Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy

Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy

Research on developing and operationalizing a regulatory framework for private schools in India

The Opportunity

Presently, private schools are subjected to a range of disparate regulations in the course of establishing and operating a school. With nearly 40% of all children – and the number is rising – attending private unaided schools it is essential that the private school system is sensibly regulated to ensure that they deliver quality while conforming to certain benchmarked standards. A key focus of such work must be building a robust and independent regulatory framework for school education in India.

The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (‘RTE Act’) was enacted to implement a constitutional amendment that introduced the right to elementary education as a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution. This Act is a significant legislation that serves to ensure that every child in India gets access to free and compulsory elementary education of good quality for their individual development.

Since the increasing importance of the private sector and the enactment of RTE are comparatively recent developments, there is either insufficient knowledge or a lot of ambiguity in important legal matters.

The Model

Vidhi will study regulatory best practices, both from a comparative geographical perspective as well as from an inter-sectoral perspective. This will provide key lessons on how regulations for school education ought to be structured and operationalised. It will also help in creating and adapting a framework for an autonomous regulator and finding opportunities for its implementation in issues such as admissions, fees, etc.

Similarly, in the RTE Act, Vidhi will study legal implications and new developments related to enforceability of the provisions of the RTE Act. For example, further research is needed on important bottlenecks in effective implementation of Section 12(1)(c): admission and reimbursement for pre-primary classes, exemption of minority schools, grievance redressal, drop-outs, etc.