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Growth and development of education in India since 1951-52.


The basic purpose of Planning in India is to widen people's choices and improve the well-being of the people. In this context, promoting human development is the key issue so that people could lead a long and healthy life, they could acquire knowledge so as to have better vertical mobility in life and last but not the least, to achieve a decent standard of living for all. For this purpose greater attention has to be focused on education, health of the people and poverty elimination. India has the scope and opportunities of becoming one of the front ranking countries of the world only if priority of attention could be given to educate every child and take due care of their health. But during the Five Year Plans period, education and health have not received the desired level of support from Government. It would be therefore appropriate to analyses the progress of education development in India during the Five Year Plans Period. Since 1951, India has completed Ten Five Year Plans, Seven annual plans and the implementation of Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) is underway. Each Plan takes into account the experience of the previous Plan and attempts to make the necessary directional change and emphasis. Each Five Year Plan is both an assessment of the past and a call for the future.

Globally India's economic image has become quite impressive in recent years. Even after over 59 years of Planning, India ranks quite low globally on human and gender development because our plans did not bestow that much attention to social sector development as it deserved. The most important part of social sector is health and family welfare and education. The low level development of social sector in India is largely due to inadequacy of education, health, drinking water, sanitation and housing facilities etc. Higher economic development will become meaningful only after social sector development is given due care and priority. Recent development experience of various countries of the world is a powerful reminder that the expansion of output and wealth is only a means. The end of development must be human well being. Hence, human development is an integral part of the development process and without this the development process for any country is incomplete. No doubt economic growth provides resources to achieve improvement in human development; but one has to agree with the argument that the improvement in human development can also play a significant role in achieving economic growth. Actually economic growth may not be sustained if it is not accompanied or preceded by betterment in human development.

The backwardness of a nation's each sector can be eliminated only when education and health gain momentum with the support of Government Policy. For human development Prof. Amartya Sen wanted the adoption of "Eastern Strategy" and articulated it as "enhancement of basic Human capabilities". This Eastern Strategy contributes to quality of life, human development and empowerment of people, particularly women. Human development through development of education and health highly helps economic and industrial expansion, and improves the efficiency and wide reach of the market economy as a result raising the quality of life. Education and health are the basic inputs for investment in human capital, the speed of human development will be enhanced if proper health facilities and education are provided simultaneously. Health, education and poverty are closely related. Health and education help to eliminate the poverty which is a big obstacle in the path of economic growth with social justice.

Education is the engine of economic growth and social change. It creates motivation for progress and brings revolution in the ideas necessary for the prosperity of the country. It opens up opportunities leading to both individual and group entitlements. Education, in its broadest sense of development of youth, is the most crucial input for empowering people with skills and knowledge and giving them access to productive employment in future. Improvements in education are not only expected to enhance efficiency but also augment the overall quality of life. Proper education process is a passport to a good, comfortable and secure life. Educated and trained population can itself become an asset in accelerating economic development and ensuring social change in desired directions.

Education is of basic importance in the planned development of a nation. The educational machinery will have to be geared for specific tasks which the nation sets itself through the plan so as to make available in the various fields, personnel of suitable quality at the required rate. In a democratic set up, the role of education becomes crucial, since it can function effectively only if there is an intelligent participation of the masses in the affairs of the country. it is essential for the successful implementation of the plan that the educational programme helps to train the people to place responsibilities before rights and to keep the self-regarding outlook and the force f the acquisitive instinct within legitimate bounds. The education system should also satisfy cultural needs, which is essential for the healthy growth of a nation.

In India, the Planning Commission is mainly concerned with viewing education as a part of the total national effort, establishing and strengthening its links with other aspects of national life and assigning priorities for the various educational programmes awaiting implementation. Education is an important and basic input required to improve the quality of human resources. Indeed, education is the most important factor required to make workforce, a productive factor. Labour without education and skill cannot be graded as human resource. Therefore, one of the necessary conditions for overall development of a nation is the improvement in the quality of human resources through proper education. Public expenditure on education is justified mainly on this ground and as a matter of fact an increased proportion of public expenditure is advocated to achieve a higher rate of economic growth.


The present study deals with the growth and development of education in India since 1951-52. The study is based on secondary data and for the purpose of study, data on the following important variables:- Five Year Plan wise expenditure on education, year-wise public expenditure on education, number of recognized educational institution, students enrolment and Gross Enrolment Ratio at different education levels, literacy rate, Human Development Index (HDI) and Educational Development Index (EDI) has been taken from various issues of Five Year Plans documents, Annual Report of UGC, Economic Survey (Government of India), Selected Educational Statistics (Ministry of Human Resource Development), World Development Report (World Bank), Human Development Report (UNDP) and Education for All: Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO). Besides, the journals, magazines and periodicals relevant to the study have also been used. In order to achieve the objective of the study a time series data on the relevant variables / indicators have been collected for 1950-51, 1960-61, 1970-71, 1980-81, 1990-91 and from 1996-97 to 2005-06. To analyze the data, the study makes use of some simple techniques like average, percentage and ratio.

Expenditure of Education during the Five Year Plans

While analyzing growth and development of education sector, its outlays/input and outcomes need to be considered. Outlays and outcomes are interrelated. What lies in between these two is implementation. Outlays means what amount is spent for the development of education and outcomes means as to what extent this expenditure benefits the individual and society. Expenditure on education does not yield immediate returns to the individual as well as to the society. The time lag and the size of return depend on many economic and non economic factors. Moreover, time lag and the size of return may also vary from time to time and from economy to economy. Here it is important to analyse the Planwise expenditure on education which reflects the government will and efforts for education development in India.

Public expenditure on education during different Five Year Plans periods has been presented in Table-1. It is clear from the table that during First Fiver Year Plan expenditure on education is only Rs. 149 crores which is only 7.60 percent of total plan expenditure and 36.52 percent of total social sector expenditure. But in the 10th Five Year Plan, it increased to Rs. 101364.2 crores which is only 6.26 percent of total Plan expenditure and 23.22 percent of total social sector expenditure. During the 1st Five Year Plan to 11th Five Year Plan, expenditure on education (as a percentage of total plan expenditure) lies between 2.69 percent to 7.60 percent, except Annual Plan and Eleventh Plan periods. In the same way as a parentage of total social sector expenditure, expenditure on education lies between 18.70 percent to 47.21 percent. It is revealed from the table that during Eleventh Plan Period, the total allocation for education is Rs. 347338 crores which is 9.53 percent of total plan expenditure and 31.51 percent of total social sector expenditure. The Eleventh Plan places the highest priority on education as a Central Instrument for achieving rapid and exclusive growth. It presents a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the education sector covering all segments of the education pyramid. In Eleventh Five Year Plan, out of the total Plan outlay for education, around 50 percent for elementary education and literacy, 20 percent for Secondary education and 30 percent for higher education including technical education was allocated. On the other hand in First Five Year Plan out of total plan expenditure for education, there was 56 percent for the elementary level, 13 percent for secondary level and 31 percent for the development of higher education.

It is important to mentions here that the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) committee on financing higher and technical education 2005, suggested that of the agreed 6 percent of GDP to education, 3 percent (50 percent) to be allocated to elementary education, 1.5 percent (25 percent) to secondary education, 1 percent (16.67 percent) to higher general education and 0.5 percent (8.33 percent) to higher technical education. The inter-sector priorities on and off have been changed as reflected in the expenditure pattern of the Plan period. In the First Plan, top priority was given to elementary education, keeping the secondary education at the back burner, the situation changed during the second and third Five Year Plan, when higher education and technical education got prominence where the pattern of pubic expenditure remained almost same. The primary education again came into prominence during VIII, IX, X and XI Five Year Plans.

Public Expenditure on Education and GDP

How much the Government of India is interested to develop the education facilities in the country can be understood, among other things, from the trends in public expenditure on education. It is well known that our education system is severely starved of funds and it does require huge sum for development of quantitative and qualitative aspects of education system. Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP is considered as a indicator of state policy towards promoting education. How much a country should invest in education as a proportion of their GDP depends on many factors and the level of economic growth. Normally expenditure on education should grow at double the rate of economic growth in the early stages of educational development (J.B.G.Tilak2006). In India long ago in 1966 D.S Kothari commission on education had recommended that we should allocate 6 percent of GDP to education and the same was accepted by the Government of India which is reflected in the National Policy on Education 1986. But the goal of 6 percent investment in education sector remained unfulfilled. The non-accomplishment of the goal led the Government to repeatedly reiterate the commitment in subsequent year in every Five Year Plan, in every Policy statement, Political Party manifestos and other agenda and even in the every Independence Day speeches of the Prime Ministers from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Table--2 shows the year-wise public expenditure on education during the period from 1951-52 to 2005-06. It is revealed from the table that the public expenditure on education is just 64.46 crore in 1951-52 (0.64 percent of GDP) has increased to 239.56 crore (1.48 percent of GDP) in 1960-61, 892.36 crore (2.11 percent of GDP) in 1970-71, 3884.2 crore (2.98 percent of GDP) in 1980-81, 19615.85 crore (3.84 percent of GDP) in 1990-91, 82486.48 (4.28 percent of GDP) in 2000-01 and 113228.71 (3.46 percent of GDP) in 2005-06. The expenditure on education lies between 0.64 percent to 4.28 percent of GDP during this study period. At the inception of First Five Year Plan, India was spending only 0.64 percent of GDP on education and by 2005-06 it increased to 3.46 percent. This continuing rise and fall has reached a maximum level of 4.28 percent in 2000-01 and a minimum of 3.39 percent in 2004-05. But in 2005-06 it slightly increased to 3.46 percent. The pattern of public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP shows an irregular rise and fall. When we compare 1951-52 situations to current situation and later period, the growth of public expenditure is not smooth, this is indeed a remarkable increase. But the goal of 6 percent of GDP expenditure on education is not achieved till now. Table-2A shows the decade wise average public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP. It is 1.06 percent in 1951-52 to 1960-61, 1.69 percent in 1961-62 to 1970-71, 2.58 percent in 1971-72 to 1980-81, 3.48 percent in 1981-82 to 1990-91, 3.76 percent in 1991-92 to 2000-01 and 3.58 percent for 2001-02 to 2005-06.

Educational Infrastructure

Educational infrastructure is an important indicator to know the educational status and its progress in a country. Educational infrastructure means quantity and quality of education provided in the country. Growth and development of education is significantly influenced by the availability of educational infrastructure and facilities. Quantitatively the Indian education systems might have achieved some milestones but qualitatively it still lags far behind on the international standards. In this section, we study the existing Indian education system and the growth of recognized educational Institutions in India.

In India education system is divided into three levels namely Elementary, Secondary and Senior secondary and Higher education. Elementary education, i.e. Classes I-VIII consisting of Primary education (I-V) and Upper Primary education (VI-VIII) is the foundation of the pyramid in the education system. Secondary and senior secondary (IX to XIII) education levels are very important for the growth of higher education system. This level of education serves as a bridge between elementary and higher education and prepares young persons between the age group of 14-18 for entry into higher education. Higher education level covers education beyond 10+2 and it includes Graduation, Post-Graduation, Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma, Doctoral, Post Doctoral, etc. It covers education in different disciplines such as Arts, Commerce, Science & Technology, Engineering, Management, Law, Education and Medical, etc. Higher education plays a key role in the development of the various sectors of the economy by providing skilled manpower.

The number of recoganised educational Institutions over time may be useful to know the growth and development of educational facilities that is taking place. Table-3 shows the growth of recognised educational Institutions in India since 1950-51. Table shows that the number of primary schools increased from 209671 in 1950-51 to 408378 in 1970-71, 560935 in 1990-91, 638738 in 2000-01 and 772568 in 2005-06. In the same way the number of upper primary schools increased from 13596 in 1950-51 to 90621 in 1970-71, 151456 in 1990-91, 206269 in 2000-01 and 288493 in 2005-06. It is clear from the table that during the period from 1950-51 to 2005-06 the number of primary schools has increased by 3.68 times, whereas the number of upper primary schools increased by more than 21 times. But the ratio of primary school to upper primary school came down from 1:15.4 in 1950-51 to 1:2.67 in 2005-06. The growth in upper primary schools should be linked to growth in primary schools. The policy directives in this regard are one upper primary school for every three primary schools which should be examined over time to have real paltered of opening of schools. It is also clear from Table-3 that during the period 1950-51 the number of secondary and senior secondary level schools was only 7416 which increased to 37051 in 1970-71, 79796 in 1990-91, 126047 in 2000-01 and 159667 in 2005-06. This table also shows that in 1950-51 there were only 370 colleges for general education, 208 colleges for professional education and only 27 Universities. But these increased to 2285, 992 and 82 in 1970-71, 4862, 886 and 184 in 1990-91, 7929, 2223 and 254 in 2000-01 and 11698, 5284 and 350 in 2005-06 respectively.

Over the last 59 years, there has been a significant growth in the number of new universities and institutions of higher learning in specialized areas. These universities and institutions of higher learning perform a critical role in socio-economic and technological development of a country. They create knowledge and impart and disseminate it. Nations having large number of knowledgeable people in diversified fields can preserve their sovereignty and achieve strategic depth. For higher education development, the Eleventh Plan proposed to setting up of 30 central universities, 16 universities on the basis of one central university in each of the 16 uncovered states. It also proposes to set up 14 world class universities.

Here it is important to highlight the glorious past of Indian higher education. In ancient times, Indian universities like Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramsila were renowned seats of higher learning, attracting students from far and wide including countries such as Korea, China, Burma, Ceylon, and Nepal. During the colonial era, the rulers consciously did not use education for sustainable development. The first three universities were set up in the presidency towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras in 1857. It took them another 30 years to set up the fourth university at Allahabad in 1887 and yet another 29 years to established the fifth and sixth universities at Mysore and Banaras in 1916. These universities were established on the pattern of the University of London, thus they were basically affiliating, examining and regulating bodies (Ved Parkash). Since independence, the numbers of colleges and universities have registered a significant hike.

In spite of such an expansion and contribution we still fall short of educational infrastructure in India. We lag behind as compared to most of developed and developing countries. We still fall short of universities and colleges as only 10 percent of the relevant age group are enrolled in higher education system which is far below the world average of 23 percent. In the world scenario, India still has far too less number of institutions of higher learning. While Japan has more than 725 universities for its 127.5 million people and the USA have more than 4352 universities for its 308.5 million people the quality of most Indian universities and institutions is poorer in comparison to international standards. The gap between Indian university and foreign universities has been widening. The report of the Knowledge Commission wanted the enrollment in higher education to increase by 15 percent by 2015 for which it has recommended the setting up of about 1500 universities in next few years. On one hand, we are struggling with quantity and on the other hand there is a concern for maintaining quality and relevance.

Enrolment trends and Gross Enrolment Ratio's (GER)

It is clear from the Table-4 that due to the governments' education policies enrolment of students at all level of education increased. This table shows that the enrolment at primary level increased from 19.2 million (13.8 Boys and 5.4 Girls) in 1950-51 to 57 million (35.7 Boys and 21.3 Girls) in 1970-71, 97.4 million (57 Boys and 40.4 Girls) in 1990-91, 113.8 million (64.0 Boys and 49.8 Girls) in 2000-01 and 132.1 million (70.5 Boys and 61.6 Girls) in 2005-06.

1. UGC Annual Report 2007-08

In the same way enrolment at upper primary level increased from 3.1 million (2.6 Boys and 0.5 Girls) in 1950-51 to 13.3 million (9.4 Boys and 3.9 Girls) in 1970-71, 34 million (21.5 Boys and 12.5 Girls) in 1990-91, 42.8 million (25.3 boys and 17.5 girls) in 2000-2001 and 52.2 million (28.9 Boys and 23.3 Girls) in 2005-06. Enrolment in secondary and senior secondary level increased from 1.5 million (1.3 Boys and 0.2 Girls) in 1950-51 to 11 million (7.6 Boys and 3.4 Girls) in 1980-81, 27.6 million (16.9 Boys and 10.7 Girls) in 2000-01 and 38.4 million (22.3 Boys and 16.1 girls) in 2005-06. It is observed from the table that the enrolment of girls at all levels of education is less than that of the boys. In the case of enrolment in higher education the position is very poor. In 1950-51 only 0.20 million students were enrolled which increased to 1.69 million in 1970-71, 4.92 million in 1990-91, 8.40 million in 2000-01 and 11.02 million in 2005-06.

Over the last five decades the country has taken long strides in the development of educational facilities especially during the plan period. But it has been observed that despite all initiatives taken by the Government for achieving universalisation of primary education we are unable to universalize primary education which is the one of the most important objectives of our development planning. The GER at different levels of education in India has been presented in Table--5. The GER in primary education increased from 42.6 (60.6 Boys and 24.8 Girls) in 1950-51 to 78.6 (95.5 Boys and 60.5 Girls) in 1970-71, 83.8 (94.8 Boys and 71.9 Girls) in 1990-91 and 109.4 (112.8 Boys and 105.8 Girls) in 2005-06. In the same way GER in upper primary level increased from 12.7 (20.6 Boys and 4.6 Girls) in 1950-51 to 71.0 (75.2 Boys and 66.4 Girls) in 2005-06. The gap between GER of boys and girls at the primary and upper primary levels has declined significantly from 35.8 percent and 16 percent in 1950-51 to 7 percent and 8.8 percent in 2005-06 respectively. It is clear from the study period that we have not been successful in the development of upper primary educational facilities. The GER in secondary and Senior Secondary increased from 33.26 percent (38.23 Boys and 27.74 Girls) in 2001-02 to 40.4 percent (44.6 Boys and 35.8 Girls) in 2005-06. The GER in higher education was 0.7 percent in 1950-51 which increased to 1.4 percent in 1960-61, 7.22 percent in 1999-2000 and 11.6 percent (13.5 Boys and 9.4 Girls) in 2005-06.

There are significant disparities in GER of higher education between rural and urban areas it was 7.76 percent and 27.20 percent in 2003-04 respectively. Besides this the disparities in GER are inter-state, inter-caste, inter-religion, gender and poor-non poor (Sukhadeo thorat).

Although the Government has significantly increased GER at different levels, the dropout rate continues to be quite high particularly in elementary education. For primary level it is 25.67 percent in 2005-06, but if we take the entire elementary education the drop-out rate is 48.80 percent and for higher education it is about 62 percent. The dropout rate among girls in the scheduled cast and scheduled tribes is higher than among boys and it is also high in rural area as compared to urban area at all level of education. To improve retention rate and GER in all levels of education, the government introduced many programmes e.g. Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM-1995), District Primary Education Programme (1994) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan-SSA (2001) for universalisation of elementary education. The SSA was implemented as an umbrella programme to support and build upon other primary and elementary education projects. For secondary and senior secondary level government has just begun Rastrisa Madhmik Shiksha Abhiyan (2009). For higher education government has been providing stipend, scholarships, fellowships and loans. In Eleventh Five Year Plan, the government target is to reduce the drop-out rate at the elementary level from 52.2 percent in 2003-04 to 20 percent by 2011-12 and increasing the GER for higher education from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2011-12.

Since enrolment in education is significantly influenced by the availability of educational infrastructure and facilities. In order to increase the GER in higher education Government of India has taken some important steps and recently UGC started a project to establish Model Colleges in 374 educational backward districts of India. According to the UGC report 2005-06, the GER of higher education is 11.6 percent which is too low compared to the world average of 23.2 percent, 36.5 percent for countries in transition and 55 percent for developed countries.

Growth of Literacy in India

Literacy is a person's first step in learning and knowledge building and as a result literacy indicators are essential for any measurement of educational and human development. A high literacy rate among the people suggests a high level of participation and retention in primary education, and its effectiveness in imparting the basic skills of reading and writing. Indian planners considered literacy as the most essential prerequisite for individual empowerment. A new thrust was given to adult literacy in the National Policy on Education 1986 and the Plan of Action 1992, advocated a three-pronged strategy of adult education, elementary education, and non-formal education to eradicate illiteracy. The National Literacy Mission (NLM) was set up in 1988 with an initial target to make 80 million persons literate by 1995, which was later enhanced to 100 million by 1997 and the revised target was to achieve a threshold level of 75 percent literacy by 2007. In India since 1951, literacy rates have shown substantial improvement. Table-6 shows that the total literacy rate which was only 18.30 percent (27.16 Males and 8.86 Female) in 1951 rose to 28.30 percent (40.40 Males and 15.35 Females) in 1961, 34.45 percent (45.96 Males and 21.97 Females) in 1971, 52.21 percent (64.13 Males and 39.29 Females) in 1991 and 65.38 percent (75.85 Males and 54.16 Females) in 2001. The male-female literacy gap which was 18.3 in 1951 rose 26.62 in 1981 and after that reduced to 21.69 in 2001. As far as the rural-urban gap is concerned the table indicated that the rate of literacy is significantly lower in rural areas as compared to urban areas and across gender it is found that the males have a greater literacy than females both in rural and urban areas.

Despite an upward trend in the literacy rates, it is much lower than the advanced countries of the world. In India, only Kerala has the distinction of above 90 percent of literacy rate. Table-6 also shows the Literacy Gender Parity Index (LGPI). The ratio of the female and male literacy rates measures progress towards gender equity in literacy and the level of learning opportunities available for women in relation to those available to men. It serves also as a significant indicator of the empowerment of women in society; when the LGPI shows a value equal to one, female literacy and male literacy rates are equal. A value less than one indicates that proportionately fewer women than men have basic literacy skills and conversely a value exceeding one indicates that proportionately fewer men have basic literacy skills. The LGPI which was only 0.33 in 1951 constantly increased and moving closer to one. It increased to 0.38 in 1961, 0.48 in 1971, 0.53 in 1981, 0.61 in 1991 and 0.71 in 2001.

India's Global Position on Human Development and Educational development

The study of growth and development of education in India is incomplete without its comparison with other countries of the world. India's global position can be evaluated on the basis of HDI and EDI. It has been mentioned in previous discussion that education is a major component of human development and hence education development can be assessed on the basis of HDI. HDI is being annually calculated and published by the UNDP in its Human Development Report. For calculating the HDI, UNDP consider four indicators or basic dimension of human development i.e. life expectancy at birth, GDP per capita, adult literacy rate and combined GER. These all four indicators relate to the development of education level of a country, but EDI directly relates to the growth and development of education level of a nation. Therefore, both indices show the growth and development of education. So in order to analyse the Indian's education development it is better to assess it on the basis of HDI and EDI.

For this purpose two types of EDI are used, one of which is calculated by UNDP and published in Human Development Report. This is known as Education Index (EI). EI measures a country's relative achievement in both adult literacy and combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio. For calculating this EI two-thirds weight is

given to adult literacy and one-third weight to combined enrolment ratio. The second EDI is known as the education for all development index calculated and published in "EFA: Global Monitoring Report" (UNESCO). This EDI is the arithmetic mean of its four components: total primary Net Enrolment Ratio (NER), adult literacy rate, Gender Relative Index (GEI) and survival rate to grade V.

All countries of the world are making efforts in varying degrees to improve their HDI and EDI/EI. If the same trend is maintained, several medium HDI and EDI countries will enter in the high HDI and EDI group and several low HDI and EDI countries will join the medium HDI and EDI group. India is also taking important steps to improve its position; as a result its HDI and EDI has improved and entered the group of medium human development countries. But India is still lagging behind developed and some of the developing countries. There is much to be accomplished before India would be entering in the high HDI and EDI group.

Indian global position on human development in comparison with some selected countries of world has been presented in table-7. Table-7 shows that in 2001 India's HDI was 0.590 which increased to 0.619 in 2005 whereas HDI rank decreased from 127 to 128. In 2005 the HDI of Iceland and Norway was 0.968 but their HDI rank was one and two respectively. At the same time, HDI of UK, Cuba, Kazakhstan, China, Indonesia, Botswana, Pakistan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Niger was 0.946 (Rank-16), 0.838 (Rank-51), 0.794 (Rank-73), 0.777 (Rank-81), 0.728 (Rank 107), 0.654 (Rank-124), 0.551 (Rank-136), 0.521 (Rank-148), 0.406 (Rank-169) and 0.374 (Rank-174) respectively. This Table also shows the indicators of HDI for 2005. It is evident from the table that in 2005 the countries like Indonesia and Botswana had HDI more than India. Table-7 also shows EDI of India in comparison with other selected countries for the year 2005. The Indian's EDI was only 0.620 whereas of Iceland, Norway, UK, China, Botswana, Pakistan and Ethiopia was 0.978, 0.991, 0.970, 0.837, 0.773, 0.466 and 0.380 respectively. Same table shows that the combined GER of India is only 63.8 in 2005 whereas of Iceland, Norway, UK, China, Botswana, Kenya and Ethiopia was 95.4, 92.2, 93.0, 69.1, 69.5, 60.6 and 42.1 respectively. In 2002-03 the Indian's public expenditure on education as percentage of GDP was only 3.8 per cent whereas of Iceland, Norway, UK, Cuba, Botswana, Kenya and Ethiopia was 8.1 percent, 7.7 percent 5.4 percent 9.8 percent, 10.7 percent 6.7 percent and 6.1 percent respectively. This is very shameful for the policy makers of India that some underdeveloped countries like Kenya and Ethiopia spend more of their GDP on education as compared to India. The condition of adult literacy rate of India is also not very good in comparison with other countries. It is observed from the table that India has shown some progress in the area of human development but there is lot to be done. Because of increasing population and corruption many of Government policies for human development are not fully successful and it can be said that the condition of human development in India is far away from the condition in which it ought to be.

Table-8 shows the EDI (Education for all development index) of India in comparison with the other selected country's EDI. In addition to this, the Table shows the indicators of EDI on which the formation of EDI-2006 depends. It is observed from the table that there is hardly any improvement in the EDI of India. It increased from 0.741 in 2002 to 0.794 in 2006 and among 129 countries, the EDI of India ranked 102 in 2006, whereas in 2002 its rank was 100 in 121 countries. In 2006 the EDI of Kazakhstan, Norway, UK, Iceland, Cuba, China, Indonesia, Botswana, Pakistan and Ethiopia was 0.995 (Rank-I), 0.994 (Rank-2), 0.993 (Rank-3), 0.988 (Rank-12), 0.981 (Rank-22), 0.947 (Rank-59), 0.925 (Rank-71), 0.867 (Rank-92), 0.652 (Rank-118) and 0.598 (Rank-125) respectively. This table also shows that in 2006, the Indian total primary NER is 0.961 which is more than the countries with high EDI but our condition is quite pitiable in relation to literacy rate, GEI and the survival rate to grade V which is 0.652, 0.834 and 0.730 respectively. In table-8 the EDI relates to development of primary education whereas EDI shown in table-7 is related to development of all the levels of education. A comparative analysis of both the tables reveals that there is lot to be done for the development of education in India. The main purpose of comparison of the position of India with other selected countries is, that for the improvement of our position, we can take advantage of the experience of developed countries and apply their policies by making certain modification according to our economic, social as well as political conditions.

Conclusion and Suggestions

Human development is an integral part of the process of economic development and without it economic development may not be sustained. The speed of human development will be enhanced if proper health and education facilities are provided simultaneously to the people. Education helps to eliminate poverty, improve health and achieve economic growth with social justice. Education not only increases the economic returns but also makes significant effect on poverty, income distribution, health, population growth and overall quality of human life. Therefore, one of the necessary conditions for overall development of a nation is the human development through proper education.

Indian Government has recognised the importance of education, but during the Five Year Plans period education has not received the desired level of support from the government. Public expenditure on education increased by more than 680 times from I plan to XI plan. During the Five Year Plan period it lies between 2.69 percent to 9.53 percent of total plan expenditure and 18.70 percent to 47.21 percent of total social sector expenditure. But during the same period allocation of public expenditure on different levels of education was changed repeatedly. During the study period year-wise expenditure on education also shows an irregular pattern of rise and fall but it lies between 0.64 percent to 4.28 percent of GDP. Its growth is not smooth and moreover Kothari Commission recommendations and goal of 6 percent of GDP allocation to education have remained unfulfilled. Our expenditure on education is also less than several developing and developed countries.

On the part of quantitative aspects of educational infrastructure, we achieved some remarkable position but qualitatively it still lags far behind on the international standards. It is observed from the study that the number of primary schools, upper primary schools, secondary and senior secondary schools, college for general education, college for professional education and universities increased from 209671, 13596, 7416, 370, 208 and 27 in 1950-51 to 772568, 288493, 159667, 11698, 5284 and 350 respectively in 2005-06. Inspite of expansion we till fall short of educational infrastructure in India. We lag behind most of the developed and developing countries.

The student enrolment at primary, upper primary, secondary, senior secondary and higher education increased from 19.2 million, 3.1 million, 1.5 million and 0.20 million in 1950-51 to 132.1 million, 52.2 million 38.4 million and 11.02 million respectively in 2005-06. It is observed from the study that the girls' enrolment and GER at all level of education is less than boys' enrolment. In India there is significant increase in GER at all levels of education. At primary level it has increased from 42.6 in 1950-51 to 109.4 in 2005-06 and at upper primary level it has increased from 12.7 in 1950-51 to 71.0 in 2005-06. GER at higher education increased from 0.7 in 1950-51 to 11.6 in 2005-06. India's combined GER is less than the world average. To improve GER at all levels of education, the government introduced many programmes e.g. SSA, DPEP and MDM programme. Yet dropout rate continues to be very high particularly in elementary education and in order to increase the GER in higher education UGC is going to establish 374 'Model College' in EBDs.

Since 1951 literacy rate has shown substantial improvement in India. Total literacy rate increased from 18.30 percent in 1951 to 65.38 percent in 2005-06. It is observed from the study that literacy rate in rural areas is lower as compared to urban areas and across gender it is greater among males as compare to females in rural and urban areas. But the male-female literacy gap which is 18.3 percent in 1951, after showing irregular pattern increased to 21.69 percent in 2001. The value of LGPI increased from 0.33 in 1951 to 0.71 in 2001. It is increasing constantly and is reaching near to one which shows the growing trends of literacy rate in females. Although India has shown a better record in improving its literacy rate, yet it lags behind considerably, even with reference to medium human development countries.

This study shows that Indian global position on human development and education development is poorer in comparison of some other countries of world. The value of its HDI in 2005 was 0.619 and its rank was 128 among 177 countries. On the other side the value of its EDI in 2006 was 0.794 and its rank was 102 among the 129 countries. The literacy rates, combined GER, total primary NER, GEI, survival rate to grade V, life expectancies, and public expenditure on education are also not very good as compare to other selected countries of the world. No doubt India has shown some progress in the area of human development but there is lot to be done more particularly for education development.

At the very outset, we should note the need for a long-term plan for educational development in the country. The absence of a long term plan in education is perhaps one of the main sources of the ills of the education system. The basic need for educational development is finance, which should be available in adequate quantity at the right time in the right way. Therefore, the first and foremost objective of our education planning is to remove the scarcity of finance for educational development and try to achieve at lest 6 percent of GDP for education sector. Reaching the goal of 6 percent of GDP is a difficult but not an impossible task, if there is political will and the allocation to education can be increased either by reallocating resources from other sectors or by raising more resources by the government from the common pool or by both.

Allocation of resources to the education sector must not be determined by the residual available after other sector allocation but must depend upon the need of the education sector for the overall development of economy. Basically there is a need to change the approach to provide funding to the education sector. It is well recognised that no nation goes bankrupt by investing in education for its people. There is a need to find means of mobilizing government and non-government sources of funding for education. The government resource base can be increased. The gap between requirements and public expenditure for education sector should be filled up by involving the private sector with proper safe guards. The private sector in education should not be allowed to function purely on profit making motive. The increased allocation of resources to education may lead to wasteful spending or misuse of resources. To avoid that situation the absorptive capacity of the system has to be raised and resources should be effectively used. The critical importance of optimal use of finance for education development cannot be ignored.

We observed that within the education framework, there is shift towards more allocation to elementary education, leading to a decline in the share of secondary and higher education. But we should not forget that neglecting higher education may be very costly in the era of Liberlisation, Privatisation and Globalisation. Therefore, it is very crucial to give importance to all levels of education based on the requirement of sustainable education development and improvement in equality of education. We know that education development is the most powerful vehicle for human development. The education system of India needs to be reorganised and revitalized in order to meet the requirement of the new era. A big effort is required to reduce dropout rate, increase student enrolment, GER, retention rate and public expenditure on education at all levels of education, so that India moves up in the group of high HDI and EDI countries. Now it is the need of the hour that priority should be given to the education in our economic planning and simultaneously make effective strategy for educated unemployment because the expansion of education also without planning creates the problems of educational unemployment.


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Table 1: Expenditure on Social Sector and Education during Five
Year Plans Periods (Ist to XIth) in India

(Rs. In Crore)

 Total Expenditure on Expenditure
Plan expenditure social sector on Education

1951-56 1960.0 408 (20.81) 149 (7.60)
1956-61 4672.0 770 (16.48) 273.5 (5.85)
1961-66 8576.5 1247.1 (14.54) 588.70 (6.86)
1966-69 6625.4 813 (12.27) 306.8 (4.63)
1969-74 15778.8 2377 (15.06) 774.3 (4.91)
1974-79 39426.2 6833.9 (17.33) 1710.3 (4.34)
1979-80 12176.5 1876.1 (15.41) 263 (2.16)
1980-85 110467.3 15916.6 (14.41) 2976.6 (2.69)
1985-90 221435.4 34959.7 (15.79) 7685.5 (3.47)
1990-92 123120.5 19905.3 (16.19) 4915.5 (3.99)
1992-97 485457.2 88806.6 (18.29) 21598.7 (4.45)
1997-02 813997.9 191437.9 (23.52) 49838.5 (6.12)
2002-07 1618460 436529.0 (26.97) 101364.2 (6.26)
2007-12 3644718 1102327.0 (30.24) 347338.0 (9.53)

 Exp. On Exp. On Exp. On Exp. On
 Education elementary secondary Higher
 as education education education
 percentage as as as
 of social percentage percentage percentage
 sector of total of total of total
Plan exp.

1951-56 36.52 56 13 31
1956-61 35.52 35 19 46
1961-66 47.21 34 18 48
1966-69 37.77 24 16 60
1969-74 32.57 30 18 52
1974-79 25.03 35 17 48
1979-80 14.02 -- -- --
1980-85 18.70 30 25 45
1985-90 21.98 34 22 44
1990-92 24.69 37 22 41
1992-97 24.32 47 18 35
1997-02 26.03 66 11 23
2002-07 23.22 66 10 24
2007-12 31.51 50 20 30

Note: Figures in parentheses are percentage of total, NA: not

Sources: (i) Five Year Plan documents. (ii) Economic Survey (various

Table 2: Public Expenditure on Education in India 1951-52 to 2005-06

(Rs. In Crore)

 age of
 Total education
 expenditure expenditure
Year on education to GDP

1951-52 64.46 0.64
1952-53 72.26 0.73
1953-54 80.06 0.74
1954-55 95.82 0.94
1955-56 118.39 1.15
1956-57 132.88 1.08
1957-58 150.26 1.19
1958-59 173.78 1.23
1959-60 207.59 1.40
1960-61 239.56 1.48
1961-62 260.30 1.52
1962-63 278.76 1.52
1963-64 313.93 1.50
1964-65 369.29 1.51
1965-66 432.61 1.69
1966-67 487.83 1.68
1967-68 593.14 1.73
1968-69 649.13 1.80
1969-70 760.23 1.92
1970-71 892.36 2.11
1971-72 1011.07 2.25
1972-73 1150.43 2.33
1973-74 1300.72 2.15
1974-75 1570.67 2.20
1975-76 1849.47 2.44
1976-77 2039.09 2.51
1977-78 2630.60 2.83
1978-79 2994.69 3.00
1979-80 3347.57 3.07
1980-81 3884.2 2.98
1981-82 4298.29 2.83
1982-83 5509.17 3.25
1983-84 6229.53 3.14
1984-85 7455.88 3.35
1985-86 8713.02 3.49
1986-87 9479.13 3.41
1987-88 11798.35 3.73
1988-89 14069.82 3.72
1989-90 17192.50 3.93
1990-91 19615.85 3.84
1991-92 22393.69 3.80
1992-93 25030.30 3.72
1993-94 28279.69 3.62
1994-95 32606.22 3.56
1995-96 38178.09 3.56
1996-97 43896.48 3.53
1997-98 48552.14 3.49
1998-99 61578.91 3.85
1999-00 74816.09 4.19
2000-01 82486.48 4.28
2001-02 79865.70 3.80
2002-03 85507.34 3.77
2003-04 89079.25 3.49
2004-05 96694.10 3.39
2005-06 113228.71 3.46

Source: 'Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure on Education'
Department of Higher Education, Ministry of HRD

Table 3 Decade Wise Average Public Expenditure on Education as a
Percentage of GDP

(Rs. In Crore)

 1951-52 to 1961-62 to 1971-72 to 1981-82 to
Year 1960-61 1970-71 1980-81 1990-91

Percentage 1.06 1.69 2.58 3.48
of education
to GDP

 2001-02 to
 1991-92 to 2005-06
Year 2000-01 (five years)

Percentage 3.76 3.58
of education
to GDP

Sources: on the basis of table-2

Table 3: Growth of Recognised Educational Institutions in India
1950-51 to 2005-2006
 Upper and senior Colleges Colleges for
 Primary primary secondary for general professional
Year school school school education education

1950-51 209671 13596 7416 370 208
1960-61 330399 49663 17329 967 852
1970-71 408378 90621 37051 2285 992
1980-81 494503 118555 51573 3421 3542
1990-91 560935 151456 79796 4862 886
1996-97 603646 180293 103241 6759 1770
1997-98 619222 185961 107140 7199 2075
1998-99 628994 193093 112050 7494 2113
1999-00 651434 202345 117913 7782 2124
2000-01 638738 206269 126047 7929 2223
2001-02 664041 219626 133492 8737 2409
2002-03 651382 245274 137207 9166 2610
2003-04 712239 262286 145962 9427 2751
2004-05 767520 274731 152049 10377 3201
2006-06 772568 288493 159667 11698 5284

 instt. Of
Year etc.

1950-51 27
1960-61 45
1970-71 82
1980-81 110
1990-91 184
1996-97 228
1997-98 229
1998-99 237
1999-00 244
2000-01 254
2001-02 272
2002-03 304
2003-04 304
2004-05 343
2006-06 350

Sources: Selected Educational Statistics, 2007 -08. Ministry of HRD.

Table 4: Enrolment of All Categories of Students 1950-51 to 2005-06

(Figures in million)

Year Primary (I-V) Upper Secondary and Senior
 Primary Secondary (IX-XII)

 Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total

1950-51 13.8 5.4 19.2 2.6 0.5 3.1
1960-61 23.6 11.4 35.0 5.1 1.6 6.7
1970-71 35.7 21.3 57.0 9.4 3.9 13.3
1980-81 45.3 28.5 73.8 13.9 6.8 20.7
1990-91 57.0 40.4 97.4 21.5 12.5 34.0
1996-97 61.4 46.8 108.2 22.9 15.2 38.1
1997-98 62.3 48.0 110.3 23.6 15.9 39.5
1998-99 62.7 49.0 111.7 23.9 16.5 40.4
1999-00 63.6 50.0 113.6 24.3 17.0 41.3
2000-01 64.0 49.8 113.8 25.3 17.5 42.8
2001-02 63.6 50.3 113.9 26.1 18.7 44.8
2002-03 65.1 57.3 122.4 26.3 20.6 46.9
2003-04 68.4 59.9 128.3 27.3 21.5 48.7
2004-05 69.7 61.1 130.8 28.5 22.7 51.2
2006-06 70.5 61.6 132.1 28.9 23.3 52.2

Year Higher Education

 Boys Girls Total Total

1950-51 1.3 0.2 1.5 0.20
1960-61 2.7 0.7 3.4 0.74
1970-71 5.7 1.9 7.6 1.69
1980-81 7.6 3.4 11.0 3.47
1990-91 12.8 6.3 19.1 4.92
1996-97 15.3 8.7 24.0 6.84
1997-98 16.1 9.3 25.4 7.26
1998-99 16.6 10.1 26.7 7.70
1999-00 17.2 10.8 28.0 8.05
2000-01 16.9 10.7 27.6 8.40
2001-02 18.4 12.1 30.5 896
2002-03 19.5 13.7 33.2 9.52
2003-04 20.6 14.4 35.0 9.95
2004-05 21.7 15.4 37.1 10.48
2006-06 22.3 16.1 38.4 11.02

Source: 1. Selected Educational Statistics, 2007-08, Ministry of HRD

Table 5: Gross Enrolment Ratios (GER) of All Categories of
Students 1950-51 to 2005-06

(In percentage)

Year Primary (I-V) Upper Primary (V-VIII)

 Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total

1950-51 60.6 24.8 42.6 20.6 4.6 12.7
1960-61 82.6 41.4 62.4 33.2 11.3 22.5
1970-71 95.5 60.5 78.6 46.3 20.8 33.4
1980-81 95.8 64.1 80.5 54.3 28.6 41.9
1990-91 94.8 71.9 83.8 80.1 51.9 66.7
1996-97 97.0 80.1 88.8 65.8 49.2 58
1997-98 99.3 82.2 91.1 66.3 49.7 58.5
1998-99 100.9 84.1 92.8 65.1 49.5 57.7
1999-00 103.3 86.0 94.9 65.2 49.6 57.8
2000-01 104.9 85.9 95.7 66.7 49.9 58.6
2001-02 105.3 86.9 96.3 67.8 52.1 60.2
2002-03 97.5 93.1 95.3 65.3 56.2 61.0
2003-04 100.6 95.6 98.2 66.8 57.6 62.4
2004-05 110.7 104.7 107.8 74.3 65.1 69.9
2006-06 112.8 105.8 109.4 75.2 66.4 71.0

Year Secondary and senior Higher Education

 Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total

1950-51 NA NA NA NA NA 0.7
1960-61 NA NA NA NA NA 1.4
1970-71 NA NA NA NA NA NA
1980-81 NA NA NA NA NA NA
1990-91 NA NA NA NA NA NA
1996-97 NA NA NA NA NA NA
1997-98 NA NA NA NA NA NA
1998-99 NA NA NA NA NA NA
1999-00 NA NA NA NA NA 7.22
2000-01 NA NA NA NA NA 7.85
2001-02 38.23 27.74 33.26 9.28 6.71 8.07
2002-03 41.3 33.2 37.52 10.3 7.47 8.97
2003-04 42.9 34.3 38.89 10.5 7.65 9.21
2004-05 44.3 35.1 39.91 11.6 8.17 9.97
2006-06 44.6 35.8 40.4 13.5 9.4 11.6

Source: 1. Selected Educational Statistics, 2007-08 Ministry of HRD
2. UGC Annual Report 2007-08.

Table 6: Rate of Literacy in India, 1951 to 2001 (in percent)

Year Rural Urban

 Males Females Persons Males Females Persons

1951 19.12 4.87 12.10 45.60 22.33 34.59
1961 34.30 10.10 22.50 66.00 40.60 54.40
1971 48.60 15.50 27.90 69.60 48.80 60.20
1981 49.60 21.70 36.00 76.70 56.80 67.20
1991 57.90 30.60 44.70 81.10 64.00 73.10
2001 71.40 46.70 59.40 86.70 73.20 80.30

Year All India Gap LGPI

 Males Females Persons

1951 27.16 8.86 18.30 18.30 0.33
1961 40.40 15.35 28.30 25.05 0.38
1971 45.96 21.97 34.45 23.99 0.48
1981 56.38 29.76 43.57 26.62 0.53
1991 64.13 39.29 52.21 24.84 0.61
2001 75.85 54.16 65.38 21.69 0.71

Note: 1. Literacy rates for 1951, 1961 and 1971 Censuses are
estimated for population aged 5 and above years and for 1981,
1991 and 2001 are estimated for population aged 7 and
above years.

2. Literacy Gender Parity Index (LGPI) = Literacy rate of Females /
Literacy rate of Males

Source: Population Censuses of India (Various Reports).

Table 7: Indian Global Position on Human Development

Countries HDI Rank

 2001 2005

Iceland 2 (0.942) 1 (0.968)
Norway 1 (0.944) 2 (0.968)
UK 13 (0.930) 16 (0.946)
Cuba 52 (0.806) 51 (0.838)
Kazakhstan 76 (0.76) 73 (0.794)
China 104 (0.721) 81 (0.777)
Indonesia 112 (0.682) 107 (0.728)
Botswana 125 (0.614) 124 (0.654)
India 127 (0.590) 128 (0.619)
Pakistan 144 (0.4.99) 136 (0.551)
Kenya 140 (0.489) 148 (0.521)
Ethiopia 169 (0.359) 169 (0.406)
Niger 174 (0.292) 174 (0.374)

Countries 2005

 Adult Combined Life Education GDP
 literacy GER for expectances Index Index
 rate Primary index
 1995-05 Secondary

Iceland 100 95.4 0.941 0.978 0.985
Norway 100 92.2 0.913 0.991 1.000
UK 100 93.0 0.900 0.970 0.969
Cuba 98.8 87.6 0.879 0.952 0.683
Kazakhstan 99.5 93.8 0.682 0.973 0.728
China 90.9 69.1 0.792 0.837 0.703
Indonesia 90.4 68.2 0.745 0.830 0.609
Botswana 81.2 69.5 0.385 0.773 0.804
India 61.0 63.8 0.645 0.620 0.591
Pakistan 49.9 40.0 0.659 0.466 0.528
Kenya 73.6 60.6 0.451 0.693 0.420
Ethiopia 35.9 42.1 0.446 0.380 0.393
Niger 28.7 22.7 0.513 0.267 0.343

Countries Public
 expend. on
 as a
 of GDP in

Iceland 8.1
Norway 7.7
UK 5.4
Cuba 9.8
Kazakhstan 2.3
China 1.9
Indonesia 0.9
Botswana 10.7
India 3.8
Pakistan 2.3
Kenya 6.7
Ethiopia 6.1
Niger 2.3

Note: Figures in parenthesis are value of HDI

Sources: Human Development Report (UNDP) 2007-08.

Table--8: Indian Global Position in the Education for all Development

Countries EDI RANK

 2002 2006 Total Adult
 Primary NER literacy rate

Kazakhstan 8 (0.989) 1 (0.995) 0.990 0.996
Norway 2 (0.993) 4 (0.994) 0.981 1.000
UK 16 (0.980) 5 (0.993) 0.996 0.998
Iceland NA 12 (0.988) 0.976 1.000
Cuba 21 (0.976) 22 (0.981) 0.970 0.998
China 38 (0.954) 59 (0.947) 0.913 0.929
Indonesia 58 (0.923) 71 (0.925) 0.984 0.910
Botswana 85 (0.959) 92 (0.867) 0.841 0.821
Kenya 101 (0.731) 100 (0.816) 0.762 0.736
India 100 (0.741) 102 (0.794) 0.961 0.652
Pakistan NA 118 (0.652) 0.656 0.542
Ethiopia 117 (0.536) 125 (0.598) 0.723 0.359
Niger 119 (0.458) 128 (0.470) 0.441 0.298

Countries 2006

 Gender related Survival rate
 EFA Index (GEI) to grade V

Kazakhstan 0.993 1.000
Norway 0.996 0.999
UK 0.989 0.990
Iceland 0.987 0.991
Cuba 0.986 0.972
China 0.955 0.990
Indonesia 0.963 0.844
Botswana 0.980 0.825
Kenya 0.937 0.829
India 0.834 0.730
Pakistan 0.714 0.697
Ethiopia 0.667 0.644
Niger 0.575 0.565

Note: Figures in parenthesis are value of EDI

Sources: EFA: Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO), 2008.
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Author:Kumar, Ganesh
Publication:Political Economy Journal of India
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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