The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 was enacted to implement
the constitutional provision under Article 21-A. The Act provides for free and compulsory education
to all children of the age of six to fourteen years. The Central Government affixed 1st April, 2010 as the date of enforcement of the Act. The Act provides children in the 6-14 age group the legal entitlement to free and compulsory
education. It provides the legislative framework for Universalization of Elementary Education.
The salient features (or provisions) of the Act are mentioned below:
1. It provides for the right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of
elementary education in a neighbourhood school.
2. It clarifies that ‘compulsory education’ means obligation of the appropriate government to
provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. ‘Free’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may
prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
3. It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
4. It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate governments, local authorities,
parents, schools and teachers in providing free and compulsory education.
5. It specifies the sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State
6. It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs),
buildings and infrastructure, school working days, teacher working hours.
7. It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil teacher
ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or
Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban–rural imbalance in teacher postings.
8. It provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than
decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and Parliament, and disaster
9. It provides for appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e., teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.
10. It prohibits (i) physical punishment and mental harassment, (ii) screening procedures for admission of children, (iii) capitation fees, (iv) private tuition by teachers, and (v) running of schools without recognition.
11. It provides for the following penalties:
A. For charging capitation fee: Fine up to 10 times the capitation fee charged .
B. For resorting to screening during admission: Rs. 25,000 for first contravention; Rs. 50,000
for each subsequent contravention.
C. For running a school without recognition: Fine up to one lakh rupees, and in case of
continuing contravention Rs.10,000 for each day during which the contravention continues.
12. It provides for the establishment of a School Management Committee in all schools other than
unaided ones. It should consist of the elected representatives of the local authority, parents or
guardians of children admitted in the school and teachers. It shall perform the following
A. monitor the working of the school.
B. prepare and recommend school development plan.
C. monitor the utilisation of the grants received from the government or local authority or any other source; and
D. any other prescribed function.
13. It provides for development of a curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the
Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the
child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent, and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centred learning.
14. It provides for protection and monitoring of the child’s right to free and compulsory education
and redressal of grievances by the National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights, which shall have the powers of a civil court.
15. It provides for the establishment of a National Advisory Council and a State Advisory Council in each state to advise the respective governments on implementation of the provisions of the Act in an effective manner.