India’s strides in Education

By Rachit Seth

Goal of Universal Education and Inclusivity has made giant strides, improving the quality of education should be the next goal.

A quick look on the policy, reforms and targeted actions and the results achieved.

India education

The broad policy of the UPA government in its Common Minimum Programme was –

Broad Policy –

  • To raise public spending in education to at least 6% of the GDP, half the amount on Primary & Secondary schools
  • To Set up a National Commission on Education to allocate resources and monitor programmes.
  • To reverse the trend of communalisation of education
  • To ensure that nobody is denied professional education because he or she is poor. Universal enrolment  of all.
  • To ensure that all institutions of higher learning and professional education retain their autonomy.
  • To introduce a national cooked nutritious mid-day meal scheme, funded mainly by the Central Government, in primary and secondary schools
  • To universalize the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme
  • Every year, to add one more model school in every block.
  • Twin focus on excellence and affirmative action, by strengthening the massive expansion taken place in the centres of higher education like- IIT’s, IIM’s , Central Universities etc
  • The main policy objectives in higher education  is improvement of access, along with equity and excellence, enhancing the relevance of higher education through curriculum reforms,vocationalisation, networking and information technology and distance education, along with reforms in the governance structure.

India education

The UPA Govt in its two terms envisaged the following reforms and actions so as to achieve its policy statement

Reforms  &  Targeted Actions –

Primary and Secondary Education

  • Enactment and implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) framework of implementation and norms for planning interventions were revised to correspond with the provisions of the RTE Act
  • New interventions were approved under SSA for providing uniforms transportation and residential facilities.
  • Fund sharing pattern between the Centre and States was revised to providefor higher central shares in the SSA outlays for States
  • Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan has been launched recently as a step to universalize secondary education
  • Mid day Meal Scheme (MDMS) covers children studying in classes I-VIII in All Government aided schools supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). These have been massively  expanded.
  • National Council for Teacher Education to develop a teacher education system in the country established
  • National Literacy Mission was recast to “Saakshar  Bharat” which strives to impart literacy to non-literates in low female literacy districts
  • The Scheme of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools is being implemented

Reforms  &  Targeted Actions –

Higher Education

  • National Knowledge Commission (NKC) and the Yash Pal Committee (YPC) were set up by the UPA government to examine issues related to higher education – Both Recommended -single regulator for the higher education sector.
  • National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill  proposes a single over-arching authority (regulator) for higher education already introduced in Rajya Sabha
  • Educational Tribunals at the national and state levels to expedite adjudication of disputes in the education sector. Bill in this regard passed by Lok Sabha
  • The National Authority for Regulation and Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010, provides for mandatory accreditation of all higher education institutions and has been introduced in the Parliament.
  • A Bill to prohibit and punish malpractices and adoption of unfair practices in technical and medical educational institutions and in the university system,to protect the interest of students and applicants seeking admission, has been introduced in the Parliament
  • The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010, for regulating the entry and operation of foreign educational institutions in India has been introduced in Parliament on which the Parliamentary Standing Committee has submitted its report.
  • A Bill for creation of a National electronic database of Academic Awards and its maintenance by an authorized depository has been introduced in the Lok Sabha


The reforms in Education sector have yielded the following results

Exhibits  –  Primary & Secondary Education

  • Since the RTE Act, 2,14,561 Primary and 1,76,361 Upper Primary schools have been sanctioned under SSA till date , of which 96% are operational
  • 479 residential schools/ hostels to cater to 66,181 children have been sanctioned under SSA out of which 432 are functional.
  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas for Upper primary girls-3609 sanctioned, 3501 operational with enrolment of 3.2 lakhs girls.
  • 19,76,502 teacher posts have been sanctioned under SSA, 12,34,016 have been recruited
  • 9.94 crore children were supplied free text books in 2012
  • Uniforms to all girls, SC, ST and BPL children, have been provided for 504.83 lakh children.
  • Special training for Out-of- School children for age appropriate admission in regular schools has been provided for 27.89 lakh children
  • 10.54 crore children studying in 12.31 lakh institutions have availed of the Mid Day Meal.
  • Under the scheme for setting up of 6,000 model schools at Block level at the rate of one school per block  1,880  model schools have been sanctioned out of 2,266 which are approved
  • Saakshar Bharat has been sanctioned in 372 out of 410 targeted eligible districts in 25 states
  • Around 1, 02,804 Adult Education Centres have been set up by 2012.
  • About 15.7 lakh literacy learning centres are functioning in different States of the Country.
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan established its 07 new Regional Offices
  • 4752 primary and secondary get IT Infrastructure
  • Teacher Education Scheme – Strengthening of existing institutes of advanced and upgradation of departments of education of universities into institutes of advanced study in education
  •  Block institutes of Teacher Education (BITEs) in 196 identified SC/ST/Minority concentration districts


Nearly 98 % Enrolment at Primary Level by successfully implementing the “Right to Education Act”. Making Education a Fundamental  Right to All Citizens guaranteed by the Constitution. 


Literacy rate in India is now 74 ( Males- 82.1 and Females- 65.5)

A substantial increase from the figures , 10 years ago, ushered by Social Revolution by UPA

India education

  • In Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan the expenditure has gone up  from Rs. 2,730 Cr during last year of NDA Govt -in 2003-04 to Rs. 20,841 Cr in 2011-12
  • The allocation for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan linked with RTE has been more than doubled for the 12th Plan

Exhibits  –  Higher Education

  • 16  new Central Universities established
  • 10  new National Institutes of Technology (NIT’s) established.
  • 5  new  Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER’s) established
  • 2  new School of Planning and Architecture established
  • 6  new Law Universities established
  • The Scheme for setting up of 20 new IIITs in PPP mode. 15 State Governments having identified land for setting up of the Institutes. Bill in this regard already introduced in Lok Sabha
  • A grant was provided to set up 26 new polytechnics during the year 2011-12. In addition, the second and third installments were given to 85 and 92 polytechnics. 148 polytechnics were provided grant for women’s hostels.
  • Under National Mission for Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in Education- Virtual Private Networks and internet connections have been provided to 392 universities and 18,189 colleges/polytechnics across the country.
  • Advanced Version of Aakash-2 Tablet was launched on 11th Nov, 2012. In the first phase 1,00,000 tablets are being distributed for the purpose of testing by users all over India in different climatic and usage conditions.
  • National Knowledge Network, connects all higher education institutes through via high speed broadband network
  • Common Admission Examination Process with Weightage to Performance in Class 12th Board from 2013


  • Gross enrolment in higher education, which was 12.3 % in 2006-07, has gone up to 18 % in 2011-12.
  • A provision has been made for central assistance for setting up of a model degree college in each of the identified 374 educationally backward districts where Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for higher education is less. Out of 153 proposals received, 78 have been approved and 42 are under process.
  • Massive Expansion in Higher Education –  7 NEW IIM’S  ESTABLISHED 


  • Massive Expansion in Higher Education –  8 NEW IIT’S ESTABLISHED


  • Massive Expansion in Higher Education –  10 NEW NIT’S ESTABLISHED 


The UPA Government in the country’s 12th Plan is committed to improve the Quality of all – Primary, Secondary and Higher Education and the drop out rate in enrolment particularly in the middle school level, which is a cause of great concern




( Courtesy – Twelth 5 Year Plan Draft)

Facts and figures speak for themselves. India has taken some valuable giant strides in Education, but “Miles to Go Before We Sleep” …

Researched and Compiled by Rachit Seth .He is an Architect working in New Delhi

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