The addition of the Right to Education (RTE) in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was the beginning of a remarkable expansion of educational opportunities around the world. The parliament of India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) on August 2009. The same got enforced on April 1st 2010.
As per the act, education is a fundamental right of every child who is between 6 and 14 years old. The act also states that until the completion of elementary education, no child shall be held back, expelled or required to pass a board examination. There is also a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the same age.
As a charity for child rights, Smile Foundation has been providing education to marginalized children in poor rural and urban communities in 25 states of the country. Its flagship programme – Mission Education exemplifies the global struggle for universal education. The programme has succeeded in bringing more than 200,000 children to school since its start in the year 2002.
Underprivileged kids lag at all stages of education. When earning a livelihood and taking care of the members of the family becomes a primary matter of concern in one’s life, education stands a little or, very often, no chance of pursuance. For the millions of underprivileged people in India, education is a high-priced luxury, and this negative outlook continues on with every new generation. Poverty damages childhood with significant effects on a child’s physical and mental health, as well as educational achievement. It limits the expectations of the child’s ability to perform well in school, constantly reminding him/her of the miniscule chance he/she has to overcome adversity and poverty.
With its development interventions that are focused on social welfare of children, Smile Foundation has raised those expectations among the hardest-to-reach children. Recent mark-sheets of the students in all ME centers has shown Smile Foundation primary school students outperforming their peers, with a very high passing rate. Last year, 51% of the total beneficiaries in Mission Education centers across India were girls. Also, 87% of the total eligible students are successfully mainstreamed in private and government schools.