Government of India states that there is nothing illegal about homeschooling

There have been concerns amongst homeschoolers about the RTE Act makeing homeschooling illegal. An affidavit filed by the Government of India on July 18, 2012 in response to a writ petition (No 8870 of 2011) filed by Ms Shreya Sahay & others in Delhi High Court comes as a welcome relief. The petitioners of this landmark case are represented in the court by Advocate Somnath Bharti.

The seven page counter affidavit submitted on behalf of the respondent (Union of India and others) by Sh DP Majhi (Under Secretary, Department of School and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India) clearly states that there is nothing illegal about homeschooling and that RTE Act does not, in any way, makes home schooling illegal.

Parts of the affidavit that talk about NIOS and Homeschooling are reproduced below:

Point 10 of the affidavit
With regards to alternate education undertaken by the NIOS, it may be informed that Ministry had allowed the NIOS to continue with its Open Basic Education (OBE) for children in the 6 to 14 years age group up to march 2013. For the period beyond that, a Committee constituted by the Ministry has recommended continuation of the OBE programme of the NIOS for period beyond March 2013. The Government has further extended the OBE programme of the NIOS up to March 2015.

Point 11 of the affidavit
With regard to allowing home schooling as an alternate for of school education and the proposition that because of the RTE Act home schooling is illegal, it may be mentioned that what the RTE ACT seeks to achieve is to provide a right to children in the age of 6 to 14 years to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school. The RTE Act also vests certain responsibilities on schools other that those established, owned and managed by the appropriate Government of local authority. It needs to be clarified that the ACT is with regard to the rights of the children and does not compel children to go to a neighbourhood school. In fact under the Act, the compulsion is on the appropriate Government and the local authority to provide free and compulsory education to all children in the said age group. The compulsion therefore is not on the children but on that Government. As mentioned in the letter dated 10.1.2011 written by this Ministry to Mrs Michael P Donnelly (page 159 of the WP), parents who voluntarily opt for systems of home schooling and such alternate forms of schooling may continue to do so. The RTE Act does not come in the way of such alternate schooling methodologies or declare such form of education illegal.

11 thoughts on “Government of India states that there is nothing illegal about homeschooling”

  1. As a long time homeschooler I have been asked to comment on this point by the newspapers and other forums on various occasions. I have categorically stated always that the existence of the NIOS school board clearly indicates the freedom that parents and children have to guide their own children and the board provides for the certification of the child’s education when he or she requires it to pursue higher education. In a purist’s mind this is still providing a fixed format for ‘education’ at a higher level which is arbitrary and based on specific texts etc. Its better than nothing. In the USA they have the SAT test which is not text based but knowledge based and as such it tests your knowledge. I hope that Swashikshan grows in stature to the extent where these type of exams are developed for homeschoolers who wish to go for higher studies. I recently wrote in the HT in Delhi that Edison was thrown out of school at the 4th grade and thank god for it. He invented the new era with electricity and the light bulb. As Mark Twain said “I never let school interfere with my education”.

    1. This should pave a way for 10 committed small time teachers establish an alternate school developing creativity beyond school inspectors. This movement, under examinations of national Open school and also probable examinations certifying creativity / Learn-ability like SAT of US would do well for India.

  2. Home Schooling is good for the affluent and who can afford to books and other facilities of their own. But children of illiterate parents and disadvantaged have to look for Government Schools.

    In a commercialised education system in India. Homeschooling is cost effective, children are protected from all forms of abuses (especially girls children), and untoward incidents on the negligence of school managements( recently in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu children are killed by the negligence of the regular schools). So the parents can be from fear of loosing their children in a home school set up.

    I have regular to school till class 9 (passed,1982)and left the school because of fear of mindless beating by the teachers and very strict Warden in the hostel. When I grew up. I myself educated and passed SSLC (10Th) privately and BA IGNOU, Doing PGDM(70% over. Learner can Learn from any mode or set up. In this juncture I appreciate Homeschooling as an ALTERNATIVE to all the regular system.


    Central Govt has reversed it’s previous stand….please click the above link and clarify.
    Details are as follows:
    ‘RTE does not allow home schooling’
    Abhinav Garg, TNN Oct 23, 2012, 12.41AM IST
    NEW DELHI: In an important reversal of stand, the Centre has admitted that the Right to Education Act doesn’t allow home schooling.

    Admitting that the earlier stand was incorrect, the Centre last week urged Delhi high court to permit it to file a fresh affidavit clarifying its stand in respect of home schooling vis-a-vis the RTE Act.

    The U-turn by the Centre came on a petition filed by a student who argued that individuals had the right to choose their mode of education. The petition, filed by one Shreya Sahai through her mother, contended that RTE does not cater to gifted or talented children who leave the schooling system, or those in alternative schools and this anomaly must be addressed.

    In response, the Centre had claimed by way of an affidavit submitted in July this year that RTE equates schooling with education and said those who opt for home-schooling are free to do so. The RTE Act, which came into effect on April 1, 2010, makes it mandatory for every child (from six to 14 years old) to be enrolled in a formal school.

    Intervening in the adjudication of the petition, Social Jurist advocate Ashok Agarwal had strongly objected to the Centre’s stand and argued that the demand on the part of Sahai for home-schooling/alternative forms of schooling and the stand taken by the Centre in support of such a demand is based on a completely casual and erroneous interpretation of the letter, spirit and intent of the RTE Act. Aggarwal contended this might lead to dismantling and weakening of the RTE Act.

    In the latest hearing, the court gave time to the Centre to file a new affidavit. Earlier, the Centre had also said that National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for children in the age group of 6-14 years will only be allowed to run up to 2015. “Parents who voluntarily opt for alternative forms of schooling may continue to do so. The RTE Act does not come in the way of such alternate schooling methodologies or declare such form of education illegal,” it had stated.

  4. OBE has been extended till 2017 by MHRD. I got a copy of the order at Regional Office,NIOS,Bangalore. I have also mailed the scanned copy of it to this website’s contact mail ID. Lets hope, the same common sense prevails in the coming future too.

  5. Justin alathara joseph

    Hello I am a parent of 7 year old girl child she is having problems with the careless teachers misbehave and unnecessary beating and heavy bag carrying to the third floor etc I would like to know the possibilities of home education in kerala.

  6. Hi,

    Please provide me details about homeschooling for child who will be stepping to 4th grade next year, my daughter is in 3rd std now…i was looking for homeschooling details ,procedure and Fee… I reside in Bangalore , would be helpful if there is any institute or branch in bangalore where i can contact for more details.


  7. i want to homeschool my daughter. she is six years. she have done her kindergarten. please help me as there is no one around who is homeschooling their kids. i live in pujab and tell me please whether it is legal here.

  8. Hi, IAm mother of 13 year old boy from Bangalore iam planning to do home schooling for my son for grade 9 ICSE syllabus, kindly guide me in this regard, like if u can help me with the homeschooling details in Bangalore,like thier contact no or website details.Awaiting for your reply

    Thank u..

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