12 Major Constitutional Provisions on Education in India

There are some changes regarding the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution. During 1976 our constitution was amended in many of its fundamental provisions. Under the Constitution of India, the Central Government has been specifically vested with several educational responsibilities.

1. Free and Compulsory Education:

The Constitution makes the following provisions under Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy that, “The state shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory Education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.”

The expression ‘State’ which occurs in this Article is defined in Article 12 to include “The Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.” It is clearly directed in Article 45 of the Constitution that the provision of Universal, Free and Compulsory Education becomes the joint responsibility of the Centre and the States.

In the Constitution it was laid down that within 10 years, i.e., by 1960 universal compulsory education must be provided for all children up to the age of 14, But unfortunately, this directive could not be fulfilled. Vigorous efforts are needed to achieve the target of 100 percent primary education. The Central Government needs to make adequate financial provisions for the purpose. At the present rate of progress it may, however, be expected that this directive may be fulfilled by the end of this century.

2. Education of Minorities:

Article 30 of the Indian Constitution relates to certain cultural and educational rights to establish and administer educational institutions.

It lays down:

(i) All minorities whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

(ii) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

3. Language Safeguards:

Article 29(1) states “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.” Article 350 B provides for the appointment of special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate into all matters relating to safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

4. Education for Weaker Sections:

Article 15, 17, 46 safeguard the educational interests of the weaker sections of the Indian Community, that is, socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Article 15 states, “Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall prevent the state from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes.”

Under Article 46 of the Constitution, the federal government is responsible for the economic and educational development of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

It states. “The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular, of the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” It is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

5. Secular Education:

India is a secular country. It is a nation where spirituality based on religion, had always been given a high esteem. Under the Constitution, minorities, whether based on religion or language, are given full rights to establish educational institutions of their choice. Referring to the constitutional provisions that religious instructions given in institutions under any endowment or Trust, should not be interfered with even if such institutions are helped the State.

Article 25 (1) of the Constitution guarantees all the citizens the right to have freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate religion.

Article 28 (1) states, “No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution if wholly maintained out of state fund.”

Article 28 (2) states, “Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to an educational institution which is administered by the State but has been established under any endowment or Trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted to such institution.”

Article 28 (3) states, “No person attending any educational institution by the state or receiving aid out of state funds, shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imported in such institutions or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto.”

Article 30 states, “The state shall not, in granting aid to 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.”

6. Equality of Opportunity in Educational Institutions:

Article 29(1) states “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.”

The Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution has also adopted the fourfold ideal of justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Our Constitution laid down that in the eyes of law, everyone should have an equal status, to no one the justice be denied, everyone should have liberty of thought, expression.

The fundamental right of equality clearly signifies that in the eyes of law no distinction can be made on the basis of any position, caste, class or creed. Side by side the right of equality of opportunities to all is also provided. The equality of opportunity is meaningless, unless there are equal opportunities for one’s education.

The well-known Kothari Commission, 1964-66 recommended that Central Government should undertake the responsibility in education for the equalization of educational opportunities with special reference to the reduction of inter-state differences and the advancement of the weaker section of the community.

7. Instruction in Mother -Tongue:

There is diversity of languages in our country. After the dawn of Independence, Mother- Tongues have received special emphasis as medium of instruction and subjects of study. In the Constitution of India, it has been laid down that the study of one’s own language is a fundamental right of the citizens.

Article 26 (1) states, “Any section of the citizens, residing in the territory of India or any part there of, having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to converse the same.”

Article 350 A directs, “It shall he endeavour of every state and every local authority to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.”

Secondary Education Commission, 1952-53 recommended that the mother tongue or the regional language should generally be the medium of instruction throughout secondary school stage subject to the provision that for linguistic minorities, special facilities should be made available. Kothari Commission, 1964-66 has also said that at college and university stage, mother-tongue should be the medium. The medium of instruction at school level is already mother-tongue. This is not a new proposal.

8. Promotion of Hindi:

The Indian Constitution makes provision for the development and promotion of Hindi as national language. Article 351 enjoins the Union, the duty to promote the spread of the Hindi language.

Hindi accepted as the Official Language of India as laid down by the Constitution in following words:

“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 of all the elements of the composite culture of India.” In practice, Hindi is already largely in use as a link language for the country. The educational system should contribute to the acceleration of this process in order to facilitate the movement of student and teacher and to strengthen national Unity.

9. Higher Education and Research:

Parliament has the exclusive rights to enact legislation in respect of institutions and Union Agencies mentioned in entries 63, 64, 65, and 66 of List. The entries which give authority to the Government of India in education are mentioned below:

Entry 63 of the Union List:

The institutions known at the commencement of this Constitution as the Banaras Hindu University, the Aligarh Muslim and the Delhi University, and any other institution declared by Parliament by law to be an Institution of National importance.

Entry 66 of the Union List:

Co-ordination and determination of standards in institution for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.

10. Women’s Education:

One of the unique features of Modem Indian Education is the tremendous advancement of Women’s Education. Education of the girls is considered to be more important than that of the boys.

The Constitution makes the following provisions under different articles:

Article 15(1) provides that the State shall not discriminate any citizen on groups only of sex.

Article 15 (3) reads: ”Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.”

The well-known National Policy on Education was concerned about the status and education of women in the country. It envisages that education would be used as a strategy for achieving a basic change in the status of women. It opined that the national system of education must play a positive role in this direction.

The Policy states, “Education will be used as an agent of basic change in the status of women. In order to neutralize the accumulated distortions of the past, there will be a well conceived edge in favour of women.”

11. Education in the Union Territories:

Article 239 of the Constitution states, “Save as otherwise provided by Parliament by Law, every Union Territory shall be administrator 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.”

12. Educational and cultural relations with foreign countries:

Entry 13 of the Union List reads. Participation in international conferences, associations and other bodies and implementing decisions made there at.

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