Elementary Education in India

Elementary Education in India – An Introduction

In the year 1950 the Constitution in Article 45 under the Directive Principles of State Policy resolved that “….State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education to all children till they complete the age of fourteen”. Thereafter many Constitutional amendments were made with intent to give a boost to elementary education in India. In 2002 the Government through the 86th Constitutional Amendment took a phenomenal step by making elementary education in India a fundamental right. The extreme and ultimate step adopted by the Government was in 2009 when it passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.

Elementary Education in India - Primary Education

Elementary education in India comprises education imparted to children from class I to class VIII as per records of Census 2011 and Ministry of Human Resources Development. It includes children in the age bracket 6-13 years. Elementary education is imparted after early childhood education and before secondary education. The total number of children receiving elementary education per the census 2011 figures was 19.73 crores which was 16.3% of the national population. The number of elementary schools grew by 6.8% annually between 1950-51 to 2004-2005. Children of the elementary school comprised 79.4% of the total school going children. Out of every 100 elementary school student 52 were boys and 48 girls. Over the years the government’s expenditure on elementary education as a percentage of GNP has been more or less constant at 1.58% in 2005-6. Despites accomplishing some quantitative milestones the attainment of the qualitative aspect, gender and social inequalities however, remains an unfulfilled assignment of the government.

“Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” (Universalization of Elementary Education), by far the largest educational initiative worldwide and Midday Meal Scheme introduced by the Government in 2001 has helped in swelling, retaining, reducing hunger and malnourishment of students amongst the elementary school section.

Elementary Education in India -Secondary Education

The apex body for deciding the curriculum of elementary education in India is the National Council of Education Research and Training. Other bodies which decide the curriculum are:-

  • Central Board of Secondary Education.
  • Education departments of the State Governments.
  • Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination.
  • Darool Uloom Deobandh for Madrassa education.
  • National Institute of Open Schooling.
  • Besides few other small councils.

The curriculum of Central Board of secondary Education has the largest national following. The designing of the curriculum has been made in such a manner that as the student advances in his education chain his domain status of existing knowledge is widened and new subjects included for value addition of unexplored knowledge befitting his age and mental absorption propensity, besides developing his cultural, analytical colloquial faculties and horizon. The choice of domain subjects also exists for the students to decide their future field of specialisation on their opting for higher level of studies.

Elementary Education in India -Future

The Governments holistic approach to the 8 years elementary education in India is

  • Reduce the children not attending school by 9 million in the 6-14 years age bracket.
  • Reduce gender and social barriers enabling equalisation of male female enrolment.
  • Qualitative enhancement of elementary level education enabling improved learning and transition rates from primary education.
  • Disclaimer: This information has been collected from secondary research .we are not responsible for any errors in the same.


  • MHRD – Education statistics at a glance – 2013. New Delhi: Government of India.
  • Elementary Education in India – Rustagi & Shiva Kumar, 2010, New Delhi: Oxfam India.

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