Educational Development in India since 1951
Mass education was never a priority during the British, period. The colonial rule transformed an intermediate literate society into a predominantly illiterate society.
Ever since Independence, an educational explosion has taken place in India. As J.B.G. Tilak put it 'Today, the number of pupils in India outnumber the total population of England, France, Canada, and Norway taken together. Every sixth student in the world enrolled at the primary level, every seventh in the secondary level and every eighth in the tertiary level is an Indian'.
Before we launched our Five Year Plans, only about 1.2 percent of GNP was invested in education. But now the public investment increased to about 3.5 percent of GNP.
Though the educational expansion in India is remarkable (see Table 10.1 and 10.2 given at the end of the chapter), quantity, quality and equity have become an elusive triangle of the Indian education system.
The greatest failure of the Indian educational system relates to the goal of universalisation of elementary education. At the secondary level, vocationalization has not yielded the desired results. Courses introduced in the vocational stream at the higher secondary level are of nominal nature and they do not really help the students get jobs. And it is only the upper and the middle classes who get the benefits of the education system. Even after thirty years of independence, in 1978 it was found that '70 percent of the seats is secondary schools and 80 per cent of the seats in higher education are taken up by the top 30 percent of income groups'. There is no reason to believe that the position has changed for the better. There is mismatch between demand for and supply of manpower and growth in unemployment and fall in the quality of education.
The Indian education system is marked by inequalities. There are differences in the rates of literacy between rural and urban population, between men and women, between backward and non-backward castes, between states and between districts within a state.
One of the basic problems of educational sector is under - investment. The data relating to allocation of financial resources during the last fifty years confirms this point. Only during the First Five Year Plan, priority was given to mass education. Elementary education and adult education programmes received nearly three fifths of the resources allocated for education. There was decline in importance attached to them in subsequent plans.
We should have achieved the goal of universalization of primary education by 1960, that is, within ten years from the commencement of the Constitution. But, we are nowhere near the goal even today.
One of the secrets of the rapid economic development of Japan is the emphasis it laid on primary and vocational education and the allocation of huge financial resources to these sectors.
Child labour is one of the important reasons for not achieving the goal of universlization of primary education. And majority of the children drop out from schools because of this.
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