Keekli Bureau, 2nd December, 2019

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, entitles every child of age 6 to 14 years to a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till completion of elementary education. Section 8(c) of the RTE Act, 2009 provides that the appropriate government would ensure that the child belonging to weaker section and the child belonging to disadvantaged group are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education on any grounds. Further, Section 12 (1) (c) of RTE Act, 2009 provides that all specified category schools and unaided schools shall admit at least 25% children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood in class I and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion.

Samagra Shiksha, an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII, aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels. Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme. The scheme reaches out to girls, Children with Special Needs (CwSN) and children belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), minority communities and transgender. The focus of major interventions under the Scheme includes provision of RTE Entitlements such as free uniforms, text books, special training of Out of School children etc., provision for Inclusive Education of Children with Special Needs (CwSN) and Vocational Education among others.

The scheme also gives attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration, including children of farmers and labourers and children living in remote and scattered habitations. Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks (EEBs), LWE affected districts, and aspirational districts while planning interventions like setting up/ upgradation of schools upto senior secondary level, strengthening of existing infrastructure, upgradation and running of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs), residential schools and hostels, etc.

The Navodaya Vidyalaya Scheme provides for opening of one JNV in each district of the country to bring out the best of rural talent.  Its significance lies in the selection of talented rural children as the target group and the aim to provide them quality education comparable to the best in a residential school system.

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