Besides, it was also decided that education should be made free and compulsory for the children in the age group of six to eleven years. The progress of the Plans has revealed that the targets could not be fulfilled in both the plans. In fact the fixed targets have not been attained in any of our seven Five Year Plans so far.
The basic reasons for this partial success are many. We will look into some of the main problem areas.
Hilly tracts, deserts, rivers, plateaus and forests are some of the natural factors that have created difficulties in the attainment of targets. The patterns of houses, commerce, communication etc., are all governed by them. The masses in India live in far flung villages away from each other.
There are also mountainous regions and dense forests in the country. Due to natural difficulties and lack of money, means of communication have not been developed sufficiently. As such, there existed many regions which had no primary schools for miles around.
According to statistics collected for implementing the Plans it was estimated that 22 per cent of education facilities were to be provided in dense forest areas and 82 per cent in agricultural areas. But the difficulty that arose was that majority of teachers did not prefer to go to rural areas and it was also found difficult to open schools in forest zones.
2. Political Difficulties:
Primary education could not spread due to political factors as well, besides natural difficulties. The British government during the pre-independence days remained indifferent towards education.
The result was that the primary education prevailing during those days became conservative outlook. The Government of India after independence considered the basic education system for primary education useful and now it is trying to spread its modified forms through various plans.
But there are some lapses in the present government efforts, too. Firstly, all the organs of the government machinery are not equally active or involved in achieving the fixed targets.
The policy adopted for the expansion of education is defective and unrealistic. Secondly, the responsibility of primary education rests on local bodies like Antarim Zila Parishad (interim district council), corporations, municipal boards etc., which are unable to co-operate with government officers entrusted with the control and expansion of primary education.
The third cause is that the officers of the government officials and non-officials responsible for expansion of education indulge in partiality and irresponsibility. The result is that proper survey and allotment is not made for opening new schools. Schemes are fully implemented in some areas, while in others sufficient attention is not paid.
Another reason relates to the general public which is still conservative in its outlook. Instead of extending co-operation and help for expansion of education, it does not even associate itself with this work.
The result is that even minor taxes levied for expansion of education are opposed and even after much persuasion people do not send their children to schools.
Thus it is evident that there are many difficulties in the way of expansion of primary education. Sufficient money and adequate co-operation are necessary for introducing basic education.
The local bodies need money for the development and expansion of education. But for fear of local opposition they do not feel inclined to propose any kind of education tax.
The government-controlled inspection machinery is not adequate for the purpose. The educational policies are not free from local and regional partialities or favouritism. Public co-operation exists in name only. Moreover, in a majority of schools there is a dearth of teachers.
3. Social Difficulties:
In the sphere of social difficulties come the prevailing conservative outlook of the people, illiteracy, communalism, favouratism and personal prejudices, etc., which create, obstructions in the development programmes of education. Some people having faith in a particular religion seek separate school facilities.
A large number of illiterate persons think it futile to educate their daughters and even boys after a certain age. Some people of lower social status even hesitiate to send their children to common schools. Persons speaking different languages suffer from, linguistic partiality. Separate schools are demanded for girls even at the primary stage.
In the face of so many social problems the opening of an independent primary school and running it smoothly is not an easy job.
The number of educational officers is not adequate therefore they are not able to establish personal contacts with all the guardians and solve these problems.
4. Financial Difficulties:
The economic condition of a nation mostly depends on its national income. Despite the per capita income of a nation being satisfactory, in the absence of its proper distribution, public life cannot prosper. The distribution of national income in India cannot be called rational and based on equality.
As a result, there are many families in India whose members despite full day’s hard labour, do not find it possible to make two ends meet. The children of tender age in these families have to work for their living.
The other difficulty that comes in the way of education is educational expenses. There are many families which, although are in a position to feed their children, but are unable to pay for their education. As such, in the absence of proper facilities these children do not get primary education.
The statistics of expenditure on primary education reveals that in spite of growing public consciousness, the percentage of national income spent on primary education remained the same even in the middle of the century (1950) as compared to what it was in the beginning (1901). Thus, in the absence of lack of finances the expansion of education also remained stagnant.
5. Difficulties of Education System:
The pattern of education and the educational institutions ought to be so attractive that both public and students get drawn to it. The other important consideration relates to its utility so that it may be in accordance with the regional needs and fulfill its natural aspirations.
The present system lacks in these qualities with the result that the students after receiving education shun hard work. The parents do not show enthusiasm in educating their children because instead of helping those in their family trade the children show disinclination to join their traditional profession.
Due to poverty some parents from the very beginning introduce their sons to their trade and keep them along with themselves. Now-a-days such a system of basic education has been adopted in primary schools which, it is hoped, will prove more attractive and useful than the previous system, but due to lack of proper buildings and trained teachers it has not yet achieved the desired objectives.