ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Dead Slow Ascent to Literacy.

Editorial from Volume X, No 17, April 26, 1958.

The Ministry of Education has not attempted to fulfil the constitutional directive of providing free and compulsory education for all children of 6-14 by 1960. Instead, a Convention of State Education Ministers has pledged itself anew to provide free and compulsory education to children of the age-group 6-11 by 1965... In 1955-56, 25 million out of a total of 48 million children of the age-group 6-11 were going to school of some sort or other. Expenditure on primary education amounted to Rs 54 crores in that year, the cost of educating a pupil working out to something like Rs 23.4 a year. The average annual cost per head of population for all types of education stood at Rs 4.9. Teaching these 25 million students were 7 lakh and odd teachers. The teacher-pupil ratio was thus 1.33. Compulsory education was in force in 1,081 towns and 39,276 villages; the number of pupils under compulsion on rolls being 6 million – 4 million boys and 2 million girls.

But within this broad picture, there were, as is to be expected, numerous disparities from State to State...Few of the States seem to have been able to reconcile the demand of reasonable wages for teachers and yet provide schooling for a reasonable proportion of children of the school-going age.

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