Elementary education constitutes a very important part of entire structure of education system. Universalisation of education system has been one of the most important goals of independence. Article 45 of the Indian constitution directed States to Endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the constitution (1950) free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14 years. This resolved to be fulfilled by 1960. Inspite of concerted efforts by the centre as well as state governments in promoting elementary education, the target of Universalisation of elementary education has not been achieved till date.

The parliament has passed the constitution 86th amendment Act, 2002 to make elementary education a Fundamental Right for children in the age group of 6-14 years. Another development is Supreme Court judgement which interpreting the constitutional provision declared basic education as a fundamental right of every citizen requiring the state to make necessary provisions as a base obligation. This was followed by a framework of partnership between the centre and the state governments as a massive scale through a number of centrally sponsored schemes such as District Primary Education Programme, Lok Jumbish Project, Mid Day Meal Scheme Sarva Shisha Abhiyan, Education Guarantee Scheme, Alternative and Innovative Education, Shiksha Karmi Project, Janshala Programme etc. All these programmes aims at Universalisation and Qualitative improvement of primary education in remote and socio-economically backward areas by increasing enrolment, attendance and retention and also improving nutritional status of children in primary classes.

There are some problems of elementary education such as out of school children, working children, or child labourers, parents ignorance family’s poor financial conditions, attitude of parents towards girl’s education, distance of the school from the place of residence, lack of provision of basic infrastructure and lack of women teachers in the school is another problem (1) To bring out of school children in the fold of elementary education child wise planning should be undertaken (2) Child labour should be minimized, (3) Fund for primary education should be increased (4) Part-time and alternate schools should be opened in large number Nevertheless, unless efforts to attract the children to schools and to retain them in schools by making both parents and children feel that schools are worthwhile, the success of elementary education may remain a distant dream in country’s developmental programmes.

Research Scholar, Government College of Teacher Education, Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

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