Right to Elementary Education and Gopal Krishna Gokale's Contribution ~ Jitu Das's Blog

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Friday, 9 March 2018

Right to Elementary Education and Gopal Krishna Gokale's Contribution

Constitutional provisions for primary education

Article 45 of the Directive Principles of state policy lay down that “ The state shall endeavor to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this constitution, for free and compulsory education to all children till they complete the age of fourteen years.

Compulsory  Primary Education Act was passed in England in 1870. Since then our people have been trying to realize this goal. Baroda, a tiny state of India, introduced compulsory education in 1906. Indians were lucky to get their spokesperson Mr. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who was a member of Imperial Legislature. He moved a resolution in the Council in 1910 urging the Government to make elementary education free and compulsory throughout the country. The Government assured him that they would take up the issue in all earnest and see the things through. With this assurance, Mr. Gokhale withdraws his resolution. But nothing was done in this direction. In 1991, he again moved the resolution but it was rejected. What Gokhle tried to achieve in 1911, came to reality between 1918-1920 when all the provincial Governments passed acts for introducing compulsory education in their provinces.

Similarly, Basic Education ( 1937) also aimed at providing primary education to all the children until they completed the age of 14 years. Sargent report ( 1944) also recommended a universal system of primary education. Naturally, the provision of free and compulsory education for all children till they complete the age of 14 years could not have been otherwise in our country.
 The constitutional provision for the universalization of primary education in our country was to be fulfilled by 1960, but in spite of unprecedented expansion in the field of primary education, universalization of primary education has remained an unfinished task due to lack of financial resources , explosion of student population, non-cooperation and poverty of parents, resistance to the education of girls, small and scattered habitations, existence of backward groups, absence of suitable machinery for compulsory attendance, wide gap between expansion in the states, apathy of illiterate masses to education, low priority to primary education and wastage and stagnation in primary education.


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