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Education for all” campaign in India: myth or reality.

By June 28, 2022No Comments
A well-known mediaeval Jewish philosopher once stated, ” Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Maimonides also stressed the importance of education. Therefore, in his opinion, education is the training that gives anyone the ability to live independently and contentedly. Only a small number of educated individuals helped India gain its independence; these individuals then oversaw state matters in the new India. However, in order to maintain the nation-building process’ optimal administration and development synergy,

The role of education has to be crucial. Following the 86th Constitutional Amendment in 2002, the Right to Education Act was passed in 2009, incorporating the Right to Free and Compulsory Education for All (between 6-14 Years) as a Fundamental Right under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. This came about after a protracted battle to change the emphasis from education as an expression of Liberty to a Right that shall be ensured and protected by the state. In 1947, just 6-7 percent of Indians were literate; by 2011, the census found that number to be up to 74 percent. Following the ‘Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan’ (Education for All) movement, which sought to universalize elementary education, a notable increase was seen in this century (UEE).

What is the programme all about?
Every kid between the ages of 6 and 14 was expected to have access to basic civic amenities, regardless of their gender, caste, religion, or any physical limitations, as part of the ambitious Education for All initiative. Under this programme, numerous initiatives were initiated, including ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services), AAGANWADI (Courtyard Shelter), and KGBVA (Kasturba Gandhi Ballika Vidya Abhiyaan).

By raising the rate of enrollment of children in government schools, this mission has largely been effective in achieving its primary objective. Given the mission’s overall success and the mounting strain on secondary education, the government launched another programme named “Rastriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyaan” in its eleventh five-year plan with the goal of delivering secondary education.

Under this programme, Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas were also established. Education was made a fundamental right by the 93rd Constitutional Amendment Act, also known as the Education Bill. Depriving a youngster of education is now a cognizable offence.

Did it stand to its words?
Looking at the aforementioned goals, “Education for all” appears to be a very affirmative action on the part of the state in terms of a policy to emphasise the recognition that development can only be synchronised with knowledge to achieve optimal growth in order to achieve the goal of Nation building. However, it appears that reality is too far removed from this campaign’s goals.

Although enrollment in elementary education has increased in most of the Indian states officially, it is still astonishing to see that the percentage of illiterates is rising as people’s ages rise. What is the explanation behind this paradox? In addition, it was discovered that the Department of Education’s primary enrollment estimates were 1.22 million higher than those from the Fifth Survey.

The difference found in some states is big and huge. Even the age-specific enrollment rates (Fifth Survey) for upper primary students in Tripura and Karnataka were discovered to be higher than 100%. The disparity between Official and Corrected enrollment ratios has been shown to be large and worrying when adjusted for over- and under-age children as well as the age-specific population. The adjusted ratio was only 73.30 percent as opposed to the official enrolment ratio at the primary level of 95.30 percent.

Why did it fail?
First off, the stated budget allocation for such a significant project was never fully met. In India, the budgetary allotment for education has never exceeded 2.5–3 percent despite the aim of 6 percent being promised. This difference alone explains why the government schools’ civic infrastructure is so subpar. In addition, given the tense relations between the Centre and the States and the fact that education is a subject on the Concurrent List, it frequently stagnates. To top it all off, the deeply embedded culture of inefficiency and corruption has caused financial transactions to move much more slowly than they need to in order to give this initiative room to breathe.

Even though the number of women who are literate has increased dramatically since the 1990s, the fact that they can only receive help up until the age of 16 has increased their school dropout rates and encouraged early marriage before the age of 18. Due to the state administration’s failure to provide students with a secure and impartial learning environment that is distinct from and unaffected by their social upbringing at home, poor teacher quality and quantity have in many places resulted in the expansion of social discriminations rather than their diluting as intended.

Since free education merely means “no tuition fees,” but otherwise requires parents to cover all costs, many parents find it economically impossible to provide their children with a continuing education.

Even though governments regularly succeed in ensuring active enrollment in both primary and secondary education, they frequently fall short in providing the high-quality instruction required for their higher education, which has grown more competitive and market-focused. India’s education system has devolved into nothing more than a rote learning one in order to keep records of literacy.

So, is it a myth?
Education is the most potent tool you can employ to change the world, as Nelson Mandela once stated. Going to school is only one aspect of education. It teaches reading and writing abilities as well as how to understand the world around us. Developing the ability to use fresh methods and technology is also a part of this. Education’s ultimate objective is not merely to give knowledge to people. The person’s full development and becoming a civilised member of society must be the focus of this process. By following the right instructions of a capable Teacher and using a suitable infrastructure, it is possible to educate him about all good deeds and evils.

Without a doubt, we have had considerable success in our effort to educate every person of the nation. Currently, 74% of the population is literate, albeit only metaphorically. To ensure education for everyone, which is the intended true objective, there is still a long way to go. The “Education for All” campaign can become a reality if we take some personal initiative through the “Each One Teach One” policy. It’s only a short distance away.