What are the Constitutional Provisions Regarding Education in India?

15th August 1947 is a red letter day in Indian History when India got freedom. The Constitution of the country was adopted on Nov. 26, 1949 and came into force on Jan 26, 1950. The Preamble of the Constitution outlines the social philosophy which should govern all our institutions including educational. Right to Education is one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India gives a few directions and suggestions for the development of education in the countries which are also called constitutional provisions.

The following provisions have a great bearing on the functioning of the educational system in India:

Article 28:

According to our Constitution article 28 provides freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in educational institutions.

Article 29:

This article provides equality of opportunity in educational institutions.

Article 30:

It accepts the right of the minorities to establish and administrate educational institutions.

Article 45:

According to this article "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 14 years."

We notice that the responsibility for universal elementary education lies with the Central Government, the State Governments, the Local Bodies and voluntary organisations.

Article 46:

It provides for special care to the promotion of education and economic interests of the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and the weaker sections of society.

Article 337:

This provides for special provision with respect to educational grants for the benefit of Anglo-Indian community.

Article 350A:

This article relates to facilities for instruction in mother tongue at primary stage.

Article 350B:

It provides for a special offer for linguistic minorities.

Article 351:

This article relates to the development and promotion of the Hindi language.

The seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution contains legislative powers under three lists viz. The Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List

The Union List:

This list contains 97 subjects where the following entries are related to education:

Entry 13:

To provide Educational and Cultural relations with foreign countries.

Entry 62:

The institutions known at the commencement of the Constitution as National Library, The Indian Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Victoria Memorial, and Indian War Memorial. Any other such institutions financed by the Government of India wholly or in part and declared by the Parliament by law to be an institution of national importance.

Entry 63:

Institutions of national importance. The institution known at the commencement of this Constitution as the BHU, AMU and Delhi University etc. declared by Parliament by law to be an institution of national importance.

Entry 64:

The institution of scientific and technical education financed by the Government of India wholly or in part and declared by law to be institutions of national importance like IITs and lIMs.

Entry 65:

Union agencies and institutions for:

(i) Professional, vocational or technical training, including the training of police officers.

(ii) The promotion of special studies or research.

(iii) Scientific or technical assistance in the investigation of detection of crime.

Entry 66:

Coordination and determination of standards in the institution of higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.

State List:

State list consists of 66 entries, out of which the following is the entry related to education:

Entry 12:

According to this entry all libraries, museums and other similar institutions controlled or financed by the state, ancient and historical monuments and records other than those declared by or under law made by the Parliament to be of the national importance.

Concurrent List:

It comprises 47 entries, among them the following are related to education:

Entry 20:

Economic and social planning.

Entry 25:

Education, including technical education, medical education and universities subject to provision of entries 63,64,65,66 of list (Union List).

Entry 34:

Newspapers, books and printing presses.

Reservation in Education

(A) Education of minorities :

Article 28 of the Constitution has made certain provisions for the education of the minorities including

(i) No religious instruction shall be provided in educational institutions wholly maintained out of state funds.

(ii) If any institution has been established under any endowment trust even if administrated by state, can impart religious education.

(iii) None person attending an educational institution recognized by the state or receiving funds from state government shall be required to take part in any religious worship or instruction that may be conducted in such institutions or in any premises attached there to unless such person or if such person in a minor and his guardian has given his consent thereto.

(B) Cultural and Educational Rights:

Under article 29 and 30 for the protection of educational interest of minorities viz.

(i) Article 29 (i):

Any section of citizen residing in the territory of India on any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

(ii) Article 30 (i):

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

(iii) Article 30 (ii):

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

(iv) To make any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of any educational institutions established and administrated by minorities, the state shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict on abrogate the right guaranteed to them.

(C) Admissions:

(i) Article 29 (II) states that no citizen of India can be denied admission into any educational institution, which is either maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds oil ground only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

(ii)Article 15 (III) states that to make special provisions for women. Hence, separate educational institutions for women can be established.

(D) Mother Tongue:

For promotion of teaching of mother tongue the Constitution of India has made some provisions for Hindi language.

Article 350 (A):

It shall be endeavour of every state and local authorities with the state to provide adequate faculties for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups : the President may issue directions to any state as he considers necessary for recurring the facilities.

Article 351:

It is to promote the development of Hindi language and slates that it shall be the duty of the Central Government to promote the spread of Hindi language in the entire country.

(E) Right to Education:

Article 41 of the Constitution provides that "All the citizens have equal right to education ''. It states. "The state shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provisions for the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of employment, old age, sickness and disablement''.

(F) Weaker Section:

Our Constitution has made some special provisions for the weaker sections of our society viz.

Article 45:

The state shall endeavour to provide within a period often years from the commencement of the Constitution for the free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.

Article 46:

The state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of weaker sections of the people and, in particular, of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, and shall protect them social injustice and all forms of exploitations''.

The Supreme Court of India has given the following guidelines to promote education of the people:

(i) The state can make regulatory measures to promote efficiency of education.

(ii) Educational institutions of minority groups cannot claim immunity from general laws such as contract law, labour law and industrial law etc.

(iii) The state can take over the management of the institutions of minority groups in case of irregularity and inefficiency.

(iv)Teachers have the right to approach to the Arbitration Tribunal in case of any injustice to them by the institution.