The Right to Education: Fact Sheet
Right to Education
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.
India’s education system over the past few decades has made significant progress. According to India’s Education For All Mid Decade Assessment, in just five years between 2000 and 2005, India increased primary school enrolment overall by 13.7 per cent and by 19.8 per cent for girls, reaching close to universal enrolment in Grade 1.
Out-of-School Children: The number of out-of-school children has declined from 25 million in 2003 to 8.1 million in mid–2009. The most significant improvements have been in Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur and Chhattisgarh.
Access: There has been tremendous progress in improving access with 99 per cent of habitations having a primary school within one kilometer, and 92 per cent with an upper primary school within 3 kilometers. While access and enrolments to primary schools are good, upper primary access and participation remain challenges.Read in Hindi Urdu
Social Inclusion: There have been significant improvements in the proportions of children from socially disadvantaged groups enrolled in school. For Scheduled Caste (SC) students, 19.7 per cent, were enrolled in 2008-2009, with 11 per cent enrolled for Scheduled Tribe (ST) students.
Sanitation: 84 out of 100 schools have drinking water facilities overall in India. But nearly half the schools in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya do not. Sixty-five out of 100 schools have common toilets in India; however only one out of four schools in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Orissa and Rajasthan have this facility.
The RTE Act will be in force from 1 April. Draft Model Rules have been shared with states, which are required to formulate their state rules and have them notified as early as possible.
Creative and sustained initiatives are crucial to train more than one million new and untrained teachers within the next five years and to reinforce the skills of existing teachers to ensure child-friendly education.
Families and communities also have a large role to play to ensure child-friendly education for each and every one of the estimated 190 million girls and boys in India who should be in elementary school today.
India’s past achievements in education indicate it is possible to reach the goals set forth in RTE. Building on the achievements of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, UNICEF will continue to work with the government and other partners at community, state and national levels to promote child friendly schools and systems across the country through RTE.
UNICEF is committed to ensuring all children to have access to quality education and complete their schooling. UNICEF works with its partners to improve children’s developmental readiness to start primary school on time, especially for marginalized children. Technical support on education quality, school retention and achievement rates are also given.
For media queries and more information: