India has been successful in adapting to the ever-changing global standards of education. We have seen a steady rise and many improvements in our education system since Independence.
The Indian education system history dates back to the ‘Gurukul’ system. Since then, a lot has changed; with major changes being recorded post-independence. Independent India witnessed increasing literacy rates and a number of educational institutes.
Today, the literacy rate has grown from 12% (1947), to 18.33% (1951), to 64.8% (2001), to 74.04% (currently). Kerala tops the list as the most educated state with a literacy rate of 93.91%. Bihar is the least literate state in India, with a literacy of 63.82%. Moreover, there is a large disparity in the literacy rates between different states, and also between both genders, that is still prevalent. (Source: worldpopulationreview)
Besides general education, technical education plays a key role too. The government has established several Industrial Training and Management Institutes; Polytechnics, Engineering, Medical and Dental colleges; in the past few decades. Governing authorities like The ‘National Council of Educational Research and Training’ (NCERT) and ‘State Council of Educational Research and Training’ (SCERT) are responsible for the development of the education system on respective levels. The university regulator, ‘University Grants Commission’ (UGC) formally established in 1956, has the right to disburse grants to universities and colleges.
Let’s take a look at the development the country has seen in the past 70 years.
Kothari Commission (1964 – 66)
This was the sixth commission in the history of education commissions in India. The earlier 5 commissions did not deal with education as a whole.
The Kothari commission emphasized equality to education for all people without discrimination. It presented a new educational pattern of 10+2+3.
National Policy on Education (1968 & 1986)
This policy implemented the earlier recommendations as per Kothari Commission. The primary focus here was universal primary education.
This included the introduction of new patterns of education, three language formula, introduction of regional languages in higher education, development of agricultural and industrial education and adult education. To combat the socio-economic needs of the country, a new National Policy on Education was announced in 1986. This included primary education for all, secondary education provisions and the specialisation of higher education.
Admission & Institution Growth
In 1947, India had only 19 universities and 400 schools, and we had only 5000 students.
More than 26 million students have taken admission in the country since then, and there are more than 1.5 million schools with 751 universities and 35,539 colleges. The number of educational institutions in India tripled from 1950s to 80. The primary schools experienced rapid growth because of the high priority bestowed on elementary education. (Source: techjosh.com)
Education for All (2000-01)
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for children from 6 to 14 years old was launched in 2000-2001, to ensure mandatory elementary education to all. (Source: opinionfront)
This aimed at ensuring availability of schools and infrastructure, especially in the rural areas, with a focus on girl-students. In government-aided institutions, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was also introduced to increase the number of students attending school, and to provide nutrition to them at a minimal rate.
Mahila Samakhya Programme (1989)
The pre-independence period saw very less educated women. However due to the government’s efforts, there has been a large improvement.
The ‘Mahila Samakhya Programme’ was launched to give equal quality education to women, to boost their confidence, and enable them to make valuable contributions to the society at large.
Right to Education Act – RTE
#DidYouKnow India is one of 135 countries to make education a basic right for all children when the law came into force on April 1, 2010. (Source: techjosh.com)
The RTE is a federal law issued to emphasize on the importance of free and compulsory education for children aged 6 to 14 in India. This required all private schools to maintain 25% of the seats allocated to underprivileged children.
These are the stepping stones on our way to educational excellence, and India still has a long way to go. The nation has a potential to do much better. Poverty and a huge population still remain major contributing factors for India’s low literacy rate. Yet, let’s aim to improve even further so every child in the country can fulfil their educational dreams and aspirations.