He said that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 mandates the provision of free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years and over time, its continuing implementation will have a positive effect on higher education too.
Most eligible habitations in the country have been provided with neighbourhood schools, residential school or transportation facilities, to provide access to elementary education.
As per the District Information System for Education (DISE), the enrolment of children at the elementary level has increased from 18.77 crore in 2008-09 to 19.90 crore in 2011-12 which will further enhance the demand for higher education.
The schedule to the RTE Act had specified norms and standards for schools for which considerable progress has been made by all the States and UTs with regard to meeting the standards given in the schedule to the RTE Act, 2009.
As per the DISE 2011-12, in Government and Government aided schools 59.05% schools had a Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) as prescribed; 65.35% of the schools had girls' toilets; 87.81% had boys' toilets; 94.26% schools had drinking water; and 61.66% had ramps.
The focus of SSA/RTE is on improving quality of education so that students passing out of elementary schools are able to pursue secondary, senior secondary and higher education.