The Act lays down minimum norms and standards for all schools, government and private, through a mandatory schedule.
This includes number of teaching days per year, number of teaching hours per day, number of rooms, availability of teaching learning materials, library, toilets, safe drinking water, playground, kitchen for mid-day meals, Pupil Teacher Ratio, subject teachers in classes 6 to 8, part time art, work and physical instructors and so on.
Governments and private managements have three years to upgrade their existing schools to these minimum norms, barring which they will not be allowed to operate. Governments have to provide such a neighbourhood school to all children within three years, i.e. by March 31, 2013. The prescribed norms are minimum, which implies that nothing stops state governments/managements to have higher norms than those listed in the schedule. In particular, if some schools already have higher norms, it does not imply that they reduce those norms to match the schedule.