More information about the primary level of education in India. Importance of education, primary education and the changes in the primary education system in India.
According to Malcolm X, a human rights activist, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” The education system, or more precisely to say the school system in India, is based on a hierarchy of pre-primary, primary, secondary, and senior secondary. This classification is based on the age group of the children that fall into the respective categories.
Table of Contents
- Meaning of primary education
- Primary schools in India
- Changes in the primary education system in India
What is Primary Education?
Primary education or elementary education is the first stage of formal education. The stage students enter after preschool or pre-primary education (offering early education to children before they join primary school) and before secondary school.
- The primary school level of education is further categorized into the lower and upper primary in which the children within the age group 6-10 and 11-12 are placed, respectively.
- Lower primary refers to students in class 1st to class 4th, and upper primary or commonly referred to as middle school, refers to class 5th to class 8th.
- 80% of the schools offering an elementary level of education are either run by the government or supported by the government, making it the largest provider of education in India.
- According to ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education), primary education was designed to give a basic education in reading, writing, and mathematics and an elementary understanding of other subjects.
Primary Schools in India
In 2011, it was noted that there were 5,816,673 primary school teachers within the country. Rural India faced some of the major problems because there is a lack of basic facilities such as a proper school structure, well-trained professional teachers, chairs and tables for students, washrooms, drinking water that has raised hygiene and safety concerns over the years.
- Over the years, the number of schools has only multiplied, and India has surpassed China to have the most number of schools even though both countries have a similar population.
- A large number of primary schools in India have fewer than 50 students enrolled. The majority of the schools in rural areas have fewer teachers managing more than the average number of students.
- There is also a shortage of well-trained professional teachers in these areas that have resulted in a higher dropout rate and students' lack of attendance in schools.
- Lack of good resources and infrastructure is also one of the concerns for distorted students to teachers in schools.
Changes in the Primary Education System in India
The government has undertaken several measures to resolve the problems and enhance education received by students in primary school. The authorities started the District Education Revitalisation Programme (DERP) in 1994 to reform and vitalize India's existing primary education system.
- India's central government-managed 85% of the DERP, while the respective states controlled the remaining 15%. It led to the setting up of 1.6 lakh schools within the country, where 84,000 schools offered alternative education to 35 lakh students.
- The authorities enacted the Right to Education(RTE) within India's constitution on the 4th of August 2009, which stressed the importance of providing free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 to 14.
- In 2016, Kerala became the first state in India to have achieved 100% literacy in the primary education level of study. It was attained after the government had set up its literacy program called Athulyam.
Over time, the government incorporated several schemes such as:
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is currently one of the largest initiatives in the educational sector in the world.
- Midday meal scheme.
- Schemes for infrastructure development for minority institutes.
Due to the lack of girls in schools, the government has also introduced various schemes as given below to encourage girl children to receive an education:
- Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
- The national program for the education of girls at elementary education
- Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhyalaya
The government took these steps and implemented them by both the government and various NGOs so that no child lacks the basic right to education.