The government could (should) have provided free
quality education without a law as a number of countries have done.
The successive governments were attempting to do that but
were unable to do so.
The inability was certainly not on account of absence of a
A number of non-legislative factors have created a mess in
the last few decades in the education sector.
The impact of initiatives in education are visible only in
the long run.
The enactment of RTE hardly led to any improvement in
delivery of quality education. Learning outcomes, in fact, declined during the
years that followed the legislation.
The focus of the RTE Act is primarily on “inputs” (like
infrastructure) rather than “outcomes”.
It has created an adversarial relation between “public”
and “private” schools.
The Act mandates that even private schools “shall admit in
Class I, to the extent of at least 25 per cent of the strength of that class,
children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group.”
The manner in which reimbursement is to be provided has
created a number of problems.
Section 16 of the RTE provides that “No child admitted in
a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till completion
of elementary education”.
The model of “no detention” was apparently picked up from
the West and transplanted in this country without taking into account the
conditions prevalent here.
The pass percentage has plummeted at the Class 10-level.
The states were not even given freedom to take a call on the issue.
The government has subsequently decided to provide an
option to the states and the amendment is under the consideration of Parliament.
The norms and standards prescribed in the schedule for
a school are far removed from ground reality.
It is perhaps desirable has been made mandatory.
This has resulted in a phenomenal increase in the number
During 2015-16, there were 39,608 government schools that
had less than 10 children but each school was mandated to have a minimum of two
The budget private schools, most of whom are doing a great
job in imparting education, are under enormous pressure to meet the prescribed
standards or face closure.
On an average, around Rs 10,000 per child gets spent in
The budget schools do that for far less and impart as
good, if not better, education.