Right of “Out of School” children in India

A very large number of our children never get admitted to a school, and they do not complete even elementary education due to various socio-economic reasons like, migration, extreme poverty, homelessness of the family, children living or working in urban slums, in streets, on railway platforms or construction sites, working as domestic workers, child labourers, tending cattle, working in dhabas, mechanic shops, and rag pickers and as shoe shine boys etc.

The RTE rules of the state of Maharashtra defines “Out-of-school child” as a child of the age of 6 to 14 years who has either never been admitted to a school or who, having been admitted, has not completed elementary education, and it shall include a student of elementary school being absent for more than a month continuously. Such children are termed as “Children with special needs”.

The historical “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” (RTE) promises to  fulfill the aspirations and dreams of all such children, who remained out of school or could not complete elementary education due to various reasons. The RTE Act specifically provides opportunity for engage all such out-of-school children in the age appropriate classes and continues support to them till the completion of elementary stage for the achievement of basic goals.

With a view to bringing all never enrolled and drop-out children within the ambit of elementary education, a special provision has been introduced in Chapter II Para 4 of RTE Act. It reads, “Where a child above six years of age has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his or her elementary education, then, he or she shall be admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age.”

This Act provides to enroll all the children and has held the local authority responsible to identify, every year, by means of a survey, to be conducted by an officer notified by the State Government in this behalf, such children who are out of school, and shall admit them to age appropriate class.

It shall, according to the need, organize the special training of “out of school” in the following manner, namely:

 (a) the special training shall be based on specially designed, age appropriate learning tools and materials, approved by the academic authority specified under section 29 of the Act;

(b) such a training shall be provided in the classes held on the premises of the school, or through the classes organized as authorized bridge courses in safe residential facility, at time other than normal school hours;

 (c) such training shall be imparted preferably by teachers working in the school, or by teachers appointed specially for that purpose

(d) the State Council of Educational Research & Training shall lay down the time duration for such training programme;

(e) After admitting such a child to the age-appropriate class and during the special training and after he/she completes the special training, the teachers shall give him/her, the special attention required to help him/her integrate with the class, both academically and emotionally. 

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