National Policy on Education

After Kothari Commission's (1964) recommendation the introduction of National Education Policy 1986, Rajiv Gandhi announced a new Education policy. The National Policy on Education (NPE), was interested to prepare India for the 21 st century. The policy emphasized the need for change and noted ‘Education in India stands at the Crossroads today.

According to the mew policy, the 1986 policy goals and largely been achieved: more than 90% of schooling facilities and more states had adopted a common Education structure. The prioritization of science and mathematics has also been effective. The 1986 policy was reviewed by a committee constituted in 1990 under the chairmanship of Acharya Ramamurti. On the basis of the recommendations of this committee, certain provisions of the 1986 policy were modified in 1992.

Apart from the above mentioned three important national policies, following initiatives have been taken:

•  Operation Blackboard (1987) aimed to improve the human and Physical resources available in primary school.

•  Restructuring and reorganization of Teacher Education (1987) created a resource for the continuous upgrading of teacher's knowledge and competence.

•  Minimum levels of learning (1991) laid down levels of achievement at various stages and revised textbooks.

•  National programme for Nutritional support to Primary Education (1995) provided a cooked meal every day for children in class I - IV of all govt., govt.-aided, and local body schools.

•  District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) (1993) emphasized decentralized planning and management, improved teaching and learning materials, and schools effectiveness.

•  Sarve Shikha Abhijan (SSA) (2001), aimed at universalizing elementary Education of satisfactory quality in the country. The programme in now a flagship programme of the govt.

•  The Rashtriya Madhymik Shikha Abhijan (RMSA) on the lines of SSA is expected to bring in the desired investments in Secondary Education and facilitate the process of universalizing secondary education in the country.

India has the largest Education system in the world after China. However, issues of the quality Education and access remains challenges in some parts of the country. The Right to Education (RTE) is now a Fundamental right for all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. In simple words, it means that the eight standard, free of cost, irrespective of class and gender. However, it will take at least five years before the target is reached. This is because the infrastructure has to be built, and lakes of teachers recruited.

The RTE is the first legislation in the world that puts the responsibility of enrolment, attendance and completion of Education on the government. Though the National Education Policy of 1968 talked of a free and compulsory Education, the Right to Education came into effect only in April 2010. To fulfil the promise the imparting Education as a right the government has enhanced funds to the Education sector. In the current budget (2011-2012), an increase of 24 per cent has been made in allocation for the Education sector. India's effective literacy rate has recorded a 9.2 per cent rise to reach 74.04 per cent, according to provisional data of the 2011 census. Effective literacy rate in 2001 census was 64.83, which has improved to 74.04 per cent.

Liberty without Learning is always in peril and Learning without Liberty is always in vain.