This week’s The Right Approach traces the development of educational policies, legislation and programmes framed for achieving the objective of Education for All.

The Right to Education guaranteed under the Indian Constitution inserted after the enactment of The Right to Free and Compulsory education 2009 derives its source from the greater goal of Education for All. The development of education is one of the paramount priorities of the Indian government. A great deal of time, money, energy and resources are invested to promote and develop education quality and infrastructure throughout the country. In resonance with the Right to Education, there are several other programmes and policies which, were or are, set in motion to achieve the greater goal of Education for All in the society.

Since the adoption of the Indian Constitution, Government has made policies for promoting education for promoting school education of which the system is loosely divided into three stages i) Elementary, ii) Secondary, iii) Higher Secondary. The pattern and nomenclature vary with States and UTs but the basic idea remains the same. The policy makers to strengthen, improve and revise the structure have made many changes to develop the system. In this week’s blog, we are tracing the chronological list of programmes and policies adopted for the promotion of education:

1986 National Policy on Education 1986 (NPE 1986) adopted:

1987 Several large centrally-assisted schemes/programmes such as ‘Operation Blackboard’ and the ‘scheme for restructuring and reorganization of teacher education’ launched.

1988 National Literacy Mission (NLM) launched

1992 National Policy on Education 1986 revised.

1994 District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) launched to universalize primary education in selected districts.

1995 Centrally-assisted National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, popularly known as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) launched.

1999 A separate Department of School Education and Literacy created within the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

2001 (i) Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the flagship programme for universalisation of elementary education, launched; (ii) Adoption of the National Policy on Empowerment of Women. The policy supported the provision of childcare facilities, including crèches at work places of women.

2002 (i) The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education for all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right; (ii) Commitment to the provision of early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years reiterated. The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 envisaged substitution of new article for article 45. The substituted article 45 states “The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years”; (iii)The Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-2007) launched.

2003 National Youth Policy, 2003 formulated.

2004 (i) Education Cess introduced for raising additional financial resources needed to fulfil Government’s commitment to universalize elementary education; (ii) EDUSAT, a satellite exclusively dedicated to education launched to harness modern technology for delivery of education of good quality to all, including hard-to-reach groups.

2005 National Curriculum Framework (NCF-2005) for school education formulated.

2007 Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2007-2012) launched;

2009 (i) The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 enacted. The Act makes it incumbent on Governments to provide for free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years. Section 11 of the Act also states, “with a view to prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years, the appropriate Government may make necessary arrangement for providing free pre-school education for such children”; (ii) The National Literacy Mission (NLM) recast with a special focus on female literacy and the “Sakshar Bharat” (Literate India) programme launched as the national adult education programme on 8 September 2009; (iii) The revised National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education formulated; (iv) The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) launched in March 2009, with the vision of making secondary education of good quality available, accessible and affordable to all young persons in the age group 15-16 years; (v) Revised Centrally-sponsored Scheme of Inclusive Education for the Disabled at Secondary Stage approved; (vi) The Centrally-Sponsored Scheme “Construction & Running of Girls’ Hostel for Students of Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools approved.

2010 (i) The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 came into force on 1 April 2010; (ii) All States/UTs notified State RTE Rules. Central RTE Rules apply to Union Territories without legislation; (iii) The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Framework aligned to RTE Act; (iv) Revised Centrally-Sponsored Scheme of ICT@ Schools approved.

2011 The revised Centrally-Sponsored Scheme “Vocationalisation of Higher Secondary Education” approved.

2012 The Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2007-2012) launched;

2013 (i) National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy adopted; (ii) The Integrated Child Development Services, the flagship programme of Government of India for ECCE restructured and strengthened.

2014 National Youth Policy, 2014 adopted.

The list is not exclusive and there are other policies and schemes for development of education which we are going to read and analyse in upcoming blogs. The upcoming blogs will focus on the analysis of India’s education policies, schemes and their implementation.


  1. Education for All towards Quality with Equity India (2014), National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi.
  3. 3.