Prior to the passage of the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, government registration or recognition of private schools was not mandatory in most Indian states. The Act has drawn heavy criticism for its impact on recognised and unrecognised private schools across India. Its uniform input-oriented regulatory approach does not pay attention to the fact that children from all socioeconomic classes attend private schools. Application of uniform principles to all schools, irrespective of the fee charged, ignores the costs of compliance with the mandated input norms, and the implicit penalty imposed on low-income parents. Worst of all, the enforcement of the Act threatens to shut down well-performing schools who may not have the means to comply with input norms.
Nearly 10 years after the passage of the Act, we are yet to have credible estimates from the government on the regulatory impact of RTE, particularly on children attending low-fee private schools.
Against this backdrop, the report provides estimates on the extent of school closures as a result of enforcing private school recognition norms prescribed under RTE.