IMPLICATION OF CRC WITHIN INDIAN LEGAL FRAMEWORK
By- Thanima Bekal, 4th Year Law Student at SDM Law College, Mangalore
Children being the lever of development of India, the government needs to protect the children’s health and uphold their rights. Though the constitution of India under Fundamental right highlights the protection of children against exploitation still brutal activities like child abuse are found to be practiced. Education plays a vital role in molding a child’s future but poverty and illiteracy have subjugated the childhood of future generation, under Article 45 of the directive principle of state policy, it is mandatory to provide compulsory and free education to every child up to the age of 14yrs. So, this article emphasizes the educational right provided to the children after the ratification of the convention of rights of the child in connection with constitution provisions.
It is a natural tendency that every Child needs to be treated as human beings and should not be assessed as the property of their parents nor as a helpless project of charity and are the subject to their rights. Children at their tender age and immature mind need special care and protection. They have certain privileges and legal entitlements that are being accepted nationally. Most of the children in India are not fortunate enough to obtain their basic rights. A large sector of children who live in rural areas often has limited access to fundamental needs such as nutrition, access to healthcare, education, and protection. We believe that every child deserves childhood in all its fullness.
WHAT ARE CHILD’S RIGHTS?
In simple words, child rights are the subset of human rights with particular attention to the rights of protection and care afforded to minors. The (CRC) of 1989 states that any individual below the age of 18 is regarded as a child, unless under the law applicable to the child. Every child deserves basic rights irrespective of their age, race, and birthplace.
PROVISION FOR CHILD’S EDUCATION UNDER CRC
UNCRC was formulated to protect the basic rights of the children and came into effect on 2nd September 1990. It was a right-based approach rather than a welfare-based approach that mainly focused on children’s rights. Many of the countries adopted this convention and rectified the same in their domestic law. India also ratified CRC in the year 1992. It is the most widely ratified human rights convention. This convention comprises of 54 Articles and two Optional Protocols. This protocol emphasizes mainly on child abuse and the involvement of children in child pornography and illegal child trafficking. UN General Assembly approved the third optional protocol on 19th December 2011.
CRC recognizes education as a legal right to every child based on equal opportunity. It’s Article 28 which guarantees free and compulsory primary education, progressive free secondary education that should be available at any instance to all, and also accessibility to higher education. The right to free primary education is mainly for helping children in their holistic development and discipline. Article 29 speaks about mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. The government must make sure every child gets a good quality education. The right to education guarantees free and quality education to all children aged between 6 and 14 and also special facilities like Mid-Day Meal, Scholarships, and also reservations are provided in Private schools to encourage maximum enrolment of students from the underprivileged backgrounds.
INDIAN SCENARIO ON CHILDREN’S EDUCATION
Since ancient times, India has widely been appreciated for its rich tradition in the area of studies, learning and, education. It’s apotheosized as a land of learning. It’s known that people from other nations such as Europe, The Middle East, and Portugal visited India to get a rich and good quality education. From literature, ancient sciences to arts and philosophy the country has always been a destination for learners from across the world. One of the famous educational systems practiced in India in ancient times where the GurukulSystem. The main focus of the Gurukul’s was imparting learning in the students in natural surroundings. Ancient universities and institutions have drawn travelers and philosophers to sought knowledge from the rich Asian region. From 500 CE to 1200 CE has always stood as an educational hub. It was the first international residential university in the world. The institution was recognized and well known among scholars and students who traveled from different parts.
India ratified the UNCRC, in 1992. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007, which was passed to set up by The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) ACT, 2005. The commission began operation on 5th March 2007. The commission works under the protection of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Commission was asked to form special cells in schools to solve the problem of children. Though under Article 45 of the Indian constitution clearly states about providing compulsory education to the children up to 14 years was not practiced only after J.P.UnniKrishanan v. State of AP (1993) case it became paramount necessary to provide free education and compulsory education up to the age of 14 years. Drastic change happened when Right to education under Article 21A was inserted in Indian constitution as the fundamental right in the year 2002.
Though there are Acts and India has ratified UNCRC long back there are still many loopholes when it comes to children’s education. Unfortunately, the above concept followed in Gurukul or the education provided in Nalanda University has disappeared and at present the education system has taken a different route. Presently India with 1.33 billion populations is the world’s second populous country after China. Nearly 26 millions of children are born every year, but quality education and good health is still a dream to many. Relatively 40% of India’s population is below the age of 18years. Barely half of India’s children between the age 6-14years got to school. Extravagant private education and the need to work to support their families are the reasons given by many drop-outs every year. A higher proportion of the children do not get access to good quality of education due to lack of accessibility, financial issues, lack of interest, etc. Even though the government is providing a wide range of schemes and facilities to improve the quality of education to the underprivileged children, it is not reaching the actual beneficiary. There is a wide significant gap between policy and practice.
CRC being comprehensive convention which is interrelated to human right convention need to be implemented lawfully to protect the rights of every child by providing him proper education and health care which will promote them in their development trajectory. Unfortunately, many children are deprived of their childhood and education. There are NGOs that are contributing to child rights in India. Though there are acts regarding the same, still there are many loopholes. Good governance and appropriate implication of these acts and regulations can bring some changes in the children’s educational rights.
(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Child Rights Centre.)