-Satish Kumar

-Sajjad Ahmad



Providing education to a large population has been a challenging task after independence. The illiteracy has been widespread throughout the country. Government was totally committed to avail the infrastructure and other facilities to its people. In order to achieve these tasks, it has constituted various committees and commissions from time to time. The first ever commission namely University Education Commission towards this effort was appointed in 1948. Later, in 1952, the secondary Education Commission was constituted. The development of Education in India particularly after independence has been guided by national aspirations as embodied in Indian Constitution. Education has been regarded in the constitution of India as the fundamental right of each and every citizen. Since the adoption of the constitution, the government has been making tremendous efforts to avail education to all sections of the society.

The literacy rate in India has risen to 65.38 percent. A significant proportion of this growth is attributed to the promotion of non-formal system of education through non-formal centers, community involvement and decentralized system for management of elementary education. Kerala has always been at the top in terms of the literacy rate among the states. The states, which fall below national average, are mostly the BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) states. It may be noted that the elementary education has been given the top priority during recent years. After the elementary education it is the higher education which has been given due importance. Apart from the elementary and higher education, the technical education stood at number three up to fourth five plans. Then it was the secondary education, which has been given more importance.

Before 1976, education was the exclusive responsibility of the States. The Constitutional Amendment of 1976, which included education in the administrative implication required a new sharing of responsibility between the Union Government and the States.

The Central Government continues to play a leading role in the evolution and monitoring of educational policies and programs, the most notable of which are the National Policies on (NPE)­, 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA), 1986 as updated in 1992. The modified policy envisages a national System of Education to bring about uniformity in education, making adult education programmes a mass movement, providing universal access, retention and quality in elementary education, special emphasis on education of girls, establishment of pace-setting schools like Navodaya Vidyalayas in each district, vocationalization of secondary education syntheses of knowledge and inter-disciplinary research in higher education, starting more Open Universities in the States, strengthening of the All India Council of Technical Education, encouraging sports, physical education, Yoga and  adoption of  an effective evaluation method, etc. The POA lays down a detailed strategy for the implementation of the various policy parameters by the implementing agencies.

            The National System of Education as envisaged in the NPE is based on a national curricular framework, which envisages a common core along with other flexible and region-specific components.

Development in Expenditure

In line with the commitment of augmenting resources for education, the allocation for education has, over the years, increased significantly. The Plan outlay on education has increased from Rs 151,20 crore in the First Five Year Plan to Rs 43,825 crore in the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007). The expenditure on Education as a percentage of GDP also rose from 0.64 per cent in 1951-52 to 3.74 per cent in 2003-2004 (BE).The outlay for Education in the Tenth Five Years Plan of  Rs 43,825 crore, is higher than the Ninth Plan outlay of Rs 24,908 crore by 1.76 times.

Development in Elementary Education

The Parliament has passed the Constitution’s 86th Amendment Act, 2002 to make elementary education a Fundamental Right for children in the age- group of 6-14 years. The progress of enrolment has increased from 192 (lakh) persons in 1950-51 to 1224 (lakh) persons in 2003-04 in the age group of 6-11 years. For the development of education at elementary level several provisions were laid down by the government.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

The Scheme of Sarva Shilksh Abhiyan (SSA) was launched in 2001. The goals of SSA are as follows: (i) All 6-14 age children in school/ Education Guarantee Scheme Center/bridge  course by 2003. (ii) All 6-14 age children complete five year primary education by 2007 (iii) All 6-14 age children complete eight years of schooling by 2010 (iv) Focus on elementary education on satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life (v) Bridge all gender and social category gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at elementary education level by 2010 and (vi) Universal retention by 2010. The programme covers the entire country with special focus on education needs of girls, SCs/ STs and other children in difficult circumstances. The programme seeks to open new schools in habitations which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grant. The SSA has a special focus on girls and children of weaker sections.

Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education

Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education (EGS and AIE) are an important component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to bring out of school children in the fold of Elementary Education. EGS addresses the inaccessible habitation where there is no formal school within the radius of one km. and at least 15-25 children of 6-14 years age group. Alternative Education intervention for specific categories of very deprived children e.g., child street children, migrating children, working children, children living in difficult circumstances and older children in the 9+ age group especially adolescent girls are being supported under EGS and AIE all over the country.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme

The National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE),  popularly  known  as  the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, was formally launched on 21st, August 1995. The objective of the programme is to give a boost to universalisation of primary education by increasing enrolment, attendance and retention, and also improving nutritional status of children in primary classes studying in Government, Local Body and Government- aided schools. From October 2002, the programme has been extended to children studying in Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and other Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) Learning Centres also.Under the scheme central assistance is provided to States for the following: (a) 100 grams of food grains per child per school day where there is a meal programme, alternatively three kg per child per month for 10 months, and (b) admissible transport subsidy for transport of food grains from the nearest FCI depot to the school subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 Per quintal.

District Primary Education Programme

            The Centrally sponsored Scheme of District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was launched in 1994 as a major initiative to revitalize the primary education system and to achieve the objective of universalisation of primary education. DPEP adopts a holistic approach to universalize access, retention and improve learning achievement and to reduce disparities among social groups. Adopting an area-specific approach’ with district as the unit of planning, the key sensitivity to local conditions and ensuring full participation of the community. DPEP is based on the principle of ‘additionally’ and is structured to fill in the existing gaps. The programme components include construction of classrooms and new schools, opening of Non-formal/ Alternative Schooling Centers, appointment of new teachers, setting up early childhood education centers, strengthening of State Councils of Educational Training  through District Institute of Education and Training(DIETs), setting up of Block Resource Centers/Cluster Resource Centres, teacher training, development of Teaching Learning Material, Research based interventions, special interventions for promoting education of disadvantaged groups, girls, SC/ST, etc. initiatives for providing integrated education to disabled children and distance  education for teacher training have also been incorporated in the DPEP Scheme.

Operation Blackboard

The scheme of Operation Blackboard (OBB) was launched in 1987-88 with the aim of improving human and physical resource available in primary schools of the country. Provision of at least two reasonably large rooms, at least two teachers and essential teaching/ learning materials for every existing primary school were the components of the scheme. The scheme has been subsumed in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) from 2002-2003.

Lok Jumbish Project

An innovative project “Lok Jumbish” with assistance from Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) was launched in Rajasthan to achieve education for all through peoples’ mobilization and their participation. Lok Jumbish Project (LPJ) has set-up innovative management structures incorporating the principles of decentralization and delegation of authority as well as building partnership with local communities and the voluntary sectors, intensive community mobilization, and schools mapping, processing as well as development of innovative design for community center school buildings programme.

Shiksha Karmi Project

The shiksha Karmi Project (SKP) aims at universalisation and qualitative improvement of primary education in remote and socio-economically backward villages in Rajasthan with primary attention given to girls. The project at present covers 3,650 villages in 150 blocks in Rajasthan. The Project provides primary education to 2.76 lakh children in day schools.

Mahila Samakhya

The Mihila Samakhya Programme (Education for Women’s Equality) started in 1989 is a concrete programme for the education and empowerment of women in rural areas, particularly of women from socially and economically marginalized groups. It is being implemented in more than 14,000 villages in 60 districts of nine states. The objectives of the scheme are to enhance the self-image and self-confidence of women; to create an environment where women can seek knowledge and information which empowers them to play a positive role in society; to establish a decentralized and participative mode of management; to enable Mahila Sanghas to actively assess and monitor educational activities in the villages; to provide opportunities for education for women and adolescent girls and to bring about greater participation of women and girls in both formal and non-formal education programme.

Janshala Programme

Janshala (GOI-UN) Programme is a collaborative effort of the Government of India and five UN agencies –  UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO and UNFPE to provide programme support to the ongoing efforts towards achieving UEE. Janshala, a community based primary education programme, aims to make primary education more accessible and effective, especially for girls and children in deprived communities, marginalized groups, SC/ ST minorities, working children and children with specific needs.

Development in Teacher Education

As envisaged in the National Policy on Education  (NPE) and Programme of Action (POA) 1986, the Centrally-Sponsored Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganizations of Teacher Education of Teacher Education was taken up in 1987 to create a viable institutional infrastructure, academic and technical resource base for orientation, training and continuous upgradation of knowledge, competence and pedagogical skills of school teachers in the country. The scheme envisages setting up of DIETs in each district of the country to provided academic and resource support to elementary grade teachers and non-formal adult education instructors.

National Council For Teacher Education

The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was established in August 1995 with a view to achieve planned and co-ordinate development of teacher education system throughout the country and for regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards of teacher education. Four Regional Committees of the Council have been set-up at Jaipur, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, and Bhopal for Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western regions respectively.

National Bal Bhavan

National Bal Bhavan (NBB), New Delhi is an autonomous body fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which was established for children in the age group of 5-16 years. Objectives of the National Bal Bhavan are to enhance the spirit challenge, experiment, innovate and create. National Bal Bhavan was founded by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1956.

Development towards Education Of Scheduled Castes And Scheduled Tribes

Article 46 of the Constitution states that, “The State shall promote, with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections the people, and in particular of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of social exploitation.” After independence, the Government of India has taken number of steps to strengthen the educational base of the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a historic stride towards achieving the long cherished goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) through a time bound integrated approach, in partnership with State. SSA, Which promises to change the face of elementary education sector of the country, aims to provide useful and quality elementary education to all children in the 6-14 age group by 2010.

District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) The thrust of the scheme is on disadvantaged groups like girls, SCs/STs. Working children, urban deprived children, disabled children etc.

Janshala: The objective of Janshala is to support the efforts for UEE by providing primary education to the children from SCs, minorities, working children and children with special needs. Janshala emphasizes on active involvement of community in primary education programmes and training viz. Karnataka, Janshala programme is in operation in 139 Blocks of 9 States Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The programme also covers the cities of Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack, jaipur, Lucknow, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Jodhpur and Bhilai.

Mahila Samakhya addresses traditional gender-imbalances in educational access and achievement. This involves enabling women (especially from socially and economically disadvantaged and marginalized groups) to address and deal with customs and struggle for survival, all of which inhibit their empowerment.

National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level: The NPEGEL, under the existing scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) provides additional components for education of girls under privileged/disadvantaged at the elementary level. The Scheme is being implemented in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) where the level of rural female literacy is less than the national average and the gender gap is above the national average, as well as in blocks of districts that have at least 5 per cent SC/ST population and where SC/ST female literacy is below 10 per cent based on 1991.

Shiksha Karmi Project (SKP): SKP aims at universalisation and qualitative improvement of primary education in remote, arid and socio-economically backward villages in Rajasthan with primary attention to girls.

Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas: Under the scheme of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, 750 residential schools as being set up in difficult areas with boarding facilities at elementary level for girls belonging predominantly to the SC, ST, OBC and minorities. The scheme would be applicable only in those identified Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) where, as per census data 2001, the rural female literacy is below the national average and gender gap in literacy is more than the national average. Among these blocks, schools may be set up in areas with concentration of tribal population, with low female literacy and or a large number of girls out of schools.

Jan Shikshan  Sansthan (JSS) : JSS or Institute of  People’s  Education is a polyvalent or multifaceted adult education programme aimed at improving the vocational skill and quality of life of the beneficiaries. The objective of the scheme is educational. Vocational and occupational development of the socio-economically backward and educationally disadvantaged groups of urban/ rural population particularly mep-literates, semi literates, SCs, STs, women and girls, slum dwellers, migrant workers, etc.

Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL):  The Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore has a scheme or development of Indian Languages through research, developing manpower and production of materials in modern Indian Languages including tribal languages.

Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs):  15 per cent and 7.5 per cent seats are reserved for SCs and STs respectively in fresh admissions. No tuition fees are charged from scheduled caste and scheduled tribes students up to class XII.

Navodaya Vidyalayas (NVs):  Reservation of seats in favour of children belonging to SCs and STs is provided in proportion to their population in the concerned district provided that no such reservation will be less than the national average of 22.5 per cent.

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS):  The SC/ST students are given concession in admission fees to the extent of Rs 200 for bridge courses, Rs 250 for secondary courses and Rs 300 for senior secondary courses.

Development Towards Quality Improvement In Schools

During the Tenth Plan, it has been decided to introduce a composite Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Quality Improvement in Schools” The National Population Education Project (NPEP) was launched in April 1980 with a view to institutionalize population education in the school education system. This was an externally aided project, which was fully funded by United Nations Population Fund. This project is also being implemented in Higher and Adult education sector.

Evironmental Orientation to School Education

Centrally-sponsored Scheme “Environment Orientation to School Education” was initiated in 1988-89. The scheme envisages assistance to voluntary agencies for conduct of experimental and innovative programmes aimed at promoting integration of educational programmes in schools with local environmental conditions.

Improvement of Science Education in Schools

            To improve the quality science education and to promote the scientific temper, as envisaged in the National Policy on Education, 1986, Centrally sponsored Scheme; “Improvement of Science Education in Schools” was initiated during 1987-88. Under the scheme financial assistance was being provided to States/UTs and voluntary agencies. While voluntary agencies were provided assistance for conducting experimental and innovative programmes States/ Union Territories were assisted for provision of science kits to Upper Primary Schools, Setting up/up-gradation of science laboratories in Secondary/Senior Secondary Schools, Library facilities in Secondary/ Senior Secondary Schools and Training of Science and Mathematics teachers.

Introducation of Yoga in Schools

A Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Introduction of Yoga in Schools was launched in 1989-90. This   scheme aimed at giving financial assistance to States/UTs/NGOs. The scheme provided for Central assistance for expenditure on training of teachers, building up infrastructure i.e, hostel building for yoga trainees and furnishing grant and upgrading library facilities. This scheme is being implemented through the concerned Education Departments of the States/UTs and Non- Governmental Organizations.

Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti

The National Policy on Education-1986 envisaged setting up of model school, one in each District of the Country. A scheme was formulated under which it was decided to set-up co-educational schools. Navodaya Vidyalaya are fully residential co-educational institutions providing education up to senior secondary stage. The scheme, which started with only two schools on experimental basis in 1985-86 has grown to 513 schools covering as many districts in 34 States/UTs with over 1.68 lakh students on rolls as on 31 March 2005. More than 30,000 new students are admitted every year.

Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan

The Government approved the scheme of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan in 1962, on the recommendations of the Second Pay Commission. Initially, 20 regimental schools in different States were taken over as Central School. In 1965, an Autonomous Body called Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan was established with the primary objective of setting-up and monitoring Kendriya Vidyalaya to cater to the educational needs of the children for transferable Central Government Employees including Defence Personnel and Para-Military force by providing common programme of education.

Development towards Integrated Education for Disabled Children

The scheme of IEDC was started in 1974, provided for 100 per cent financial assistance, to State Governments UTs and NGOs towards facilities to disabled children integrated in the normal schools for Books and Stationary, Uniform, Transport Allowance, Escort Allowance, Readers Allowance for Blind Children, Equipment, Salary of teachers recruited for teaching Disabled Children.

Educational Development in North Eastern Region

The NE Region comprising of eight States has a high literacy level and is rich in ethnic cultural heritage with linguistic diversity. However, the region lacks infrastructure and facilities in educational institutions across sectors and there is a need to improve the quality of education imparted. The NE States have been provided grants under the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) to improve their infrastructure facilities. The Empowered Committee administering NLCPR has, since its inception in 1998-99, approved proposals worth Rs 462.72 core as on 31 December 2004 for the development of educational infrastructure in  the NER. Funds amounting to Rs 386.34 crore have also been  released as on 31 December, 2004. Out of this, Rs 12.75 crore was released in 2004-05. In the Central sector, the proposals mainly relate to infrastructure development of Central Institutions like the five central universities in the North East which include construction of staff quarter, academic buildings, library buildings, administrative buildings and purchase of lab equipments, books, etc. These projects are in various stages of implementation.

Development in University and Higher Education

As present there are 342 universities and university-level institutions in India including 18 Central Universities, 211 State Universities, 95 Deemed Universities, 5 institutions established under State Act and 13 institutes of national importance apart from around 17,000 colleges including 1800 women colleges in India. Of these, 40 universities/ Institutions provide higher education in agriculture 49 in engineering and technology, 07 in Information and Communication Technology and 08 in law. The number of Open Universities is 11 and that of Women Universities is 06. The total enrolment of students in universities and colleges in 99.54 lakh while the number of teachers is 4.5 lakh.

Indira Gandhi National Open University

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) established in September 1985 is responsible for the promotion of Open University and distance education system in the educational pattern  of the country and for coordination and determination of standards in such systems. The major objectives of the University include widening access to higher education to larger segments of the population, organizing programmes of continuing education, target groups like women, physically challenged and people living in backward regions and hilly areas, such as NE, KBK and those predominantly inhibited by tribals and SCs.

Minority Education

The National Policy on Education 1986, updated in 1992 envisages paying greater attention to the education of the educationally backward minorities in the interest of equity and social justice. In pursuance of the revised Programme of a Action (POA) 1992, two new Centrally-sponsored schemes, i.e. (i) Scheme of Area Intensive Programme for Educationally Backward Minorities; and (ii) Scheme of Financial Assistance for Modernisation of Madarsa Education were launched during 1993-94. Over a time, it has been felt that all these schemes need to be implemented in an integrated way as to have wider coverage, greater thrust and visibility of minority education programme. In the Tenth Plan the aforesaid two schemes have been merged to form the Area Intensive and Madarsa Modernization Programme. Justice sachhar committee had been appointed for objective study of the educational problems pertaining to Muslim minority, which has given its recommendation to the government.

Technical Education

The Technical Education System in the country covers courses in engineering, Technology, management, architecture, pharmacy, etc. The Ministry of Human Resource Development caters to programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels. The technical educational system at the central level comprises, among others, the following: a) The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which is the statutory body for proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education system; b) Seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs); Six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs); d) Indian Institute of Science (IISc),Bangolore; e) Indian Institute of Information Technology  and Management (IITM), Gwalior; Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Allahabad; and its Extension Campus at Amethi; and Pt. Dwarka Prasad Mishra Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing Jabalpur; and f) Eighteen National Institutes of Technology  (NITs) (converted from RECs with 100 per cent central funding).




Development in Expenditure; Development in Elementary Education; Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan; Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education; Mid-Day Meal Scheme; District Primary Education Programme; Operation Blackboard; Lok Jumbish Project; Shiksh Karmi Project; Mahila Samakhya; Janshala Programme; Development in Teacher Education; National Council for Teacher Education; National Bal Bhavan; Development towards Education of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; Development Towards Quality Improvement in Schools; Environmental Orientation To School Education; Improvement of Science Education In Schools; Development towards Integrated Education for Disabled Children; Educational Development in North Eastern Region; Development in University and Higher Education.