A National Agenda for Education

4.

Primary Education:

Vision, Objectives, Problems and

Recommendations

I

In India, we have been striving to increase allocations to primary education, and we notice that sixty-five per cent of the plan allocation for the year 1999-2000 has been earmarked for elementary education. A new initiative has been envisaged for participation of the girl child. Allocation to operation black board has been enhanced from Rs. 304 crores to Rs. 400 crores and allocation to DPEP has been increased from Rs. 727 crores to Rs. 754 crores. A sum of Rs 160 crores has been assigned to the national strategy for participation of girls and there has been an upward revision of the existing schemes and also for upgrading infrastructural facilities. Out of the plan allocation for education for the ninth five-year plan, which amounts to Rs. 20381 crores, Rs. 7937 crores is allotted to primary education alone, and the programme for universalisation of elementary education has received the allocation of Rs. 3035 crores. These are significant figures, and it is also significant that to non-formal education, which is indispensable for effective primary education in our country, Rs. 350 crores have been allocated.

But we all know that mere financial allocations cannot deliver the goods. Central factors that determine the success of educational programmes are related to the quality of teachers, the quality of teaching-learning materials, and the quality of the strategies of addressing varieties of target groups which present specific needs and require specific solutions.

In India, like many other developing countries, we find that a large number of children are first-generation learners and the usual teaching-learning materials, which have been standardized

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