Constitutional Provisions on Education in India


In this article, we would discuss the constitutional provisions for education in India. The Indian constitution contains a large number of clauses and articles that have a direct or indirect bearing on education. Its preamble embodies the character, values, and aspirations of the country.

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The Central Government of India has been entrusted with many educational obligations under the Indian Constitution.

Education is one such aspiration of our country that would lead it towards national prosperity and national integration. We can cultivate the ethos and values of Indian democracy in citizens through education.

Constitutional Provisions for Education in India

The Indian constitution provides specifies provisions for education in the following major areas of education:

ProvisionsArticle
1.Right of free and compulsory education45
2.Right to education21A
3.Education for women15(1) (3)
4.Promotion of education and economic interests of SC, ST and other weaker sections46
5.Religious education25, 28(1)(2)(3)
6.Education of minorities, protection of interests of minorities29
7.Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions30
8.Instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage350-A
9.Promotion of Hindi351
10.Education in union territories239
11.Fundamental duty to provide the opportunity for education51(A)

Right of free and compulsory education

Article-45

The state shall endeavour to provide within the period of 10 years from the commencement of this constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.” – Article 45, Directive Principles of State Policy.

  • Article 45 of the constitution provides the provision for free and compulsory education.
  • India has set lofty educational development goals since its independence.
  • According to the Kothari Commission, ensuring free and universal education for all children is a top educational priority, not only for social justice and democracy but also for improving average worker competence and increasing national productivity.

Universalization has the following problems:

  • Lack of financial resources
  • Very small villages
  • Lack of suitable buildings
  • The poverty of Parents and their non-co-operation
  • Providing suitable staff and facilities
  • Indifference to primary education and dropout of students without completing primary education

Right to education

Constitutional Acts related to Education

Right to Education Act 2009 is a constitutional act related to education in the Indian Constitution. This act has come into force on April 1, 2010. This act gives the Right to Education the same legal status as the right to life.

Section 21(A) –

  • The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 years in the manner determined by law (86 amendment, Act 2002).
  • The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A into the Indian Constitution, declaring right to education a Fundamental

Amendment 93 (Primary Education a Fundamental Right) –

  • Primary education is now a ‘Fundamental Right’ under the 93rd amendment to the constitution. It is now a legal right.

Education for women

  • One of the prominent elements of contemporary Indian education and its policies is the promotion of women’s education.
  • The education of girls is regarded as equally vital as that of boys.
  • The following provisions are made in several articles of the Constitution:
    • Article 15 This article prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the basis of gender, religion, race, or place of birth.
    • Article 15 (3) of the constitution empowers the state to create specific provisions for women, including education.
    • Article 15(1) According to this article, the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on the basis of gender, religion, race, or place of birth.
  • The 1986 National Policy on Education was especially concerned with the status and education of women in the country.
  • According to the Education Policy of 1986, “education would be employed as an agent of fundamental change in the status of women in the society.” 

Constitutional Provisions for education of SC and ST in India

  • The Indian constitution requires the government to promote the educational interests of the socially, culturally, and economically disadvantaged sections of society.
  • There are many provisions made in our constitutions for the upliftment of weaker sections of our society like, Article 14, 15, 46, 46, 338, 339 and 340.
  • Out of many such articles, article 15 and 46 of the constitution give provisions related to the education of SC and ST (weaker sections) in India
  • Article 46 states that “The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the society, particularly the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all types of exploitation”.
  • It is one of the directive principles of state policy.

Education of minorities, protection of interests of minorities

  • These constitutional provisions (Article 29 and 30) ensure that minorities’ special interests are protected. Minorities are classified according to their religion, linguistic script, or culture.
  • Article 29- This article is related to the education, rights and interests of minorities. This means that the constitution provides certain safeguards for the cultural and educational interests of minorities. It states that
    1. 29(1)- Any section of the citizen, residing in the territory of India or any part there of having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, hall have the right to conserve the same.
    2. 29(2)- No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions

  • Minorities are granted the ability to establish and administer their own educational institutions by the Constitution of India. Article 30 is sometimes known as the “Charter of Education Rights.” This article states that
    1. “All minorities whether based on religion or language shall have right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.
    2. “The states shall not discriminate against any educational institution in respect of granting aid, on the ground that it is under the management of a minority whether based on religion or language”

Instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage

  • Our country is multilingual. The Indian Constitution establishes that the study of one’s own language is a fundamental right of citizens.
  • The Secondary Education Commission of 1952–53 proposed that the mother tongue or regional language be used as the primary medium of teaching throughout the secondary school stage, with the caveat that special accommodations be made for linguistic minorities.
  • Additionally, the Kothari Commission (1964–1966) said that at the college and university levels, mother tongue should be the medium of instruction.
  • In respect to this issue, Article 350A provides Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage. It states that
    It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups, and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities

Promotion of Hindi

  • The Indian Constitution calls for Hindi to be developed and promoted as the country’s official language. Article 351 of the Indian constitution has a Directive for the development of the Hindi language.
  • Part of it states that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
  • Additionally, the constitution stipulates the development and promotion of national languages, including Hindi.
  • According to article 351, it is the central government’s specific responsibility to nurture Hindi language, in order for it to serve as a medium of expression for all the parts of India’s composite culture. The Central Ministry of Home Affairs has a directorate of Hindi for this purpose.

Education in union territories

  • Article 239 of the constitution states,” Save as otherwise provided by Parliament by how, every Union Territory shall be administered by the President acting to such extent as he thinks fit, through an administrator to be appointed by him with such designation as he may specify.”
  • This means that each union territory has its own education department, and education in union territories has been the responsibility of the union or centre government.

Fundamental duty to provide the opportunity for education

  • Article 51A Clause ‘K’ – It shall be the duty of every citizen of India who is parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or as the case may be, wards between the age of six and fourteen years.

I have mentioned the constitutional provisions for education in India. You can refer to the Constitution of India to know the source of most of the content written in this article.
Furthermore, I have already written an article on the Indian Constitution and Education. You can check it out for more information.
If you are studying for B.Ed. do check our page on Contemporary India and Education for B.Ed. Notes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Right to Education Act?

The Right to Education Act, 2009 makes it obligatory for state governments to ensure that all children have access to quality education.

What is Article 21 A Right to Education Act?

Under this, every child between 6–14 years of age has the right to free and compulsory education in India.



What is compulsory education in India?

‘Compulsory education’ makes the local authorities responsible for ensuring admission and completion of elementary education.

What is the legal basis for religious education?

Article 28 gives students the freedom of attendance at any religious worship or participation in any religious instruction that may be imparted

What is the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act?

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) is an Act Parliament of India enacted on 4 August 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free compulsory education children between the age of 6 to 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.

What are the rules for private schools under RTE Act?

It requires all private schools(except the minority institutions) to reserve 25% of seats for the poor and other categories of children (to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan).

What are the provisions of the Act?

A number of other provisions regarding improvement of school infrastructure, teacher-student ratio and faculty are made in the Act.

What are the provisions for the Persons with Disabilities RTE Act?

The Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age is laid down under separate legislation- the Persons with Disabilities Act.

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