The Indian Constitution too has a provision for it. Article 45 of Directive Principles of State Policy urges the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children till the age of 14 years. Thus to overcome the challenge of providing education to one and all, the Programme for Universal Elementary Education (UEE) was launched. Several hindrances have come in the way of providing UEE.
In the recent years, programmes like Operation Blackboard, District Primary Education Programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Lok Jumbish, Shiksha Karmi etc., have been initiated to achieve universalisation of education. UNICEF’s efforts to eliminate child labour and UNESCO’s Learning without Frontier programmes too are aimed at eradicating illiteracy.
(b) The International Conference on Education for All in Bangkok called upon the governments of different countries to mobilise resources and invest in education. According to National Policy on Education is a unique investment. It develops human resources for different components of the economy.
In order to tap the physical resources of a country the development of its human resource is essential. The human capital is to be developed whenever long term planning for economic development is taken up. Education is the potential instrument for developing skilled work force to generate material wealth. Educated workers are not only skilled but also have the right attitude towards work. They are more adaptable to new technology. Hence to achieve all this, investment in education is required.
The right type of investment in education is necessary to develop the human capital of a country. As an old oriental saying goes; if you plan for a year, plant grain, if you plan for ten years, plant trees but if you plan for hundred years, plan men i.e., invest in human resources.
(c) Even today our society is plagued by evil practices like casteism, gender bias, exploitation of the downtrodden, etc. There are many who are unaware of the health facilities like immunisation, maternal and child health care services, etc. We often come across people practicing weird rites and rituals like burning of witches, killing of children to please the gods, marrying off young girls to gods, etc. Religious fanaticism and communalism too are deeply entrenched in our society.
Education is the only way to rid the society of such evil practices. It influences modern thinking and shapes modern and liberal attitude. It helps the society in generating and absorbing change and in adjusting to new trends. It brings about rationalism, empiricism, humanism and develops aspiration for better standard of living.
It also ushers in secularism and democracy which are the outcomes of modern and liberal thinking. Education also develops the capacity for industrialisation, boosts agriculture and thus attempts towards modernising the society.
However, not every sort of education aims at modernisation. At times, education provided by certain religious groups develops fanatics and religious zealots who stall progress and pull the society backwards. Therefore, it is a challenge to provide the right type of education that would modernise the society.