Inderjit Bains

From policy to practice: what is the role of India’s Right to Education Act in facilitating inclusive education for disadvantaged children?

Supervisors: Dr Prithvi Perepa and Dr Laura Day Ashley

In India, the movement towards including all children into the education system has been gaining momentum, and providing an inclusive education for all children is a goal which the country is steadily taking steps towards.  Within this context, private schools are increasingly viewed as playing an important role in solving social concerns about education exclusion.  During the last two decades in particular, great efforts have been made towards enabling school access for all children, and the private sector is playing a key part in this initiative.

Towards this goal, the Right to Education Act (RTE) of 2009 is viewed as a significant national policy for creating a fairer system so that all children can have opportunities for learning.  In particular, Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE is seen as potentially offering greater opportunities for disadvantaged children to gain a quality and inclusive schooling experience.  RTE Section 12(1)(c) states that 25% of places in unaided private schools must be allocated to economically weaker or marginalised children, and it therefore presents a unique opportunity for many disadvantaged children to gain entry and learn in schools which they cannot normally access. 

Although twelve years have passed since the RTE Act was implemented, little is still known about the experiences of children who have gained private school placements under Section 12(1)(c).  The present qualitative study therefore aims to evaluate how schools under RTE Section 12(1)(c) support children with their learning, and the extent we can say this learning is inclusive.  Furthermore, given the absence of evidence regarding child and adult experiences of the 25% provision, it seeks to investigate this issue by exploring the views and experiences of different actors connected to private schools, namely pupils, parents, teachers and non-teaching staff.

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  • BA Modern European Studies (Nottingham Trent University)
  • MSc Development Studies (Birkbeck College, University of London)
  • MA Social Research (University of Birmingham)

Research interests

  • Social and educational inclusion
  • Inequality and social justice in education
  • Privatisation of education
  • Research with children and young people
  • Teaching and learning


Inderjit is a current PhD Education student at the University of Birmingham where my research involves exploring the role of the private sector in shaping learning and inclusion experiences for disadvantaged children in India. He is an experienced ESOL, Literacy and Academic skills teacher and trainer specialising in developing the language, cultural and social needs of teenagers and adults.

He has 20 years’ experience as a teacher and trainer, and previously spent several years teaching migrant and refugee learners in Further Education. With significant experience teaching General and Academic English as a Foreign or Second Language to children and adults; as well as developing teaching and learning material.  In the past, I’ve also worked as an English language teacher in Spain, Argentina and Myanmar. 

Professional memberships

British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE): student member

Conference papers

Domus Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Histories of Education and Childhood (DOMUS), University of Birmingham: “Understanding policy uptake through lenses of the past, present and future: analysis of India’s 25% reservation policy for disadvantaged children in private schools”, September 2021. Presentation with Laura Day Ashley.

Accordion title

UKFIET, The Education and Development Forum: blogpost: “Private school inclusion for disadvantaged children in India: before and during the pandemic” October 2021