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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Related Policies » National Policy on Education 1986 (as modified in 1992)


The National Policy on Education is an extensive document that covers all aspects of education from elementary to university level and even adult education. The Following section is an overview of all aspects of the policy that directly deals with children ages 0-18. The 1992 revised NPE states that aim of education is to keep intact India's long accepted values of secularism, socialism, democracy and professional ethics. Education is fundamental to the all round development of a person. The 1992 NPE promises efforts to develop a common school system through 10+2+3 structure. The policy accepts the +2 as part of school education. With the Constitutional Amendment of 1976, education has been placed on the concurrent list, which gives the central government a bigger role in the implementation of education.

In an attempt to remove inequalities in the education system, the policy emphasises the important of special programmes for marginalized groups as such women, schedule tribes (STs), schedule castes (SCs), handicapped, etc. Some of the provisions for SCs listed are incentive to families, pre-matric scholarships, constant micro-planning to ensure enrolment, retention and successful completion of SC students, recruitment of SC teachers, hostel provisions for SC students and appropriate location of school building to facilitate participation of SCs. Similar provisions are made for STs including use of youth teachers and use of tribal languages at initial stages.

The Policy identifies the need to pay attention to minority groups and other backward sections of society. Hill, desert and remote areas will be provided with adequate institutional infrastructure. The policy encourages the integration on handicapped student in the main stream system but also makes provisions for special schools with hostels if need be. Teachers will also be trained to deal with special difficulties of handicapped children.

Recognising the impact of early years to the development of a child the policy makes room for early childhood care and education through the Integrated Child Development Services programme. With regard to elementary education the policy makes three very important commitments: 1. Universal access and enrolment. 2. Universal retention of children up to age 14. 3. A much needed improvement in the quality of education that allows for children to achieve a certain level of learning.

Education will adopt a child-centred approach, hence catering on an individual level to the needs of the child. Corporal punishment is to be firmly excluded from the teaching system. As per Operation Blackboard there should be one teacher per class, and all necessary equipment and teaching materials should be provided for by the programme.

Non-formal education (NFE) system of centres and facilities will be broadened. It will be brought up to the level of formal education facilities with specially trained teachers from the community so that children passing out of NFE can enter the formal system. Curriculum in schools with be guides by both national core as well as needs in the local environment.

According to the Policy the highest priority will be placed on solving the problem of dropouts, and ensuring retention at the school level. This effort will be supplemented by NFE. The policy states "it shall be ensured that free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality is provided to all children up to 14 years of age before we enter the twenty-first century".

In order to enhance the quality higher education, boards of secondary education will be granted autonomy. The policy introduced generic vocational courses in higher education to enhance individual employability and meet the manpower need of India's growing economy. Children who have "special talent" have been given the opportunities to enhance their aptitude through Narvodaya Vidyalayas.

In order to make the education system work the policy outlines four necessary steps: 1. giving the teachers a better deal and more accountability. 2. Improved student services and adherence to certain norms of behaviour. 3. Better facilities for instruction. 4. Setting standards for performance evaluation at the national and state level.

According to the policy education must be culturally applicable and inculcate values in the children and hence society. There is need to develop the use of local languages in education. There is a need for low prices books and improvement in library management as well as additional libraries. There are provisions in the policy for work experience as a part of education, population education, using math as a tool to teach analytical thinking, strengthen science education, and support sports, physical education and yoga. The policy called for greater participation of educated youth and revision of the evaluation system so that it does not simple reflects rote learning. It emphasises the importance of teacher training, and continual teacher education. The policy devotes an entire section to overhauling the planning and management system surrounding education at national, state, district and local levels. It outlines that it is both the government and the communities responsibility for providing funds and that inadequate or non-investment is a major problem facing education. Like the policies before it emphasizes a need to raise expenditure to six percent of the GDP in the Eight Five Year Plan.