General Studies IICommissionsEducation

NCPCR recommended Minority schools be brought under RTE


The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has released a report assessing minority schools in the country. The report has analysed the impact of exemptions provided to Minority institutions under Article 15(5).

Aims and Objectives

  • It was aimed at finding ways to ensure that children from minority communities get quality elementary education.
  • To assess the effect of the 93rd Amendment Act on children belonging to minority communities.
    • The Constitution 93rd Amendment Act, 2005, inserting clause (5) in Article 15 enables the State to make special provisions for members of the SCs, STs and socially and educationally backward classes, for admission to all educational institutions, including private unaided institutions, but except minority institutions. 
  • The Commission’s objective was to assess the impact of this exemption of minority educational institutions from various guidelines that are mandatory for non-minority institutions.
  • It opined that the different sets of rules under Article 21A, Article 30 and Article 15 (5) act as creating a conflicting picture between fundamental right of children and right of minority communities.

How are Minority schools exempt from RTE and SSA?

  • Article 30 of the Constitution states the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
  • This article aims to provide opportunities to children from different religious and linguistic minority communities to have and conserve a distinct culture, script and language.
  • Subsequently, in 2012, through an amendment, the institutions imparting religious education were exempted from following the RTE Act.
  • Later on, in 2014 (Pramati judgement), while discussing the validity of exemption under Article 15 (5), the Supreme Court declared the RTE Act inapplicable to schools with minority status.
  • This was in the view that the Act should not interfere with the right of minorities to establish and administer institutions of their choice.

Findings of the Report 

  • It was found that the largest number of out-of-school children – at 1.1 crore – belonged to the Muslim community.
  • 74 per cent of students in Christian missionary schools belonged to non-minority communities. 
    • Overall, 62.50 per cent of students in such schools belonged to non-minority communities.
    • Only 8.76 per cent of the students in minority schools belong to socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. 
      • Since minority schools are outside the purview of the RTE Act, there is no compulsion to admit students from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • The religion-wise breakup of the schools: Giving a religion-wise breakup of the schools, Christians comprise 11.54 per cent of India’s minority population, they run 71.96 per cent of schools, and Muslims with 69.18 per cent minority population run 22.75 per cent of the schools.
    • Sikhs comprise 9.78 per cent of the minority population and run 1.54 per cent of schools, Buddhists with 3.83 per cent minority population run 0.48 per cent of schools, and Jains with 1.9 per cent minority population run 1.56 per cent of schools.
  • Kinds of madrasas:  According to the report, there are three kinds of madrasas in the country which are as follows :
    • Recognised madrasas: They are registered and impart both religious as well as secular education
    •  Unrecognised madrasas: They have been found deficient for registration by state governments as secular education is not imparted or other factors like lack of infrastructure
    • Unmapped madrasas: They have never applied for registration.
      •  Sachar Committee report: According to the NCPCR, the Sachar Committee report, which says 4 per cent of Muslim children (15.3 lakh) attend madrasas, has only taken into account the registered madrasas.
  • Minority educational institutions: The report traces the establishment of minority educational institutions to the colonial policy of divide and rule under which they tried to divide people on the basis of economic, religious, social and political differences.
  • The surge in the number of schools securing Minority Status: There was a surge in the number of schools securing Minority Status Certificate after the 93rd Amendment in 2006, with more than 85% of schools of the total schools securing the certificate in the years 2005-2009. 
    • A second surge was seen in 2010-14, after the 2012 Society judgment that made Sections 12(1)(c) and 18(3) of the RTE Act, 2009 inapplicable to unaided minority schools. In 2014, the Pramati judgment made the whole of the RTE Act inapplicable to minority schools.
  • Disproportionate numbers: The report also gives examples of disproportionate numbers. 
    • For instance, in West Bengal, 92.47% of the minority population is Muslims and 2.47% are Christians. 
    • On the contrary, there are 114 Christian minority schools and only two schools with Muslim minority status.
    • Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, though the Christian population is less than 1% there are 197 Christian minority schools in the state. 
      • This disproportionate number takes away the core objective of establishing minority educational institutions.

Other Issues: 

Despite the large presence of minority students in school-going age groups, minority schools are catering to less than 8% of the minority children population.


  • It has been recommended to the government to bring all minority schools, including  Madrasas under the purview of the Right to Education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan campaign.  
  • The NCPCR also backed reservations for students from minority communities in such schools.
  • There is a need to lay down specific guidelines regarding the minimum percentage of students from the minority community to be admitted to the institution. 
  • The report also recommended the need to link the need of the number of minority institutions in a state for a particular minority to the process of granting minority institution status for better utilisation of resources.
  • Many schools have registered as minority institutions, simply because they don’t have to implement RTE but they can implement Article 30, which ensures the right of minorities to open their own institutions for cultural-linguistic and religious protection
    • It contravenes Article 21(A) which protects a child’s fundamental right to education. 
      • This exemption needs to be reviewed as it deprives education in these institutions to underprivileged children from minority communities and Article 21 (A) must prevail.

Why bring them under RTE?

  • The Commission believes this took place as schools wanted to operate outside the legal mandate to reserve seats for backward classes.
  • RTE provides for norms pertaining to basic minimum infrastructure, number of teachers, books, uniform, Mid-day Meal etc, benefits that students in minority schools have not been receiving.

Constitutional Provision related to Minorities

  • The Constitution of India does not specify the term  ‘minorities’, however, the Constitution recognizes only religious and linguistic minorities.
  • Article 29 and Article 30 guarantee certain rights to the minorities.
    • Article 29 of the Indian Constitution protects the interests of the minorities by making a provision that any citizen/section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture have the right to conserve the same. 
      • It mandates that no discrimination would be done on the ground of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
    • Article 30 of the Indian Constitution states the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
      • It says: “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.”
  • Article 350 B
    • There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
    • It shall be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution and report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct. 
    • The President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament, and sent to the Governments of the States concerned.

Right to Education

  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted on 4th August 2009.
  • It describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution.
  • Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into effect on 1st April 2010.
    • Education in the Indian constitution is a concurrent issue and the Act lays down specific responsibilities for the centre, state and local bodies for its implementation.
  • Free Education: No child, other than a child who has been admitted by his or her parents to a school that is not supported by the appropriate Government, shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him/her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
  • Compulsory Education: It casts an obligation on the appropriate Government and local authorities to provide and ensure admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by all children in the 6-14 age group.
  • Key Provisions

  • Requires all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of seats for children (to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan).
  • Kids are admitted to private schools based on the economic status of caste-based reservations.
  • Prohibits all unrecognised schools from practice, and makes provisions for no donation or capitation fees and no interview of the child or parent for admission.
  • No child shall be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education.
  • Special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the same age.
  • Requires surveys that will monitor all neighbourhoods, identify children requiring education, and set up facilities for providing it.
  • The Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age is laid down under separate legislation, the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

  • It is the Government of India’s flagship programme for the achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time-bound manner, as mandated by the 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group.
  • The programme seeks to open new schools in those habitations which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school infrastructure through the provision of additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grants.
  • Existing schools with inadequate teacher strength are provided with additional teachers, while the capacity of existing teachers is being strengthened by extensive training, grants for developing teaching-learning materials and strengthening of the academic support structure at a cluster, block and district level.
  • SSA seeks to provide quality elementary education including life skills. 
  • Samagra Shiksha subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • It was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005). 
  • It is a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development. 
  • This commission has a chairperson and six members of which at least two should be women.
  • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 
  • The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

Source: Indian Express

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