The Republic of India is the world’s largest democracy with the most diversified constitution. Crossing the threshold of the 21st century, various governments in the country have emphasized on the importance of education. From the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to Right to Education Act 2009, India has come a long way towards improving the overall literacy rate – from 64.83% in 2001 to 74.04% in 2011.
Let’s discuss some of the salient features of the Indian education system and the laws associated with it.
Free and compulsory education
Education is the fundamental right of every Indian child according to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Article 21-A of the Indian constitution clearly mentions that it is the joint responsibility of the center and state governments to provide free and compulsory education to children aged between 6 to 14 years.
Equality of opportunities in Educational organizations
No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution that is run or funded by the state, on the basis of caste, religion, race, language, birthplace, etc. Schools and universities in India are directed to maintain complete equality among students.
Linguistic diversity and language protection
every Indian state, the medium of instruction is the local language or mother tongue. “The diversity of educational institutes in terms of languages makes Indian educational system one of the most unique ones in the world,” quips an education specialist at Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, New Law College, Pune.
The modern Indian education system focuses on making girls educated. The National Policy on Education, which was first promulgated in 1968 and later matured several times has played a vital role in promoting the education of women in India. The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana was launched in 2015 by the Government of India with an aim to create awareness around girls’ education and protection of their rights.
Education for weaker sections
The Indian constitution safeguards the educational interests of the weaker sections of the society under Article 15, 17, and 46. The latter states that the union government is responsible for the educational and economic development of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes. In public universities and educational institutes, certain weaker sections are given special leverages in fees.