National Policy on Education
The National Policy on Education (NPE) aims at promoting education amongst the people. The policy covers elementary education in both rural and urban India. The first NEP was promulgated in 1968 and the second by Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, and the third by P.V. Narsimha Rao on 1992.
- The UPA government (2004) has laid emphasis on certain aspects of education.
- The1986 education policy, however, had emphasized on the following:
- universal access and enrolment.
- Universal retention and education of children up to 14 years of age,
- A substantial improvement in the quality of education to enable all children to achieve it; and
- Revival of Sanskrit and other classical languages.
Based on the report and recommendations of the Education Commission (1964-1966), the government announced the first National Policy on Education in 1968, which called for a 'radical restructuring' and equalize educational opportunities in order to achieve national integration and greater cultural and economic development. The policy called for fulfilling compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14, as demanded by the Constitution of India. The policy called for focus on learning of regional languages, outlining the 'three language formula' to be implemented in secondary education 'the inclusion of the English language, the official language of the state where the school was based, and Hindi, the national language. The policy also encouraged the teaching of the ancient Sanskrit language, which was considered an essential part of India's culture and heritage.
The NPE of 1968 called for spending six percent of the national income on education. Having announced that a new policy was to be made public soon, the government introduced a new National Policy on Education in May, 1986. The new policy called for 'special emphasis on the removal of disparities and to equalize educational opportunity,' especially for Indian women, Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Scheduled Caste (SC) communities. The NPE called for a 'child-centred approach' in primary education, and launched 'Operation Blackboard' to improve primary education nationwide. The policy expanded the Open University system. The policy also called for the creation of the 'rural university' model, based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote economic and social development at the grassroot level in rural India.
The Government, in 1992, sought to modify the national policy on education by emphasing on :
(i) education has to be for all, and fundamental to all-round development;
(ii) education to remove all types of disparities and equalize educational opportunities, especially to make education available for the SCs, STs, minorities, the disabled, and the OBCs,
(iii) provision for availability of funds, and scholarships,
(iv) emphasis on teachers' training,
(v) stress on technical and professional education,
(vi) provision for adult and female education,
(vii) research and development facilities.
During the UPA Government (2004-2014), the education policy laid emphasis on universalisation of education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, right to education, education of women especially girls' education, at the elementary level, the Rashtariya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, education for the disabled at the secondary education, professional education, autonomy in high education Saakshar Bharat/adult education' all this within the framework of the NPE'1986. Pending the formulation of the new education policy, the BJP-led NDA government tends to formulate education which will reflect the aspirations of the people, emphasizing on knowledge-based economy, autonomy of the educational institutions, restructuring of the University Grant Commission and revamping the whole education system.