All children between the ages of 6 to 14 years can get education from schools, free of cost, from the 1st standard (first class) till the 8th standard (eighth class).
Approach the Neighbourhood Schools
Children can attend classes in neighbourhood schools. These neighbourhood schools are schools established within a walking distance of:
- one kilometre from the child’s neighbourhood (if the child is in class I to V) and
- three kilometres (if the child is in class VI to VIII). 1
However, the law does not restrict the education of children to the neighbourhood schools. 2 The child is free to enrol in any school despite the distance from the child’s neighbourhood to receive education free of cost. However, it is important to note that a child can receive education only from those schools established, owned (e.g. state established schools like Kendriya Vidyalaya, Aarohi schools in Haryana etc.), controlled or substantially funded directly or indirectly by the government or a local authority. So if a child is admitted to schools other than those given above, their parents cannot make a claim for reimbursement of expenses for the child’s education.3 This, however, does not include admissions under the 25% reserved admissions for disadvantaged groups.4
The admission process for schools covered by the Right to Education varies across state to state. However, certain practices are common. For admitting a child to the school, the following are the common practices across states:
Filling Admission Forms
Parents are required to fill a form provided by the requisite state governments. These forms are available on the government portal as every state has a separate portal for admissions. Some examples are Punjab, Maharashtra etc. You can also approach neighbourhood schools to obtain the form.5The form includes basic information like the family details, address etc. It also provides for choosing preferred schools in case of unplanned admissions. A maximum of five schools can be provided as preferences. 6
Providing Identification Documents
Certain documents are mandatory to be submitted. These documents include the child’s ID as a proof of age (may entail a birth certificate, Anganwadi record, aadhar card etc.) and parents’ IDs. Forms also enlist provision of documents such as the family’s ration card, income certificate, caste certificate as well as relevant certificates highlighting the special needs of children. Such a filled form may ordinarily be submitted to the neighbourhood school. Since certain states have made the entire process online, so the application may be carried on the government portal.
School Fees and Expenses
Children can get admission in schools without paying any fees or expenses.7 The right to education law in India prohibits invocation of any fees prior to the admission of a child. No school is allowed to charge any capitation fee which refers to any kind of donation or payment other than the school fee.8
No Screening Procedure for admission
Moreover, schools cannot subject the child or the parents to any form of screening procedure before admission. A screening procedure may involve any test or interview of the child or the parent for the purposes of admission to the school. 9 The school should randomly select the children and employ an open lottery method for filling up vacant seats. This can be done in the form of writing the names of the children on paper slips and then randomly picking them out of a container to ensure transparency. Schools may be fined up to Rs.25,000 for the first contravention of this provision and may extend to Rs.50,000 for any subsequent contraventions.90
- Rule 6, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010.
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
- Section 8, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
- Section 12(1)(c), The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
- Guidelines for Parents w.r.t. Admissions in Entry Classes i.e. Nursery / KG /Class-I in Government Sarvodaya Vidyalayas for the Academic Session 2020-21, Government of Delhi NCT, available at, http://edudel.nic.in/upload/upload_2019_20/249_251_dt_27022020.pdf
- Application Form For Admission In Govt./Govt. Aided School Directorate Of Education, Govt. Of Nct Of Delhi, available at, http://edudel.nic.in/upload/upload_2019_20/admission_form_28022019.PDF
- Section 3(2), The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
- Section 13(1), The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
- Section 13, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.