After Kothari Commission’s (1964) recommendation the introduction of National Education Policy 1986, Rajiv Gandhi announced a new Education policy. The National Policy on Education (NPE), was interested to prepare India for the 21st century. The policy emphasized the need for change and noted ‘Education in India stands at the Crossroads today.

According to the mew policy, the 1986 policy goals and largely been achieved: more than 90% of schooling facilities and more states had adopted a common Education structure. The prioritization of science and mathematics has also been effective. The 1986 policy was reviewed by a committee constituted in 1990 under the chairmanship of Acharya Ramamurti. On the basis of the recommendations of this committee, certain provisions of the 1986 policy were modified in 1992.

Apart from the above mentioned three important national policies, following initiatives have been taken:

  1. Operation Blackboard (1987) aimed to improve the human and Physical resources available in primary school.
  2. Restructuring and reorganization of Teacher Education (1987) created a resource for the continuous upgrading of teacher’s knowledge and competence.
  3. Minimum levels of learning (1991) laid down levels of achievement at various stages and revised textbooks.
  4. National programme for Nutritional support to Primary Education (1995) provided a cooked meal every day for children in class I-IV of all govt., govt.-aided, and local body schools.
  5. District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) (1993) emphasized decentralized planning and management, improved teaching and learning materials, and schools effectiveness.
  6. Sarve Shikha Abhijan (SSA) (2001), aimed at universalizing elementary Education of satisfactory quality in the country. The programme in now a flagship programme of the govt.
  7. The Rashtriya Madhymik Shikha Abhijan (RMSA) on the lines of SSA, is expected to bring in the desired investments in Secondary Education and facilitate the process of universalizing secondary education in the country.

India has the largest Education system in the world after China. However, issues of the quality Education and access remains challenges in some parts of the country. The Right to Education (RTE) is now a Fundamental right for all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. In simple words, it means that the eight standard, free of cost, irrespective of class and gender. However, it will take at least five years before the target is reached. This is because the infrastructure has to be built, and lakhs of teachers recruited.

The RTE is the first legislation in the world that puts the responsibility of enrolment, attendance and completion of Education on the government. Though the National Education Policy of 1968 talked of a free and compulsory Education, the Right to Education came into effect only in April 2010. To fulfil the promise the imparting Education as a right the government has enhanced funds to the Education sector. In the current budget (2011-2012), an increase of 24 per cent has been made in allocation for the Education sector. India’s effective literacy rate has recorded a 9.2 per cent rise to reach 74.04 per cent, according to provisional data of the 2011 census. Effective literacy rate in 2001 census was 64.83,which has improved to 74.04 per cent.

The last Education commission under the British, the sergeant commission, had in 1945 envisaged a forty year time frame for universal Education; that is by 1985. The constitution did not enact Education a fundamental right, but made the article 45 of the Directive principles, calling on the state to ‘Endeavour to provide free and compulsory Education to all children up to age 14’ the only time bound article, directing the state to accomplish the task in 10 years, that is by 1960.

  1. The new article 21A, which was inserted as part of the 86th Amendment says that “the state shall provide free and compulsory Education to all children between the ages 6 to 14 through a law that it may determine”.
  2. The 42nd Amendment(1976) to make Education a ‘Concurrent’ subject for expansion of Primary Education facilities, particularly in backwards areas, Education easy to all, free and compulsory Education, prioritization to universalization of primary Education.
  3. Article 29 states that the minorities shall have the right to preserve their distinct language, script or culture.
  4. Article 29(2) declares that “no citizen shall be denied admission into any Educational institution maintained by the state or re-achieving aid out of state fund on grounds any of religion, race, caste, language, or any of them”.
  5. Article 30 gives protection to religious and linguistic minorities. They have the right to establish and administer institutions of their choice.
  6. Article 30(1-A) says that in case of any property of an Educational institution established and administered by a minority being acquainted by the state, the state shall ensured that the amount fixed for such acquired property should be such as would not restrict or abrogate the rights of the minority.
  7. Article 30(2) prohibits state from discriminating in granting aid to Educational institutions managed by the religions and linguistic minorities.
  8. Article 28(1) prohibits religious instruction in any Educational wholly maintained out of the state funds.
  9. Article 28(2) nothing in clause (1) shall apply to an Educational institution which is administered by the state but has been established under any endowment or trust which requires the religions instructions shall be imported in such institution.
  10. Article 28(3) No person attending any Educational institution recognized by the state be required to take part in any religious institution that may be imported in such institution or any premises attached there to –unless such as a person is a minor, his guardian has given consent there to.
  11. Article 46 deals Education of the socially and Educationally backward classes of the citizen.
  12. Article 350A deals facilities for instruction in mother tongue of Primary Stage.

Right to Education Act (2009) is a landmark initiative of the government to strengthen the Education system in India. 13.Under this act it is mandatory to complete elementary Education of all children, who reside in Indian Territory. Now Education is fundamental right to every Indian.

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