Primary Education in India


Primary Education in India – An Introduction

Primary school is the preferred term in United Kingdom and Commonwealth Nations whereas elementary school is the preferred term in North America. It is a stage of learning which a child undergoes after preschool and before secondary school. Children of the age group of five to eleven undergo such an education. Soon after attaining independence in 1947, the entire concerned Government departments took up the task of providing basic education to all children. The requisite amount of resolve, resources, responsibilities, efforts and actions were initiated by both by the concerned international bodies and by the statutory legislation of the Indian Government to ensure that every child irrespective of race, gender or status were able to complete primary school.

Primary Education in India - Demographics

Today, 18 crore children are taught by 57 lakh teachers in 12 lakh primary and upper primary schools in the country. Over 98% children have access to primary schools within one kilometre of their habitation and almost 92% to an upper primary school within three kilometre of their habitation. There has been a significant reduction of school drop outs from 8 million in 2009 to 3 million in 2012. Private schools have also contributed in increasing universalisation of education mainly in the urban areas. Though astounding success on the quantitative front has been accomplished the qualitative front has been a disaster. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2012) for rural India released recently by PRATHAM an NGO exposes the qualitative hollowness of the primary education system of India.

The National Council of Education Research and Training is the apex body for school education in India. The respective state governments through their education departments also are responsible for the primary education. The evaluation of the students are conducted by the institutions themselves and up gradation decided by the merits achieved by them.

Primary Education in India - Future

Basically for a knowledge society it is the quality that matters and not the quantity. It is unfortunate that the thrust of primary education in India is taking a quantitative dimension rather than qualitative. It is basically the planning and judicious deployment of resources which determines the inclusiveness and expansion of both these aspects. There is no doubt that the reach of primary education in India should be increased and expanded to include one and all, but it is also essential that we create a knowledge oriented human resource capital base, which is one of the main sources of our economic development .

The resource in this regard in the hands of the government is limited. It would be appropriate that avenues for resource augmentation in the matter be explored and implemented. The appropriate avenues existing are:-

  • Inviting aid from foreign donors and institutions.
  • Inviting foreign institutions to open establishments in the country.
  • Inviting private players in the field.
  • Granting incentives to corporate sector for deploying their CSR funds to this sector either directly or through a pooled fund with corporate control and accountability.
  • The government should basically direct its thrust in rural areas due to the reach of its establishment and inclusion of the needy masses.

It is obvious that primary education in India with the adoption of quantitative inclusiveness and qualitative refinement will provide a stepping stone for creating a new generation of global knowledge citizens.

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