Child Rights

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines Child Rights as the minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be afforded to every citizen below the age of 18 regardless of race, national origin, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origin, wealth, birth status, disability, or other characteristics.

These rights encompass freedom of children and their civil rights, family environment, necessary healthcare and welfare, education, leisure and cultural activities and special protection measures. The UNCRC outlines the fundamental human rights that should be afforded to children in four broad classifications that suitably cover all civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of every child:

Right to Survival

• Right to be born

• Right to minimum standards of food, shelter and clothing

• Right to live with dignity

• Right to health care, to safe drinking water, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help them stay healthy

Right to Protection

• Right to be protected from all sorts of violence

• Right to be protected from neglect

• Right to be protected from physical and sexual abuse

• Right to be protected from dangerous drugs

Right to Participation

• Right to freedom of opinion

• Right to freedom of expression

• Right to freedom of association

• Right to information

• Right to participate in any decision making that involves him/her directly or indirectly

Right to Development

• Right to education

• Right to learn

• Right to relax and play

• Right to all forms of development – emotional, mental and physical

The Right to Education

The father of modern education—John Amos Comenius proposed – “all persons should be educated, so we could have peace in the world”. Visionaries of the world understood that peace meant guaranteeing every person certain rights that are conditional for humanity—education being one of the most important.

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.

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.