Primary Education: Challenges
and steps taken by government
Ajit Singh, Ravi Meena, Vivek Yadav, Ankit chauhan & team
Challenges of Primary Education in India
1. The present system of primary education does not serve the purpose for which it has been started by the
Government. And in private schools, primary education itself has become so profitable a business that the
quality is lost. The purpose of primary education for a child should be the all round development of his
personality but the present day scenario of Indian primary education is neither imparting true knowledge of
life & world to the students nor helping them in standing on their own legs which will help them achieve
laurels in the field they are interested in.
2. Indian primary educational system is lagging in all the respects. Whether its school building, teachers,
updated study material or motivation for the poor students. This situation has proved the greatest barrier in the
way of our progress. Primary or elementary education has remained basically a paper tiger and has not been
realized properly. School buildings are non-existent in tribal and hilly areas, study materials are not up-to-date
and poor parents and students are not properly motivated to avail of these educational facilities.
3. According to a report, about 20% of Indian children between the ages of 6 and 14 are not enrolled in
school. Even among enrolled children, attendance rates are low and 26% of pupils enrolled in primary
school drop out before Grade 5. The situation is worse in certain sectors of the population: the poor, those
living in rural areas, girls, and those living in some states, such as Bihar and Rajasthan. Literacy rates are
21% lower for females than for males. Among those children aged 6 to 14 not enrolled in school, more than
60% are girls. Some communities do not see the need to educate daughters because they will be married off
at an early age and live and work with their in-laws, mostly doing housework and raising children.
4. The reality of Primary Education in India is the entrenched system that perpetuates inequality. Thus,
while mention of reservation for schedule castes and tribes and OBCs in institutes of higher learning leads
to demonstrations and heated debates in the media, the pathetic state of primary education continues
virtually unnoticed and unaddressed. And millions of Indian children still go to schools without buildings,
without books and without teachers.
Innovative Projects and Programs run by Indian Government
1. District Primary Education Program - The program that was first introduced in 1994 in 42 districts
spread over seven states is now under implementation in about 240 districts of fifteen states. The
program is structured in such a fashion so that it can provide additional inputs over and above the
provisions made by the state governments for elementary education. Eighty five per cent of the project
cost is shared by the Government of India and the rest 15 per cent by the concerned project states.
2. Lok Jumbish and Shiksha Karmi Projects - Apart from DPEP, Lok Jumbish (Peoples' Movement)
and Shiksha Karmi Projects are the other two important programmes, which are, received attention at the
international level. Both these projects are under implementation in Rajasthan since 1992, which is one
of the most educationally backward states of India. Lok Jumbish and Shiksha Karmi are funded by SIDA.
The main objective of LJP is to achieve EFA through people's mobilization and participation. Whereas,
SKP focuses its attention on universalisation and qualitative improvement of primary education in
remote, arid area and socio-economically backward villages with primary attention given to girls.
3. Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) - The main goal of this program is that all children of 6-11 years of age should
complete primary education by the year 2007 and all children of 6-14 years of age should complete eight years of
schooling by 2010. This plan covers the whole country with special emphasis on girl education and education of
Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) children and children with special needs. The SSA centers are mainly
opened in those areas, which do not have any school or where schools are very far off.
4. Operation Blackboard - It was started in 1987-88. The aim of this program is to improve human and physical
resource availability in primary schools of India. According to this program every primary school should have at
least two rooms, two teachers and essential teaching aids like blackboard, chalk, duster etc.
5. National Bal Bhavan - The National Bal Bhavan was opened with the aim of developing overall personalities
of children of all strata of society irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and gender. It supplements school
education by helping children to learn in play way and natural environment.
6. Special girl oriented programs like:
• Girl education at elementary level.
• National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL)
• Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV)
• Mahila Samakhya Scheme
7. RTE Act: Supreme Court’s recent nod for the RTE act, that 25% seats should be reserved in unaided
private schools for the underprivileged children, has added a dimension to recent educational reforms.
There has been a social euphoria created over the same, no doubt the government gets a pat on its back, but
I am still skeptical about the road ahead with the system. According to a recent survey, 70% of children still
attend government schools in India, where the quality of education is still a concern. As they still lack
qualified teachers, innovation in classroom structure and student investments.
Other policies of Government
• The education system in all high performing nations has a proper sensitized training program for
teachers. In those countries, a teaching job comes with a high profile and dignity; moreover there has been
a constant system of new concepts and design for monitoring the growth, success and investment of each
individual child. These factors contribute a lot to the outcome of schooling and in attaining excellent results
• In contrast, most classrooms in India, still follow a routine structure of syllabus and examination that
exhibit rote learning processes and biased thinking on socio cultural issues. Reservations won’t change the
vast educational inequity that exists, until a systemic check is given on the quality of education, until new
dimensions of innovation and creative concepts are introduced for monitoring individual growth of kids and
a proper teacher training program is introduced.
Recently Teachforindia, a social organization has taken the initiative of revolutionizing the methods of
education to create educational parity in the country. The Teach for India classrooms in both government
schools and private schools in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai have shown tremendous growth and innovations
with excellent academic results of the kids. The fellows work relentlessly in designing creative plans and
structures to monitor growth, result and investment strategies for each individual child apart from providing
excellent academic guidance. For example, one very creative innovation idea of investment strategy for
targeting high academic expectation was seen in a TFI classroom in Pune.The face book concept was given
a new outlook and dimensions in the real classroom environment for targeting investment and academic
growth of the students. Designed by a TFI fellow himself, Ikpreet Singh, this concept has shown
tremendous success, resulting in high academic excellence of the students. There are numerous examples of
innovation in these classrooms by fellows as they show unwavering commitment to bring educational parity
in the country.
Almost all children in the 6-14 age group in India are enrolled in school. In the coming school year, we must
undertake concrete steps for putting India’s children on the path of achieving the full potential of their
capabilities. Each state must publicly declare their learning goals and articulate concretely their plans for
achieving higher learning outcomes for at least the next two to three years. It is urgent that we face our
realities squarely to fulfil children’s hopes for the coming school year and enable India to reach its national
goals for growth and equity.