Report submitted by India 2nd cycle

The national report mentions the question of education several times, and some sections are specially dedicated to it. Section V, «Economic, social and cultural rights», contains one chapter called «Right of cchildren to free and compulsory education»(points 39 to 42). Another section is called «Human rights education» (117)

10. [...]  In 2009, the Right to Education Act was enacted, which introduced a new fundamental right for free and compulsory education of children in a neighbourhood school;

B. Right of children to free and compulsory education

39. The right to education is now guaranteed under Article 21-A as a part of the right to live with dignity. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 came into effect from April 1, 2010. It makes it mandatory for every child between the ages of 6-14 to be provided free and compulsory education by the State. It is a justiciable right up to 8 years of elementary education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his/her neighbourhood. The Act has special provisions for girl child education, including out of school girl children. It further mandates the private schools to ensure at least 25% of its seats are available for marginalised households. The implementation of RTE Act is a shared responsibility of both the central and the state governments and the total expenditure managed by the centre-state ratio of 68:32.

40. The Act has considerable implications for the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is Government’s flagship programme for achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner. SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments and address the needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations. The vision, strategy and norms under SSA are being harmonised with the RTE Act of 2009 mandate. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 have been formulated and a National Advisory Council was set-up in 2010 to advise on implementation in an effective manner.

41. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has positively impacted the access and retention in schools and availability of teachers. SSA has ensured almost universal access to primary education and provides special focus on education of girls. The following achievements are worth mentioning:

  • Rural habitations with access to primary school increased from 87 per cent in 2002 to 99 per cent in 2008, and that of upper primary school from 78 per cent to 92 per cent during the same period;
  • 99% of the rural population has a primary school within 1 km;
  • An independent survey in 2010 shows that for age group 6-14 years in rural India, the percentage of children who are not enrolled in school has dropped from 6.6% in 2005 to 3.5% in 2010;
  • Proportion of girls in the age group 11-14 years who were out of school has declined from 11.2% in 2005 to 5.9% in 2010;
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at the primary level improved from 96.3 in 2001-02 to 114.37 in 2008-09, that for upper primary from 60.2 to 76.23;
  • Gender gap in enrolment at the elementary level impressively declined from 17 to 7 percentage points. Gender Parity Index has appreciably improved.

    42. Further, for increased access to quality secondary education with equity, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) was launched in March 2009.

67. [...] The Commission constituted an Expert Group in 2009 with eminent persons for advice NCPCR’s role in monitoring children’s right to education. NCPCR has also involved civil society in the Social Audit of the RTE to strengthen the process of performance and delivery.

72. [...] The ICDS, launched in 1975, is a comprehensive programme addressing the health, nutrition and preschool needs of children under six. It provides a package of services comprising of supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, nutrition & health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services [...].

73. The Pre-School Education (PSE) component of the ICDS Scheme is being strengthened to ensure universalisation of early childhood education and preparation of children, particularly those belonging to socially disadvantaged groups, for formal schooling. The beneficiaries under PSE have increased from 21.4 million in 2004-05 to 33 million in 2007-08 and further to 35 million by December 2010.

80. The coverage of this immensely popular and effective Mid-Day Meals Scheme for children in schools, which satisfies both ‘hunger’ and ‘education,’ has been extended even further in August 2009 and now covers all children studying in Classes I-VIII in Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools and Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative and Innovative Education centres supported under SSA, including Madarasas and Maqtabs as well as children under National Child Labour Projects.

94. In order to incentivise the birth of a girl child and encourage families to place a premium on her education and development, a number of States are implementing Conditional Cash Transfer schemes. Government is also implementing a similar scheme – ‘Dhanalakshmi’, launched in March, 2008, on a pilot basis. For nutrition and skill development of adolescent girls, a pilot scheme ‘Sabla’ has been launched in 200 districts.

Points 105 and 108 deal with the issue of castes.

105. [...] A programme of ‘compensatory discrimination’ reserves 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in employment, education and a range of areas. Quota for the OBCs has also been earmarked [...].

108. Improving the educational status of SCs, especially of women and girl children in
this category is one of the main priorities. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of postmatric Scholarships to SC students, involving 100 per cent Central assistance, has been accorded high priority in the Eleventh Plan. This scheme benefits about 4 million SC students annually and has been revised in 2010. Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) scheme for SC students was launched in 2006 for providing financial assistance to SC students pursuing MPhil and PhD. Under this scheme, 2000 fellowships are provided annually to SC beneficiaries. There are parallel educational development schemes for ST candidates and students also.

VIII. Human rights education

117. The National curriculum for school education of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), has included the human rights education component in social science subjects. In order to create human rights education sensitivity and skills amongst the teachers in schools, a module for teacher training programme has also been prepared by the taskforce of the NHRC for this purpose. NHRC has continued to play an active role in raising all round human rights literacy and awareness, including month-long internship programmes for University students and programmes focussed on public servants especially police in collaboration with the Administrative Training Institutes and Police Training Institutions. In addition, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also evolved a syllabus for human rights education at lower level, which has come into force in 2008.

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