India is a large and populated country, yet it is still in the process of development. Hence, one of the most essential factors that will contribute to transforming India from a developing country to a developed nation is education. If we carefully examine India’s demographics, we can see that the states and cities with the highest rate of literacy have better infrastructure and cutting-edge technology than other regions and cities. By providing individuals with knowledge, education opens up a world of possibilities for them. It is the development of learning in a variety of methods. As a result, international organizations, like UNESCO are developing a wide range of educational projects in India to build a modern and advanced country.
Importance of Education Growth in India
However, education is crucial for more than just bidding a progressive nation. In India, education is crucial for several reasons, including:
- Every Indian citizen has the right to get an education, irrespective of gender or social background.
- It encourages democracy in a nation that contains a civilized society.
- Education also contributes to the upliftment of economically underprivileged populations and results in the creation of numerous jobs and employment prospects.
- An effective education leads to the exchange of concepts, information, and ethical behaviour.
- Moreover, education ensures educated people a prosperous future.
- It also helps in the reduction of crime and terrorism.
- Education encourages people to think and act critically.
- People with higher levels of education benefit society, as they care more about things like education, cleanliness, social progress, etc.
- Education promotes cultural abilities in the individual.
- It develops a human personality.
- It enables people to make better choices in life and provides knowledge to understand several changes taking place in society.
- It develops science and technology that plays a significant role in enhancing productivity and efficiency.
Thus, a sustainable and comprehensive education system is crucial for the development of a country.
Growth of the Education Sector in India
The following observations indicate the growth of the education sector in India:
1. Elementary Education
Elementary Education includes students from class 1 to class 8 in the age group of 6 to 14 years. The National Policy on Education proposed free and compulsory education should be provided to all children up to the age of 14 years. Some of the important programs for the expansion and improvement of elementary education in the country are as follows:
(i) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: It was launched in 2001. Under this, the central government would work in partnership with the state, and local governments to achieve the goal of universal elementary education.
The goals of this scheme are as follows:
- Bridging the gap between the genders
- Universal Retention by 2016.
- Education Guarantee Centre, Alternative School, Back to School Camp by 2005.
(ii) Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovation Education: This scheme attempts to give children access to basic education. Therefore to increase student enrolment and retention in education, school camps have been started.
(iii) Mid-Day Meal Scheme: It was launched on 15th August 1995. The objective of this scheme is:
- To improve the nutritional status of children in primary class.
- To provide nutritional support to children in the primary stage in drought-affected areas during summer breaks.
- Encouraging poor children to attend school more regularly.
(iv) District Primary Education Programme: It was launched in 1994. The program takes a comprehensive view of primary education development and operationalises the strategy of Universalisation of Primary Education through district-specific planning. The program is implemented through state-level registered societies.
(v) Operation Blackboard: It was launched in the year 1987-88. The main objective is to provide essential facilities (two large rooms, two teachers, and learning equipment) in all primary schools.
2. Secondary Education
Since the implementation of universal primary education, it is essential to move toward the universalisation of secondary education. Therefore, it was decided to launch a Scheme for universalisation of Access to Secondary Education and improve the quality of the secondary stage during the 11th plan. The main goal of this program is to make education available, affordable, and accessible to all young students. Secondary level institutions increased from 7,416 in 1950-51 to 1.52 lakh in 2004-2005. The enrolment increased from 15 lakh to 371 lakh students during this period.
3. Vocational Education
The National Policy on Education(NPE) 1986 gave high priority to vocationalisation of education at the secondary stage. The revised NPE of 1992, diverted 10% of the students at the rationalisation+2 level to the vocational stream in 1995 and 25% by 2000. A centrally sponsored scheme of vocationalisation of education was launched in February 1998. The vocational courses are, programs introduced in six areas like agriculture, business and commerce, health and paramedical, engineering and technology, home science, humanities, and others. Several programs have been introduced for vocational education:
- Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC): This scheme was launched in 1974. The primary objective is to provide educational opportunities to disabled children in the school system to increase their retention and integration into the education system. The scheme provides 100% assistance for the education of disabled children. The components include educational aids, supporting equipment, and special teachers’ salaries.
- National Open School (NOS): The NOS, an autonomous organisation, was established in 1989 by the Central Government. This aims to provide education to the school and those who can not attend dropouts regular school. It was an innovation in formal education. It focuses on enhancing social equity, and justice and creating a learning society. During the 11th plan, the National Institute of Open Schooling was developed to pen new schools in states.
- Navodya Vidyalayas: The scheme was introduced in the National Policy on Education on an average of presently one in each district. Earlier it was started with two experimental schools in 1985-86. There are presently 661 such schools in India.
- Kendriya Vidyalayas: The Government of India approved the scheme of Kendriya Vidyalaya in 1962. This aims to cater to the needs of education of the transferable central government employees, which includes RBI officers, to defense personnel. There are 1,248 Kendriya Vidyalayas in India as per 2021.
4. University and Higher Education
The number of universities in the country has increased from 27 in 1950-51 to 1,056 in the year 2022. Similarly, the number of colleges in the country has increased from 496 in 1950-51 to 42,323 in the year 2020. University Grants Commission was established in 1956. It takes measures for the promotion and coordination of university education and determination and maintenance of standards in teaching, examination, and research in universities and allows grants to them.
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was launched in 1985. It is responsible for the introduction and promotion of Open University and distance technical education in the educational pattern of the country and maintenance of the standards in such system. Moreover, there are 28 FM radio stations and six television channels.
5. Expansion of Technical Education
Technical education covers engineering, management, architecture, applied sciences, and other related fields. Technical education is a crucial component in the development of human resources. Five Year Plan focuses on the development of technical education. There has been an enormous expansion of technical education during the past five decades. At the time of independence, there were 43 diplomas in polytechnics, but later in 2005-06, the number has grown to 1292 polytechnics. Likewise, the number of degree-level engineering institutions rose from 38 in 1947 to 1,617 in 2005-06. Today, 185 institutions are conducting post-graduate courses in Engineering and Technology. The annual intake of these institutions is 16,800.
For the development of technical education, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was set up. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras have been set up to provide training in the field of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishing. Moreover, to promote and coordinate agricultural research Indian Council of Agricultural Research has been established.
The main objective of the 11th plan includes the expansion and rapid improvement in the quality throughout the higher and technical education system. To achieve this, public spending will be enhanced, private initiatives will be encouraged, and policy reforms will be made.
6. National Literacy Mission(NLM)
The NLM was launched in 1988 and aims to attain functional literacy for persons between the age group of 15-35. The National Literacy Mission developed Adult Education Programs, which covered 587 districts (out of 600 districts). NLM adopted a principal strategy of the Total Literacy Campaign to remove illiteracy in the country. Zila Saksharata Samitis implemented the Total Literacy Campaign.
7. Literacy Rate
In India, there has been a notable rise in the rate of literacy. The literacy rates increased from 18.33% in 1951 to 64.8% in 2001, for the economy as a whole. This literacy rate for males is 75.85% and that for females is 54.16%. The difference between the male and female literacy rates decreased during the period 1991-2001. There is a reduction in the rural-urban literacy gap.
However, a significant difference was found in the literacy rates among different sections of society. For instance, male literacy rates are higher than female literacy rates. Additionally, compared to rural areas, literacy rates is higher in urban areas. Also, literacy rates vary from region to region. Thus steps must be taken to improve rural and female rates of literacy in upcoming years.
8. Development of Research Facilities
Since 1950-51, attention has been paid to the development of research facilities and India is moving in the right direction. There has been a rise in the number of research institutions, research facilities, and researchers. The number of scientists and technicians in the country is approximately 2.5 million. In this context, India has been placed third in the whole world. To promote research in social sciences the country has four research organizations, they are:
(i) India Council of Historical Research; ICHR (1972)
(ii) India Council of Philosophical Research; ICPR (1981)
(iii) Indian Institute of Advanced Study; IIAS (1965)
(iv) India Council of Social Science Research: ICSSR
The Central Government set up the National Council of Rural Institute to promote higher education in rural areas in the vein of Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary ideas.
9. Orientation of Indian Languages and Culture
Indian languages have been increasingly being used across the nation as the medium of education and examination. Indian history, culture, and tradition are getting more attention. Indian literature, music, dance, sculpture, yoga, and folk art are now again popular.
10. Expenditure on Education
The expenditure on education has been expanded from ₹151 crores in the first plan to ₹43,825 crores in the tenth plan. There has been a drastic change in the percentage of expenditure on education in GDP. Earlier in 1951-52, the total expenditure was just 0.64% of the GDP, but in 2004-2005, it rose to 3.5% of the GDP. This shows that Central Government always gives priority to the education sector.
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