In the tenth year of its existence, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009, has resulted in an increase of 19 per cent in admissions year-on-year since the academic year 2015-16.
Indus Action, a New Delhi-based not-for profit organisation that works on the landscape of education in the country, came out with the finding in its report 'The Bright Spots 2019'.
There is growing awareness and demand in the society on education. This is also seen in the yearly increase in the children admitted under the Section 12(1)(c) that mandates private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for students from disadvantaged sections.
The rationale behind the inclusion of this Section in the RTE Act was that inequitable and disparate schooling reinforces existing economic and social hierarchies and promotes an indifference towards the plight of others in the society.
Despite the slow start, the RTE act is seeing a significant impact of yearly increase in children admitted under Section 12(1)(c).
Tarun Cherukuri, Chief Executive Officer of Indus Action, said, "It is too early to announce triumph for RTE implementation but every single body working on it deserves to keep some credit for 19 per cent ascend in new school admissions since 2015-16. For Indus Action, there has been no looking back since 2009, but now when positive outcomes are actually visible we are motivated and determined to enrol one million children in mainstream schools by 2020."
According to the report, over 40 lakh children are admitted under section 12 (1) (c) RTE Act, of which 68 per cent children are from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The highest number of students studying under RTE Act were in Madhya Pradesh (1,118,433 students) followed by Rajasthan (675,907 students), Karnataka (639,398 students) and Tamil Nadu (394,032 students).
The report further mentions that more than 1.5 lakh students got enrolled under RTE in Delhi until 2018-19 and 69.65 per cent schools participated in Delhi under RTE. The report also highlights that only 17 states and Union Territories are admitting children as per Annual Work Plan and Budget of the States and Union Territories (AWP&B 2019-20).
The RTE Act is enabling parents from disadvantaged backgrounds to choose school irrespective of what economic or social background they come from. It will lead to more kids moving towards private schools. This shift can be witnessed in few states in the country. Due to this migration to private school, the public schools too are under pressure to enrol more students by improving outcomes to give proper choice to parents.