1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Primary Education in India From Compulsion to Fundamental Right

By R. Govinda Copyright 2024
    496 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    496 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This companion gives a comprehensive overview of the history of primary education in India. It presents an analytical narrative of the progress of primary education as a national endeavour in colonial, post-colonial and contemporary India, and studies its transformative policy journey culminating in the adoption of education as a fundamental human right. The book looks behind and beyond stated policy goals and outcomes to examine the processes involved in implementing positive change and discusses the underlying socio-political factors affecting education in India. The author also shares reflections on the reform measures needed to achieve the goal of education for all in India.

    Rich in archival resources, this companion will be essential reading for scholars and researchers of history of education, education, Indian history, colonial history and South Asian history. It will also be useful for policymakers, organizations and professionals working in the field of education.

    List of tables ix

    List of Acronyms xi

    Preface xiv

    Prologue xix

    1 The Beginning: After the Beautiful Tree 1

    2 The Baroda Experiment 13

    3 Gokhale’s Bill 39

    4 The Mysore Regulation: Right Step Gone Wrong 59

    5 Colonial Legislation on Compulsory Education 73

    6 Colonial Primary Education: Anatomy of Failure 140

    7 Mass Education and the Macaulay Story 163

    8 Gandhi’s Challenge and the Unfulfilled Promise 172

    9 The Last Decade: As the Raj Recedes and India Rises 193

    10 Towards Becoming a Republic: Envisioning Education for Independent India 206

    11 New Beginning: After Independence 220

    12 The First Decade: Foundations for Education in New India 235

    13 Planning for Universal Elementary Education: Promise and Performance 262

    14 Purpose of Primary Education: From Literacy Focus to Learning Crisis 287

    15 National Education and the Nationalist Agenda 304

    16 Work and Education: Perennial Disconnect 318

    17 Rise and Fall of Non-Formal Education 326

    18 Legislating School Participation: The Compulsion Conundrum 342

    19 Education of the Girl Child: Rhetoric and Reality 360

    20 The Primary Teacher: A Story of Fractured Identity 385

    21 Education as a Fundamental Right: Reluctant Embrace 409

    22 Act in the Making: Seven-Year Labour 423

    23 Rights Framework in Action: The Promise and the Predicament 441

    24 Then and Now: Mass Education Not a Mirage 455

    Index 469


    R. Govinda is Distinguished Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi. He is the former vice chancellor of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), India. He has previously taught at the M.S. University of Baroda, Institute of Education, University of London, and the International Institute for Educational Planning, Paris. He has authored and edited several books on education, including Community Participation and Empowerment in Primary Education in India, Who Goes to School: Exploring Exclusion in Indian Education, India Education Report: Progress of Basic Education and India’s Social Sector and SDGs: Problems and Prospects. His current areas of research interest include primary education, decentralized management, leadership development, policy analysis, human rights and democracy.