The Right to Education: Rhetoric or a Reality?

10 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2015

Date Written: January 16, 2015


Right to Education in India ensures that every child under the age of 14 years must be provided with free and compulsory education. However, to make this a reality, a continuous effort is required on the part of the state to ensure that both the quantitative and qualitative requirements are met. This means not only increasing availability of and accessibility to schools, classrooms, teachers and infrastructure facilities across the country but also there is a need to improve the quality of education. However, this has not happened and many children remain out of the purview of the Right to Education (RTE), specifically those who hail from poor and marginal families. The10th Annual Status of Education Report released by Pratham recently, which audited elementary education in rural India, observed that though enrollment level is rising yet learning levels remain poor. Further, a large number of children remain excluded from the purview of RTE because for these children navigating through the maze of poverty to reach to the corridors of education is a challenge. Reasons being that the state has failed to link up the Right to Education with larger socio-economic realities of masses in the neo liberal regime. Also, commercialization of education is a major concern. In other words, RTE has to be seen in a comprehensive manner while considering not only availability of infrastructure, teachers or facilities but also in terms of the quality of education and its meaningfulness in the changing world.

Keywords: Right to Education, globalization, privatization, education, marginalized children, quality of education, state, India, Article 21A

Suggested Citation

Nigam, Shalu, The Right to Education: Rhetoric or a Reality? (January 16, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Shalu Nigam (Contact Author)

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