among Elementary School Students.” Indian Journal of Applied Research, vol. 3, no. 4(2011)( pp. 117–19)

[17] District census, available at: https://www.census2011.co.in/

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