Primary Education

Early childhood education in India is subject to two extreme but contrary deficiencies. On the one hand, millions of young children in lower income groups, especially rural and girl children, comprising nearly 40% of first grade entrants never complete primary school.

More than fifty years into Independence, India”s children have little to celebrate: 6.3 crore of them are still out of school.
This despite the constitutional directive urging all states to provide “free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years”. The Constitution envisaged fulfilling this promise by 1960.

Work does not keep children from school

Another myth is that children are unable to go to school because they have to work. Organisations such as the Coalition Against Child Labour claim there are seven to eight crore child labourers in India, working, on an average, 12 hours a day. This sweeping statement is not supported by the probe survey. It is true that some children — for example, eldest daughters in poor families — work long hours, making it difficult for them to go to school. But the general pattern is surprisingly different: a majority of out-of-school children in rural India have plenty of time on their hands.

Despite claims, primary education is not free

WHAT IT TAKES TO EDUCATE A CHILD
Rs per year
FEES 20
BOOKS AND STATIONERY 112
UNIFORM/CLOTHING 175
PRIVATE TUITIONS 33
OTHER EXPENSES 26
TOTAL 366

If parents are interested in education, and if child labour is not a major obstacle, then why are so many children out of school? To understand this, the first point to remember is that regular school attendance requires a great deal of effort on the part of parents as well as children. To begin with, education is expensive. While free education is a constitutional right, the probe survey suggests that north Indian parents spend about Rs 366 per year (see graphic) to send a child to a government primary school. This may seem a small amount but can prove a major financial burden for millions of poor families with several children of school-going age. For an average agricultural labourer in the probe survey area, sending two such children to primary school would mean 30 to 40 days” wages.

Story telling is used to make learning fun and to communicate basic values of goodness, beauty, harmony, responsibility and right conduct. Information on people and other living things, places, history, geography, and other cultures are presented to the child in the form of stories, pictorial information and explanations combined together to present facts in a living, integrated context rather than as a series of separate divorced subjects.

Rapid acquisition of basic math skills is achieved through the use of number line method which enables the child to physically experiment and act out different combinations of addition and subtraction.

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