Millennium Development Goal Of Primary Education

1215 words - 5 pages

Education has always been important throughout history. Originally education was reserved for the elites of society like nobility or the upper class, but as time progressed and social reforms occurred education slowly opened up to the public until eventually anyone could pursue education regardless of their social standing, but there were and still are barriers to receiving education. India, previously a colony of the British Empire gained independence in 1947. Upon separation the country had low literacy rates so an education policy was formed to address this concern. However, the years following independence it became evident that the urban-rural divide was a barrier to education that created educational disparities between the two regions of the country. Also, by focusing on primary education alone for years, India created other disparities across the country educationally. Contrary to popular belief the Indian government has failed to provide universal primary education and has only further weakened the country’s education system by focusing solely on the Millennium Development Goal of primary education.
One of the prominent issues the country faced was a low literacy rate upon separation from Britain. With roughly 16% of the population being literate in 1950 the country was not faring well. (Govinda and Biswal, pg 6; 2005) Traditionally, Indians have always seen education as being precious so becoming literate was a concern for a majority of the country. "Our ancient scriptures define education as that which liberates-- i.e., provides the instruments for liberation from ignorance and oppression." (Singh, pg 11; 1986) After having been ruled by the British Empire Indians knew that an educated population was ensuring national security and development. Based on this value the founding fathers wrote into the constitution the "Provision for free and compulsory education for children." (Constitution of India, article 45; 1950) The idea was that children would have the fundamentals of education taught to them so that should they wish to pursue higher education then the option was available to them. The country today, 60 years after independence, has not achieved its original goal of universal primary education. UNESCO statistics show an almost universal primary school enrollment rate, but the facts do not show the entire truth.
The urban-rural disparity was and still is the most difficult barrier the government has to overcome to achieve universal education in India. "A large number of teachers refuse to teach in rural areas and those who do, are usually under-qualified." (Chhibber, "Gaining Independence from Illiteracy") Rural areas found it increasingly difficult to attain basic education due to a lack of teachers, while urban areas had a sufficient amount of teachers causing huge disparities between the educated and uneducated to coincide between urban and rural centers. Teachers prefer to remain in urban schools because of better paying...

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