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UNESCO's report on primary education in India alarming
Since independence in 1947, no doubt India has made a tremendous progress in various fields and its claim to be the world's largest democracy is not hollow but it still needs to improve the education standard.

Under Education for All (EFA), the global monitoring report of UNESCO states that even after going to school for four years, our students do not learn anything. About 30 per cent students do not know the subtraction and addition despite going to school for five-six years. So far as the literacy of rural woman is concerned, the report says, it will take another 66 years to complete this job.

The middle class people who are satisfied to put their wards in Central Board Schools is totally in the private hands and in other words, for about 85 per cents students is no use for them. The standard of primary education running under the government supervision should be a matter of serious concern but because of tug-of-war between Centre and States, this is being treated as out of the agenda.

With the announcement and introduction of Right to Education by the Centre, the primary education looks like an orphan. The Centre government is only concerned with the statistics of joining the schools and the state governments think that this is not going to increase their vote bank even by making extra efforts rather there is a danger of creating resentment among the teachers unions.

The mid-day-meal (MDM) scheme started with a motive to attract the  poor students, who are the bread-earner for the family, to join the school, have landed in a national level scandal. Often news reports on the supply of substandard mid day meal appear in media. Teachers also complain that their involvement in the process of cooking mid day meal is affecting the education.

The report of UNESCO is a mixture of such problems. Now the question is as to whether the government will give a serious thought to this report or the report will find a place in the shelves of the education planners, treating it as an outsider’s report.
 
Another major factor about the primary education in India is that the cost of education per child is increasing rapidly but it’s out-put is not encouraging. There is a big inequality on account of this expenditure's budget. For example, the expenditure incurred on education in Bihar is equal to one-sixth of Kerala government and it is crystal clear that the state is not serious and showing any interest on the primary education and the Centre too gets an excuse not to spend its own share in this sector.
 
The UNESCO's report however suggests that there is a need to spend about 20 per cent on educational schemes in 2015 and afterwards. Since without improving the standard of primary education, India will not be in a position to travel too much on the path of development, it would be appropriate to bring on priority list of agendas for standard of primary education apart from giving a serious thought for increasing the budget on this account.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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