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Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust, Kochi

Right to Education Act, 2009

The passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India.
This Act serves as a building block to ensure that every child has his or her right (as an entitlement) to get a quality elementary education, and that the State, with the help of families and communities, fulfils this obligation.
Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure both free and child-centred, child-friendly education.

What is ‘Free and Compulsory Elementary Education’?
All children between the ages of 6 and 14 shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighborhood school.
There is no direct (school fees) or indirect cost (uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals, transportation) to be borne by the child or the parents to obtain elementary education. The government will provide schooling free-of-cost until a child’s elementary education is completed.

What is the role envisaged for the community and parents to ensure RTE?
The landmark passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of India. For the first time in India’s history, children will be guaranteed their right to quality elementary education by the state with the help of families and communities.
Few countries in the world have such a national provision to ensure child-centered, child-friendly education to help all children develop to their fullest potential. There were an estimated eight million six to 14 year-olds in India out-of-school in 2009. The world cannot reach its goal to have every child complete primary school by 2015 without India.
Schools shall constitute School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising local authority officials, parents, guardians and teachers. The SMCs shall form School Development Plans and monitor the utilization of government grants and the whole school environment.
RTE also mandates the inclusion of 50 per cent women and parents of children from disadvantaged groups in SMCs. Such community participation will be crucial to ensuring a child friendly “whole school” environment through separate toilet facilities for girls and boys and adequate attention to health, water, sanitation and hygiene issues.

How does RTE promote Child-Friendly Schools?
All schools must comply with infrastructure and teacher norms for an effective learning environment. Two trained teachers will be provided for every sixty students at the primary level.
Teachers are required to attend school regularly and punctually, complete curriculum instruction, assess learning abilities and hold regular parent-teacher meetings. The number of teachers shall be based on the number of students rather than by grade.
The state shall ensure adequate support to teachers leading to improved learning outcomes of children. The community and civil society will have an important role to play in collaboration with the SMCs to ensure school quality with equity. The state will provide the policy framework and create an enabling environment to ensure RTE becomes a reality for every child.

[From http://www.unicef.org/%5D

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