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Author: SV RAVI TEJA NERELLA, Advocate, A.P High Court

Importance of Education

Education is a medicine to improve a person’s life and also the most important tool to change an individual’s life. Education for a child begins from home. It is a lifelong process that ends with our last breath. The standard of an individual’s life is determined through one’seducation. Education is a power thatupgradesaperson’s knowledge, skill and improves the overall personality and attitude. Most importantly, education affects the chances of employment for people. A highly qualified or in terms educated individual is probably hasa very good chance of gettingemployment. Such is the value of education in life and society.

Education in Ancient Days

Our Society since the beginning of civilization has given tremendous value to education. In the good olden days, there was no formal education in India. Fathers used to pass on the knowledge to their children relating to their occupation and experience. Much later, two systems of education emerged known as Vedic and Buddhist. Vedas, Vedangas, and Upanishads are the subjectswhich thattaught by the Vedic system[1]andthe Buddhistsystem preached the thoughts of the major Buddhist schools. The mode of communication or the language of education was Sanskrit for the Vedic system and Pali language for the Buddhist education system.Society, as well as the state, could not interfere with the curriculum or the administration of the gurukuls.

To get educationchildren had to leave home and live with a teacher in the gurukul till the completion of their studies. No fee was charged for education and in fact, the teacherusedto takecare of everything, including food, and clothing. It was like a residential school back then. According to that system, physical labor was of utmost importance. Even though if a child was interested in gaining philosophical knowledge, hestill had to do some manual work every day. Debates and discussions were part of that education method.In the Vedic system, children use to start their education at the age of five years. There used to be a ceremony called the Vidyarambha ceremony to mark the commencement of their education.

The concept of Gurukul emerged in ancient times, in which the children weresupposed to leave the home and to join in a gurukul and live with the teacher who used to take care of the studies of the children. Thisconcept is called Upanayana. Boys practiced this ceremony at different ages according to their castes which included Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vaishya. Whereas the children of SC and ST were prohibited from entering a gurukul as education was prohibited for them as they were treated as untouchables in those days.In the Buddhist education system,children start their education at the age of eight years, with a ceremony called Pabbajja or Prabrajya[2]. In this education system, the initiation ceremony could be practiced by boys of all castes and no prohibition was there for lower communities (BC, SC’s, and ST’s). After performing these ceremony children would leave home and go to live in a monastery under the guidance of their teacher, who is a monk.The present-day schoolsin India, which include the English language was originally brought by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay in the 1830s. The curriculum was originally confined to subjects such as science and mathematics. In India, in the year 1921, Uttar Pradesh was the pioneer to setup the Board for the High School and Board of Intermediate Education.This Board was having jurisdiction over Rajputana, Central India, and Gwalior. Separate Boards were then established in Rajputana in the year 1929.Eventually, boards were established in all the remaining states. In 1952, the constitution of the board was amended and it was renamed as Central Board of Secondary Education, in short, called CBSE.

Introduction of Education Policies and its evolution.

To Promote Education amongst India's people the Government of India formulated a policy called “The National Policy on Education (NPE)”. The said above-mentioned policy entails elementary education to urban and ruralcolleges respectively in India. The first NPE was promulgated by the Government of India by the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1968 and the second NPE was promulgated by Prime Minister Sri Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 and the third NPE was promulgated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this year i.e. 2020.

First National Policy of Education (NPE) in 1968

After gettingthe report from the Kothari Commission, the Government of Smt. Indira Gandhi announced the first National Policy on Education in the year 1968.The central government called for complete restructuring and wanted to implement a scheme for an equal educational opportunity to achieve national integration and cultural and economic development. The policy aimed at providing mandatory education for all children up to the age of 14 years, as stipulated by the Constitution of India, and specialized training and qualification for teachers. The policy aimed atteaching regional languages and made thethree language formulato be implemented in secondary education by way of teaching the English language, the official language of the particular state where the school was located, and Hindi.

To promote a common language for all Indians a decision was made to adopt Hindi as the national language, even though that decision had proven to be controversial.This policy tried to teach the Hindilanguageto encourage uniformity among the nation. The policy also introduced the teaching of the sanskrit language which is ancient as well-considered an essential part of India's culture and heritage. In the year 1968, the said policy was tried to spend six percent of National Income to achieve the result.

Second National Policy of Education (NPE) in 1986

In the year 1986, there was a discussion on education policy by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet and during the Budget Session in 1986 the Parliament discussed and adopted the "National Policy on Education 1986". According to National Policy on Education, they have constituted 23 Taskforces and assigned their concerned subject. With these Task Forces very eminent educationists and subject experts[3] as well senior representatives of state and central governments were associated. This body of Task Forces was requested to study the present atmosphere and situation in respect of the concerned subjects assigned to them and to brief the implications of specific statements contained in the National Policy of Education. Finally, the Task Forces submitted their reports by July 1986.

In the year 1986, the government of Rajiv Gandhi introduced New National Policy on Education. This new policy focused on special emphasis on the removal of disparities and equalizing educational opportunity. It focused especially on women, Scheduled Caste (SC), and Scheduled Tribes (ST).The main focus in this regard is the equalization of the SCs population with the non-SCs population at all stages and levels of education, in all areas and all the four dimensions namely rural male, rural female, urban male, and urban female. To achieve the result for social integration amongst countries, the policy aimed atgranting scholarships, adult education, recruiting more teachers from the SC, and also providing incentives for poor families to send their children to schools regularly, improvingand bringing new institutions.This Policy of 1986 also called for education spending to increase to six percent of the national income to achieve the result. This Policy had launched "Operation Blackboard[4]" to improve primary schools nationwide for a "child-centered approach" in primary education. This policy stretched the Open University system with the Indira Gandhi National Open University, which was created in the year 1985. This policy also aimed at creating a rural university model, basing upon the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi to promote social and economic development at the root level among rural India. Universal Elementary Education and National Policy of Education envisage a common school structure throughout the country. The 10+2+3 structure was accepted throughout the country, and advice was made that the primary schooling stage should consist of 5 years, followed by 3 years of upper primary education.

Before this policy, the targets given for Universal Elementary Education had failed by not corresponding to the investment required for the achievement of the goal, nor has it been possible to create the mobilization which was essential for the purpose. Approaching a more practical view of this matter, National Policy of Education limits itself to proposing that, all children by the time of attaining 11 years of age they must have had five years of schooling, or its equivalent through the non-formal stream, and likewise it will be ensured that free and compulsory education up to 14 years of age be provided to all children by the completion of 1995.

Coming to implementation the key strategy was area-specific and population-specific planning. About 75% of children were out ofschool in nine states namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. While these States were treated as educationally backward, enough attention was not given in the past to educationally backward groups in other States. Within the educationally backward areas, there were wide disparities that required special attention. The elements of strategy consisted of the following-

(1) Children of all families in the country will be provided access to elementary education of good quality.

(2) The role of education was to removethe disparities, special measures which were going to be taken to ensure that whatever the socioeconomic background of the children they get a fair opportunity to achieve the success of a level which equals to the level of children from comparatively bettersections of society so that the country moves forward in the direction of the Common School System as referred in the education Policy of 1968.

(3) A nationwide program of school improvement, with required multi-level and multi-dimensional planning, was launched to alter the situation of institutional stagnation and social apathy. Reference was made about reforms of the teacher education system to improve the quality of education.

(4) The country's faith and its oncoming generations will be exemplified in the elementary school system, which will revolve around the child.

(5) For their healthy development and to ensure that they enjoy conditions of freedom and dignity, the education system will strive to have all children in Whole-time schools of 17 good qualities, and till that becomes possible they will be provided opportunities for part-time non-formal education.

(6) Since NPE lays down that children who complete a stage of education would have achieved certain prescribed skills and competencies, the emphasis will now shift from sheer enrolment to retention and quality of education.

Third National Policy of Education (NPE) in 1992

In1992 P.V. Narasimha Rao government modified the 1986 National Policy on Education. Former Prime Minister of India Sri Manmohan Singh in his term of UPA adopted a new policy based on the Common Minimum Programme in 2005. In the year 1992, the Programme of Action in short known asPoA, under the National Policy on Education, 1986 has conducted a common entrance examination on all basis for admission to the professional and technical program in the country. To get admission into Engineering and Architecture/Planning programs, the Government of India passed aresolution in October 2001 which laid down a Three Exam Scheme namely JEE and AIEEE[5] at the National Level and the State Level Engineering Entrance Examinations (SLEEE). This took care of varying admission standards in these programs and helped in maintaining professional standards. To an extent, this policy solved the problems of overlapping and reducing the physical, mental, and financial burden on students and their parents due to the multiplicity of entrance examinations.

Right to Education Act, 2009

The Parliament of India on 4th August 2009 enacted the Act of Right to Education (RTE), or which is also called The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act. This Act prescribed for free and compulsory education for children between the age group of 6 to 14 years in India. This was brought under Article 21A of the Constitution of India. On 1st April 2019, this Right to Education Act came into force. India has become one of the 135 countries to make education a fundamental right for every child. Under section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act, 2009 makes it mandatory for the private schools to keep or reserve 25 percent of the seats for Economically Weaker Section Children which will be reimbursed by the government under the public and private partnership.After getting independence in 1947, the Indian Government conducted many programs to solve the problems of illiteracy in both rural and urban areas of India.

Regarding education, Sri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who was India’s first Minister of Education wanted to bringa uniform educational system throughout the country under the control of the central government.Then to develop proposals to modernize India's education system the Union government established, the University Education Commission (1948–1949), the Secondary Education Commission (1952–1953), University Grants Commission, and the Kothari Commission [6](1964–66). The Government of Sri Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister adopted the Resolution on Scientific Policy thereby sponsored the development of high-quality scientific-educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT’s). In the year 1961, the central government formed an autonomous organization called the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) which would advise both the Union and state governments on formulating and implementing education policies in the country.

Fourth National Policy of Education (NPE) in 2020 (Present Policy)

National Education Policy, 2020 was brought after a thorough process of consultation that involved almost 2 lakh suggestions from 2.5 lakhs Grama Panchayats, 6600 Blocks, 6000 Urban local bodies, and 676 Districts. The MHRD initiated this highly participatory consultation process in 2015.In May 2016, the Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policysubmitted the report under the Chairmanship of Late Shri T.S.R. Subramanian, Former Cabinet Secretary. In June 2017 a Committee for the Draft National Education Policy was constituted under the Chairmanship of Sri Dr. K. Kasturirangan, which submitted its report on the Draft National Education Policy, 2019 to the Hon’ble Human Resource Development Minister on 31st May 2019. Later, the draft National Education Policy 2019 was opened for suggestions and comments of stakeholders including the public.

In 2019, a draft on New Education Policy was released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The draft discusses reducing curriculum content to enhance essential learning, holistic experiential and critical thinking, discussion, and analysis-based learning. It also speaks about the revision of curriculum and pedagogical structure from a 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system design to optimize advanced learning for students based on the cognitive development of children.On 29th July of 2020, the cabinet led by Sri NarendraDamodardas Modi approved a new National Education Policy intending to introduce several changes to the existing Indian education system.


The Policy commits to significantly raising educational investment, as there is no better investment towards a society’s future than the high-quality education of our young people. Unfortunately, public expenditure on education in India has not come close to the recommended level of 6% of GDP, as envisaged by the 1968 Policy, reiterated in the Policy of 1986, and which was further reaffirmed in the 1992 review of the Policy. The current public (Government - Centre and States) expenditure on education in India has been around 4.43% of GDP (Analysis of Budgeted National Education Policy 2020 61 Expenditure 2017-18) and only around 10% of the total Government spending towards education (Economic Survey 2017-18). These numbers are far smaller than most developed and developing countries. To attain the goal of education with excellence and the corresponding multitude of benefits to this Nation and its economy, this policy unequivocally endorses and envisions a substantial increase in public investment in education by both the Central government and all State Governments.

Both the State government and the Central governmentmust work together to improve the public investments in the educational sector to reach the 6% GDP at the earliest possible. This is considered extremely critical for achieving the high-quality and equitable public education system that is truly needed for India's future economic, social, cultural, intellectual, and technological progress and growth. In the end, I conclude that this policy is an accelerating move towards a more scientific approach to education. The prescribed structure will help to provide cognitive development as well as social and physical awareness. If implemented in its true structure, the new policy can bring Indian children, who are tomorrow’s citizens at par with the leading countries of the world.


1. Aggarwala, Adish (1993) Rajiv Gandhi: An Assessment.

2. Chander, Harish and Padmini (2000) Rajiv Gandhi: Many Facets.

3. Sharma, K.K. and Sachdeva, M.S. (2006) Education in the Emerging Indian Society.

4. Jain, M.P., Indian Constitutional Law, Vol. I, p. 974, 2003, Wadhwa Nagpur.

5. The Saikia Committee Report, New Delhi, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Education, 1999.

6. Saleem, Md., "Salient Features of Right to Education Act 2009," Oriental Journal of Law and Social Sciences, Vol. VI, Issue 10, September 2012, pp. 162-16

7. Challenge of Education - A Policy Perspective, Ministry of Education, Government of India, New Delhi, 1985.

8. Report of the Committee of Members of Parliament on Education, 1967, Ministry of Education, Government of India, 1968, pp. 1-7.

9. Report of the Education Commission (1964-66), N.C.E.R.T., 1971 Para 7.17 to 7.20, pp. 271-273.

10. Chaube, S.P., History of Indian Education, Vinod Pustak Mandir, Agra-2, First Edition, 1935/86, pp. 118-119.

11. Bhargava, Moti Lai, History of Modern India, Reliance Publishing House, New Delhi, p. 418.

12. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/reading-new-education-policy-india-schools-colleges-6531603/#:~:text=New%20Education%20Policy%202020%3A%20On,purpose%20does%20an%20NEP%20serve%3F

13. https://www.mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NEP_Final_English_0.pdf

14. https://www.mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/upload_document/npe.pdf

15. http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/1918/10/10_chapter5.pdf

[1]They are the most recent part of the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, the Vedas, that deal with meditation, philosophy, and ontological knowledge, other parts of the Vedas deal with mantras, benedictions, rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices [2]This generally involves preliminary ordination as a novice (m. samanera, f. samaneri). It is sometimes referred to as "lower ordination". After a period or when the novice reaches 20 years of age, the novice can be considered for the upasampadā ordination (or "higher ordination") whereby the novice becomes a monk (bhikkhu) or nun (bhikkhuni). [3]C. Gilpatric, M. S. Mehta, Prof. M. Mehrotra, H. H. Howes, Nauhria Ram and Olive 1. Reddick served as special invitees of the sub groups. [4]Operation Blackboard is a centrally sponsored programme which was started in 1987 immediately after the Rajiv Gandhi National Policy on Education of 1986. [5]Until 2018, JEE-Main was on the first week of April by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). It was held both on paper and electronically. From 2019, it is conducted by the NTA, twice a year, and online only. [6]It was formed on 14 July 1964 under the chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari, then chairman of the University Grants Commission. The terms of reference of the commission were to formulate the general principles and guidelines for the development of education from primary level to the highest and advise the government on a standardized national pattern of education in India.

Edited by Sathyanarayanan Iyer, Associate editor, Lawgc Stratum.

About the Author:

Nerella SV Ravi Teja is a High Court Practitioner in AP & Telangana and is an upcoming Young Advocate among the Bar. He was a Student Leader in Osmania University, Hyderabad and is very active in Social Issues. His Great Grand Father Nerella Yadhartham was a freedom fighter, Azad Hind Fauz. His family is involved in Serving Public viz Police Officers, Lawyers and Politicians.

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