The Law Commission of India has recommended amending the Right to Education Act to make it mandatory for the government to provide free pre-school education for children above the age of three.
In its latest report submitted to law minister Sadananda Gowda, the Commission headed by Justice AP Shah recommended amending the RTE Act to “prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education” until they complete six years of age.
As per the 2011 Census, India has 158.7 million children in the age group of 0-6 years, comprising about 16% of the total Indian population.
Social activist and advocate Ashok Agarwal told HT that if accepted, the law panel recommendation would bring transparency in the nursery admission process.
“Immediate impact will be that the screening process of kids or parents will be done away with as schools will have to conform with the RTE Act. This will ensure that there is no discrimination during admission in nursery level,” Agarwal said.
The Commission also recommended amending the Constitution to ensure that the right of children below six to basic care and assistance be made an enforceable right by the insertion of a new Article, 24A, to Part III of the Constitution.
The Commission also recommended amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act so that maternity benefits are increased from twelve weeks to 180 days and cover women working in the unorganized sector too.