Homeschooling – Legal in India as per RTE act 2009

In addition to the half page feature on homeschoolers in India in today’s Times of India Pune edition, there is an important legal article too on the front page titled – RTE: Homeschooling too is fine, says Sibal

Here is what it says –

RTE: Homeschooling too is fine, says Sibal
But States Must Ensure Education For All: Minister
Neha Madaan | TNN Pune

Homeschooling parents can continue to educate their children at home now that HRD minister Kapil Sibal has clarified the ministry’s stance.“The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 wants every child to be in school,but if somebody decides not to send his/her children to school, we are not going to interfere. The compulsion is on the state, not on the parents. Parents are free not to send their children to school, but teach them at home. We cannot be micromanaging,” Sibal told TOI on Tuesday.

The Act stipulates eight years of formal education for all children between 6 and 14 years of age. Homeschooling parents believe in individual skills and want to nurture them in their children at home rather than in schools. The Act, outlining the duties of the parents,says,“It shall be the duty of every parent or guardian to admit or cause to be admitted his or her child or ward, as the case may be,to an elementary education in the neighbourhood school.”

The 25-odd city-based homeschooling families and scores from other cities have been looking at the implications of the Act and seeking clarifications over whether it is a punishable offence. Educational expert Alok Mathur said homeschooling is not punishable under the Act. Mathur, the director of teachers’ education at Rishi Valley school in Andhra Pradesh, which imparts alternative education, was part of a group which met Sibal a few weeks ago in Delhi. The meeting was initiated on behalf of a Delhi-based homeschooling parent. “I accompanied him for the meeting since a group supporting alternative schooling had sent a letter to the minister along with the homeschooling petition. I was among the signatories,” said Mathur. According to him, the minister, at the meeting, had said that the purpose behind the Act is to make it obligatory for the government to provide reasonable quality education to all sections of society, especially the poorest and deprived sections. In the minister’s view, if parents wished to and had the means, they can homeschool their children.

A Delhi high court division bench in April 2010 heard a PIL which said that the Act infringes on the freedom of parents and should be amended for homeschooling. The petition was dismissed, but the bench asked the petitioners to make a representation to the HRD ministry seeking its views on homeschooling. The homeschoolers group’s letter to Sibal asked him to accommodate homeschooling in the RTE Act or clarify its stand on homeschooling and alternative education. At the meeting, according to Mathur, Sibal had said that he did not feel that the government should enact or provide any special provision to cater to the specific needs of ‘gifted and talented’ children. “The minister associated these children with the betteroff sections of society who are already empowered to provide specifically desired education for their own children in the manner they wish to,” Mathur said. Nyla Coelho, coordinator for the Goa-based Taleemnet, a facility to support meaningful and alternative education, said, “The Act is more about giving the masses a chance to literacy. The government would not intervene if parents wish to homeschool their children. I have wanted to convey this to the parents of homeschoolers in Pune to allay their doubts about the Act.”

Great news, I guess. But what about NIOS ? Still to wait for updates I guess? Would love to have your views on the above article and related legal matters of homeschooling in India in comments.

(on a related note see collection of legal articles)


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17 thoughts on “Homeschooling – Legal in India as per RTE act 2009

  1. Pingback: Homeschooling too is fine, says HRD Minister Kapil Sibal « where trouble was needed

  2. NIOS website says, “It has been decided to continue the Open Basic Education Programme for 6-14 age group. The MHRD letter vide no. DO 10-4/2009-EE-4 dated 7th April 2010 has permitted NIOS to continue its OBE programme for 6-14 age group for a period of three years wef 1st April, 2010.”

    That was a refreshing breeze of common sense from the Minister. Hope it extends to improve the Act itself.

    • hi i am binda, mother of 6yrs old son, i would like to know more abt Open Basic Education Programme for 6-14 age group. As we decided to follow homeschooling for him.

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  4. Hi,

    Interesting to see that there are lot many parents who have opted to homeschool their children. I was the advocate who had argued, the case before Delhi High Court chief justice filed by Ms. Shreya Sahai, a gifted and talent kid, and her father Mr. Sandeep Srivastava, advocating for the inclusion of homeschooling as a legally permitted method to educate the children in the RTE. Dr. Alok Mathur and I had met the minister on the issue and discussed with him various aspects of homeschooling and various mediums of alternative education. Mr. Sibal, Hon’ble Minister, was categorical in stating that if children opting for homeschooling won’t be permitted to sit in CBSE examination. He further said that people interested in homeschooling their children should move to countries like USA and UK wherein adequate facilities have been made available.
    I am moving the court again and the matter should come up just after the vacation on the first wednesday. In case you are interested in the issue and wish to enrich the petition further, you can contact us at somnath@bhartiassociates.com.

    Regards,
    Somnath Bharti, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court
    Partner, Bharti & Associates(Advocates and Corporate Lawyers)
    Secretary, IIT Delhi Alumni Association
    Former Member, Senate, IIT Delhi
    USA: +1-415-839-6210 | India: +91-9910044233
    Skype: bharti.associates | Gtalk: somnath@bhartiassociates.com
    Hotmail: somnathbharti | Yahoo: somnath_bharti
    ICQ: 57461172
    Web: http://www.bhartiassociates.com

  5. Homeschooling is a successful teaching technique in all over the world,as a mother and a teacher i wish,all of our children should get the benefits of homeschooling.i want to teach my child in my custody but confused in Indian legal aspect about homeschooling.

  6. Hi! We are parents of 2 years old kid and have heard about the concept of home schooling and very keen to know about the same.If such movement is going on in any part of Goa , please update us.We would like to meet the families who are implementing it.

    Ashwini and Abhay Inge
    iabhay2000@gmail.com
    9892370324

  7. Hi, Nivedita here. I am looking for homeschooling options for my son who is 5 and half year old studying in cbse 1st std now. Since classes r crowded and individual attention is not possible, i cam to this as an alternative. Still in minds whether to do it or not. Many questions unanswered. Confused. My son has his own ways of asking many questions and forms his own conclusions at the end. I want to nurture this quality in him and i feel that in school he becomes quiet and shy and doesnt like to ask questions or take part in activities. But at home he likes to do them all. Also he seems to be always thinking and in his own world but can remember everything what teacher or i at home have said. he learns more and understand more from the environment and his surroundings. When i take tuition for my 3rd std student, my son likes to sit next to me and listen and some times answers the question correctly. This happens even when i am teaching 6th or higher std students.
    he likes to play game quiz in maths and keeps asking us what is 2+2 and 4+4 and the sequence continues till we get tired or we dont remember. But when we ask him to repeat the answer later, he remembers.
    Kindly advice on some aspects.
    1. if we do homeschool our son, what about board exams? How does he give them and will they count it during taking admission ion colleges if he has to pursue his stream of liking?
    2. Interschool and intra school competitions are held and school going kids participate regularly in them. How can my son take part in any of the inter school competitions if need be?
    3. if my husband gets a job abroad, will the schools there allow my son to get admission if he was home schooled for few years or longer period?
    4. What kind of certifications does he need or get to go ahead in life to make a career of his choice?
    5.
    Kindly help this very confused mother and father.
    Thanks and Regards.,
    Nivedita

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