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Is home-educating legal in India?

Home-educating, also known as homeschooling, is a form of alternative education that allows parents to teach their children at home instead of sending them to formal schools. Homeschooling has been gaining popularity in India in recent years, especially due to the pandemic and the shift to online learning. However, many parents and educators are unsure about the legal status and practical challenges of homeschooling in India. In this blog post, we will try to answer some of the common questions related to home-educating in India.
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The short answer is yes. Home-educating is legal in India, as there is no law that prohibits it. The Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 and 14 years, does not specify where or how the education is received. The Act only requires that children receive an education; it does not forbid parents from providing it at home. Indian courts also do not consider homeschooling or online education to be a violation of Sections 18 and 19 of RTE 2009.
However, the legal status of homeschooling is not very clear or well-defined in India. There are no specific guidelines or regulations for homeschooling parents or students. There are also no official records or statistics on the number of homeschoolers in India. Therefore, homeschooling parents may face some difficulties or uncertainties when dealing with authorities or institutions that require proof of education, such as colleges, universities, employers, etc.

How can home-educating parents register their children and take exams?

One of the main challenges that homeschooling parents face is how to register their children and take exams that are recognized by the government or other institutions. There are a few options available for homeschooling parents in this regard:
- The National Institute for Open Schools (NIOS), a government agency, offers distance education programs that allow parents to enroll their children and take required exams. NIOS offers courses from primary to secondary level, as well as vocational courses. NIOS exams are equivalent to CBSE exams and are accepted by most colleges and universities in India.
- The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), a globally recognized curriculum offered by Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), is another option for homeschooling parents who want to follow an international curriculum. IGCSE offers courses from primary to secondary level, as well as advanced level courses for higher education. IGCSE exams are accepted by many colleges and universities around the world.
- The Maharashtra Rajya Mukta Vidyalay Mandal (MRMVM), also known as Open SSC Board, is a platform launched by the Maharashtra government in 2019 for students who wish to benefit from homeschooling. MRMVM allows students from Class 5 to Class 12 to register and take exams that are equivalent to SSC exams. MRMVM is especially suited for students who have other interests or obligations that prevent them from attending regular schools, such as athletes, artists, disabled people, seniors, etc.

Are there any support groups or resources for home-educating parents and students?

Yes, there are many online and offline support groups and resources for home-educating parents and students in India. Some of them are:

Indian Association of Homeschoolers

This is a network of homeschooling families across India that provides information, guidance, and support for homeschoolers.  Swashikshan organizes events, workshops, camps, and conferences for homeschoolers and also advocates for their rights and recognition.

Alternative Education India

This is a website that lists various alternative schools and learning centers in India that offer different approaches and philosophies of education. Alternative Education India also provides articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, and books on alternative education.

Learning Societies Unconference

This is an annual event that brings together people who are interested in alternative education, self-directed learning, unschooling, community living, etc. The event provides a space for sharing experiences, ideas, practices, and resources on alternative education.
In conclusion, home-educating is a valid educational option in India, and it is legal. However, it is not without its challenges, and home-educating parents must be prepared to take on significant responsibility for their children's education. Home-educating parents must also be aware of the various options and resources available for them to ensure that their children receive a quality education that meets their.
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