13th Apr 2019 11:04:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Education, particularly elementary education has been an area of serious challenge for the country since independence, which proportionally became severe since the growth of population showed no signs of decline. Taking into aspect all the practicalities of the situation, a need for legislative support for tackling this challenge was badly felt. Finally in 2009  the country achieved a historic milestone when Article 21A and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 became operative. It started rolling from 1st April 2010 and has just completed nine years this April. But at this juncture, tens of thousands of first batch of economic quota students studying free of cost in private schools under the tutelage of RTE Act who have just completed Class VIII will now be facing a new problem. It is the threat of being taken off rolls when new 2019-2020 academic session starts.
RTE Act, with the central objectives of percolating equality and social justice through all strata of population, is no doubt a momentous step forward for universalizing elementary education in the country by ensuring free and compulsory elementary education for the children in age group of 6-14 years. By ‘compulsory education’ it implied that there will be obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education to every child and by ‘free’ it meant that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses for pursuing and completing elementary education. Significantly, private and unaided schools was also brought under the ambit of the act making them obligatory to admit children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in Class I, to the extent of 25 per cent of the strength of that class.
And the complexity has now just picked momentum since the legal guarantee of free and compulsory education is limited till class VIII only. There is no way the private schools can now be compelled and expectedly they have asked their quota pupils who have completed Class VIII to start paying  full fees from the upcoming session or leave. It’s a revisit of those difficult financial times for parents who hitherto have enjoyed a period respite under the protection of a legal umbrella.
Whether the RTE has achieved its objectives or failed are debatable issues. But the immediate duty in hand is to rescue these children who are now on the brink of witnessing an abrupt end of their educational journey by finding a way out of sustaining the quota till class XII.
The country has shown remarkable calibre in mitigating various predicaments in past. With genuine will applied, a way shouldn’t be that tough to arrive here also.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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