ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Right to Homeschooling vs Right to Education

The affidavit submitted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Delhi High Court recently clarifying that parents can choose to homeschool their children is violative of the Right to Education Act.

Many attempts have been made during India’s post-Independence period to fulfil the constitutional directive of universal elementary education through a number of education systems such as government and government-aided schools, local body schools, recognised and unrecognised private schools, non-formal education and open schools. According to an important clause in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE), elementary education shall be provided only through recognised government and private schools. Private unrecognised schools, non-formal education and other alternative forms of e­ducation are no longer valid.

In the context of a petition filed in the Delhi High Court (Shreya Sahai and Others vs Union of India and Others/WP (Civil) No 8870 of 2011), the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India submitted an affidavit (dated 16 July 2012) in which two important statements were made that go contrary to the wider understating of the RTE Act: (a) “parents who voluntarily opt for systems of homeschooling and such alternative forms of schooling may continue to do so. The RTE Act does not come in the way of such alternative schooling methodologies or declare such form of education as illegal”; and (b) “the Act is with regard to the rights of children and does not compel children to go to a neighbourhood school...The compulsion therefore is not on the child but on that Government”.

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