Now we the Indians are 121 crores in number, as per the census figures of 2011. To rule and administer this huge country and to manage all Socio-economic programme and compete with other Nations is really a matter of great stringiness, that is why some foreign people say that there is a supernatural power in India, where God exists, to manage all this. We have a rural base where nearly 70% people live in villages that is why it is said that India is Agriculture dominated nation. To provide Education to such a huge country is not an easy task.
If we go back to 1881, there were only 82916 schools in this country which would teach the same number of students. If we see the Literacy Rate position since 1881, it would be beyond expectation that our country has really done a wonderful job in the field of Education. As is in 1881 the Literacy Rate was at 3.2% which just doubled in 1931 (7.2%) and on the day when we were free from the Britishers in 1947 this was at 12.2%. Now in 2001 the literacy has gone up to 64.4% which is a great achievement in the field of Education. Due attention was given to eradicate illiteracy from the masses by various campaigns during the period of post independence such as Social Education (1951-56), Grama Shiksha Mohim (1959), Education commission (1964-66), Farmers’ Functional Literacy Project (1967-68), Non-formal Education Programme (5th Plan) , Polyvalent Adult Education Centers (1977), Functional Literacy for Adult Women (1975-76), National Adult Education Programme (1975-76), Rural Functional Literacy Project (1978), State Adult Education Programme (2005).
No doubt that literate population is the most important factor in the Nation building and the founders of the Nation while drafting the Constitution of India gave priority for the Free and Compulsory Education to all the Children in the age group of 6-14 years. It is a matter of concern that this has taken a period of nearly 60 years to fulfill the dreams of our founding fathers, when the Bill on Free and Compulsory Education RTE – Act, 2009 was introduced and passed in the Parliament of India.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which was started in 2001 was the major initiative of the Govt. of India, which has definitely changed the Rural Scenario of Education in India. It is pertinent to note that enrolment in Govt. Schools has increased manifold. In 1946-47, the enrolment of children in Schools for Primary education were 1,05,25,943 which has risen to 13,62,29,962 during 2007-08. This increase is surely done to the policies of the Govt. and SSA has a major role in it and the scheme of Mid-Day-Meals which is being provided to all the students in primary classes. The said scheme which was started on 15 August 1995 has resulted into the increase in the enrolment of the children and also helped in removing Social stigma of un-touchability still prevailing rural India, where all the students sit together to eat the meals prepared by socalled untouchables in the society. Though, some cases used to crop up where such meals prepared by such untouchables has been rejected & protested and in some places .
such cooks have either been stopped from cooking or removed from their jobs after framing various false cases by the local people. Since the budget on education has gone up, which has also given a good shape in framing rural India. In 1951-52 the Govt. expenditure on Education was Rs.64.46 crores (0.64% of GDP and 7.92% to all sectors) has risen to Rs. 82,246.43 crores (4.02% of GDP and 14.42% to all sectors) In all if we see the figures of expenditure are encouraging but it should be kept in mind that until and unless, this is increased to 6%, the quality education can’t be provided to our children which is the need of the day, where the competition has gone up. This is more needed in our rural India where lot of such basic needs to improve our infrastructure is required.
(The writer is MP, Lok Sabha. Shimla Himachal Pradesh, India)