This article is a compilation of Article 21A as it is. You can understand it well, that’s why its explanation is also given below, you must read it. Its explanation is also available in Hindi, for this you can use the link given below;

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Article 21A
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📖 Read This Article in Hindi

📜 Article 21A

1[21A. Right to education.—The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.]
1. Inserted by the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002, s. 2 (w.e.f. 1-4-2010).

🔍 Explanation

Freedom means the absence of external restrictions on an individual. In other words, to have control over one’s own life and destiny and to have the opportunity to freely express one’s desires and activities is freedom.

Talking about India, freedom is a fundamental right here. Actually part 3 of Indian constitution is about fundamental rights. From Article 19 to Article 22 of this, “right to freedom” has been discussed. (As you can see in the chart) We are going to understand Article 21A here;

Right to Freedom
⚫ Article 19 – Protection of six rights; (1) Expression (2) Conference (3) Association (4) Transmission (5) Residence (6) Trade
⚫ Article 20 – Protection in respect of conviction for offenses
⚫ Article 21 – Protection of life and personal liberty
⚫ Article 21A – Right to elementary education
⚫ Article 22 – Protection from arrest and detention

| Article 21A – Right to education

The State shall ensure the right of every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years to free and compulsory education. It was not always a part of the constitution but it was added in 2002 by the 86th constitutional amendment.

Although Article 45 under the Directive Principles of Policy in Part 4 of the Constitution provided for free and compulsory education for children, but being a Directive Principle, it was not enforceable. That is why it was made enforceable by adding it to the fundamental right.

In order to properly implement Article 21A, in 2009, the central government also passed an act “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act“. Under which it was given a proper legal form.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the corollary legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child shall have access to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school. It is a right that meets certain essential norms and standards.

Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into force on 1 April 2010. The title of the RTE Act contains the words ‘free and compulsory‘.

⚫ ‘Free education’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any fee or expenses whatsoever.

However, if the parents of a child have admitted him to a school which is not supported by the appropriate government, that is, a private school, then this provision will not apply.

⚫ ‘Compulsory education’ places an obligation on the appropriate government and local authorities to enrol, attend and complete primary education by all children aged 6-14.

The Right to Education Act provides the following:

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

⚫ It provides for admitting an unadmitted child to an age appropriate class.

⚫ It specifies the duties and responsibilities of the 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 norms and standards related to student teacher ratio, buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours, inter alia.

⚫ It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authorities, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.

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

⚫ It Prohibits (a) corporal punishment and mental harassment; (b) screening procedures for admission of children; (c) per capita fee, (d) private tuition by teachers and (e) operation of schools without recognition.

⚫ It provides for the development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which shall ensure all round development of the child, build the child’s knowledge, ability and talent and free the child from fear, trauma and anxiety.

So overall this is Article 21A, I hope you have understood. To understand other Articles, you can use the link given below.

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Disclaimer - The articles and their interpretations presented here are based on the original Constitution (latest edition), DD Basu's commentary on the Constitution (mainly) and various scholars of the Constitution (whose writings are available in newspapers, magazines and audio-visuals on the Internet). We have just tried to make it interesting and easy to understand.