September 18, 2021

Education as a Human Right

Human Rights


Education as an institution that typically is established through a collective social desire to have civil & supportive societies. Education is one of the most important parts in each & every human life. If a person was educated must acquire knowledge, learns behavioral activities & methods to survive in the society. In simple manner, a person will be respected if he had some dignity in the society & the only way to attain dignity & personality is educating himself. Education is a powerful tool by which economically & socially marginalized adults & children can left themselves out of poverty & participate fully as citizen.

KEYWORDS- Education, Society, Social , Dignity & Person


”Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”.

In the present era of globalization, liberalization and privatization education is viewed not only as an input to empowerment and social justice but as being basic to the very survival of individuals and Nations. Literacy as a qualitative attribute of the population is one of the most important indicators of socioeconomic and political development of a society. It is a major component of human resource development and is thus basic to any progress of social and economic development.[1]


“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”

– Aristotle

Proper and good education is very important for all of us. It facilitates quality learning all through the life among people of any age group, cast, creed, religion and region. It is the process of achieving knowledge, values, skills, beliefs, and moral habits. People need to get high level awareness about the importance of knowledge more than before. Education is very necessary for each and everyone in order to improve knowledge, way of living as well as social and economic status throughout the life.

Getting proper education is the birth rights of everyone restricting which is the crime. Education is the ultimate way to get victory over all the personal and social problems. Education is very important to all of us as it plays very important roles in our life. In order to live a better and peaceful life, we need to be educated. It transforms us completely from inside and outside by changing our mind and personality as well as improving our confidence level. It changes our life completely as it is constructive in nature.[2]

“If you are thinking a year ahead, plant a seed.

If you are thinking a decade ahead, plant a tree.

If you are thinking a century ahead, educate the people.”


Despite our best efforts, our educational development still remains at a low level. The following are the main problems faced in the progress of education:-

1. Lack of funds:– The lack of sufficient funds is the main problem in the development of education. Outlay for education in Five Year Plans has been decreasing. Due to insufficient funds most educational institutions lack infrastructure, science equipment and libraries etc. Due to this reason, desired results cannot be achieved.

2. Expensive higher education:-University, professional and technical education has become costly in India. Fee structure of technical and professional institutes like IIM’s is quite high IIM’s charge Rs. 2 lakh per semester for MBA classes. It is beyond the reach of common man. Privatization of higher education has led to the growth of profit hungry entrepreneurs. Now a day’s higher education is much costly affair.

3. Neglect of Indian languages :-The medium of instruction particularly in science subjects is English. So rural students who are not well versed in English, cannot study science properly in English. They suffer a lot; Indian languages are still under developed. Standard publications are not available in Indian language.

4. Problem of Brain drain :-When intelligent, talented and deserving candidates do not get suitable jobs in the country, they prefer to go abroad for seeking jobs. So our country is deprived of good talent. This phenomenon is called Brain drain.

5. Mass illiteracy:-Despite constitutional directives and economic planning we are not able to achieve cent percent literacy. -Even now 35 percent people remain illiterate. In India, the number of illiterates is almost one-third of the total illiterates in the world. Advanced countries are 100% literate; the position in India is quite dismal.

6. Wastage of resources:-Our education system is based on General Education. The dropout rate is very high in primary and secondary level. Most of the students in 6-14 age groups leave the school before completing their education. It leads to wastage of 5nancial and human resources.[3]


Almost everywhere in the world there is a growing recognition about pivotal position which education occupies for the betterment of individuals and institutions. It is universally accepted that education is the best source of social mobility, equality and empowerment for the development of society in meaningful way. Following are the international instruments which came in existence for enhancing the rights and importance of education:-

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 :

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (UDHR) was adopted as ‘a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations’. Article 26 says that:-

“Everyone has right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stage. Elementary education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

Article 26 also defines the aims of education:-

2. Education shall be directed to the full development of human personality, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, understanding for tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups and further the activities of the United Nation for the maintenance of peace

Paragraphs 3 speak on parental right. It was added by the Third Committee. It says that :-

“Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

From the perusal of the above mentioned provision of the Declaration, it is evident that right to free and compulsory primary education has been universally recognized. Further the achievement of the right to education consists in giving young people better opportunities to acquire the knowledge, the skills, the attitudes, the sense of values, which allow them :

  • To lead a happy life, as individual.
  • To discharge the various social duties incumbent upon all those who share in a community.
  • To maintain and to develop the national and International communities.


The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966: The right to education is also reaffirmed in the International covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Art. 13(1) of the covenant provides: The states parties to the present covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agreed the education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Clause (2) of Article 13 of the covenant further provides :

Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all.


The provision relating to right to education are set forth in Article 28 which provides :

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular.

Make primary education compulsory and available free to all

Make educational and vocational information accessible to all children

Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of dropout rate[4]


Constitutional Provisions have exercised a direct as well as indirect bearing on education at different stages. The various constitutional provisions regarding education in India are according to our social, economic, cultural and political needs. The constitution of India provides for the following main areas of education in the country:-

  • Right of free and compulsory education 45
  • Right to education 21A
  • Education for women 15(1) (3)
  • Promotion of education and economic interests of SC, ST and other weaker sections 46
  • Religious education 25 28(1), (2), (3)
  • Education of minorities, protection of interests of minorities 29
  • Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions 30
  • Instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage 350-A
  • Promotion of Hindi 351
  • Education in union territories 239
  • Fundamental duty to provide opportunity for education 51 (A)[5]


The RTE Act provides for the following:-

Right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighborhood school.

It clarifies that ‘compulsory education’ means obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. ‘Free’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.

It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.

It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.

It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours.

It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil teacher ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings. It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.

It provides for appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.

It prohibits (a) physical punishment and mental harassment; (b) screening procedures for admission of children; (c) capitation fee; (d) private tuition by teachers and (e) running of schools without recognition,

It provides for development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centered learning.[6]


1. Sarva Siksha Abhiyan

This program was introduced in 2001 and is one of the biggest projects in India. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a flagship program for the children to get Universal Elementary Education (UEE). This program covers the entire country and works in partnership with local and state governments. SSA is mainly useful for children between the ages of 6 to 14. The program aims to universalize education and improves its quality by time-bound implementation strategy and context-specific planning. It includes children from all social classes.

2. National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Education

The NPEGEL program has been initiated by the Government of India to reach girls, especially the girls that are not enrolled in a school. The program was started in July 2003 and this program is a significant component of the SSA. The program provides extra support for improving the education of girls. Some objectives that come under this scheme are the development of learning materials that are gender-sensitive, gender-sensitization of teachers, provisions like stationary, uniforms, and workbooks. The main focus of this program is to break gender stereotypes and to make sure girls get a good education at the elementary level.[7]

SUGGESTIONS for better recognition & enforcement of Right to Education

1. Specific Standards:

The Act continues the current practice to require private schools to meet the specified standards but exempts all schools established by the Government from those standards. Ideally all schools, government as well as private, must meet the same standards.

2. Lack of sufficient resources:

The States lack sufficient resources to implement the Right to Education Act and it is the responsibility of the Centre to meet cent percent expenditure on this head, “The Centre should increase its proposed share from 55% to 75% and even 90%. “Some States want the centre to provide 100% funds. The union government at present had mooted a Centre-State fund Sharing pattern of 55:45 which was earlier in the ratio of 75:25. The States lack sufficient resources to implement the Act and it was the responsibility of the Centre to meet cent percent expenditure on this head.

3. Compulsion on the Government under the Act to build many new schools:

The Act compels the Government to build many new schools, the neighborhood schools, which it may or may not be able to do so. It is also clear that this right is not clearly justifiable, i.e. there is no penalty for Government failing to build new schools as required. Therefore, Government should provide financial support, where it can’t provide a neighborhood school, to children to attend an equivalent quality schools.

4. Support to unrecognized schools from closure:

Since unrecognized schools could face closure in view of prescribed recognition standards within three years, we could find ways to support such schools to improve their facilities by resource support and providing linkages with financial institutions. Moreover, by instituting proper rating mechanisms wherein schools can be rated on the basis of infrastructure, learning achievements and other quality indicators, constructive competition can ensure.

5. Reimbursement of Private un aided school for 25% quota:

The reimbursement of private unaided school for the 25% quota should be in the line with any government school but the government school of equivalent quality of education and the cost calculations should include fixed or capital as well as the variable expenditures with due allowance for depreciation of assets and interest costs.


The right to education is indispensable in the interpretation of right to development as a human right. Similarly, the right to development is also considered to be a basic human right and the desire to acquire more qualification is an inherent human right. The Education is a Process which engages many different actors, firstly those one who provide education i.e. the teacher, the owner of an educational Institution, the parent. Secondly, those one who receive the Education i.e. the child, the Pupil. Thirdly, those one who is legally responsible for the one who receives the education through the parents, the legal guardians, society and the state”.

For more notes on Human Rights, Click Here.

For law notes, Click Here.



[2], Last appeared on 25 mar 2020 IST 9:50

[3] Last appeared on 26 Mar 2020 IST 10:50


[5] , Last appeared on 27 Mar 2020 IST 11:26

[6], Last appeared on 28 Mar 2020 IST 18:35

[7] should-know-about/ Last appeared on 28 Mar 2020 IST 19:30

Author Details: Stuti Gupta (Government New Law College Indore)

The views of the author are personal only. (if any)


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