The Right To Education Act was passed in 2009. It was a landmark piece of legislation, which aimed to ensure that every child in the country could access a free education. But buried within its rules were some stipulations that would, ironically, make education harder to reach for lakhs of students.
Specifically, the act, in confusing terms, mandated a teacher-student ratio of 1:30. This led to the closure of thousands of schools that had fewer students. Hardest hit were children in villages in remote, forested regions, who attended small schools, many run by single teachers.
This week, Johanna Deeksha and Malini Subramaniam report from Kerala and Chhattisgarh, to trace the devastating effects that this rule, and another policy from 2017, have had on the education of the country's most vulnerable students.
As one expert said, echoing the worries of lakhs of families, “Where will these children go?”
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