Education for All – A look at the Indian story (based on UNESCO GMR 2015)

We decided to study the EFA Global Monitoring Report with reference to India and highlight the achievements and challenges against the EFA Goals.



Governments from 164 countries, together with representatives of regional groups, international organizations, donor agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society, adopted a Framework for Action (‘the Dakar Framework’) to deliver” Education For All” (EFA) commitments at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal during April, 2000.

The Dakar Framework comprised two key elements: 6 goals, and associated targets, to be achieved by 2015 and 12 strategies to which all stakeholders would contribute.

The “Education for All” goals are:

Goal 1: Expand early childhood care and education


Goal 2: Provide free and compulsory primary education for all

Goal 3: Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults

Goal 4: Increase adult literacy by 50 percent

Goal 5: Achieve gender parity by 2005, gender equality by 2015

Goal 6: Improve the quality of education


Image: UNESCO’s Education for All Goals and Strategies

We decided to study the EFA Global Monitoring Report with reference to India and highlight the achievements and challenges against the EFA Goals. We have listed a few below:


  • India’s new Early Childhood Education Curriculum Framework takes a developmental approach, with different activities for age groups 3 to 4 and 4 to 6.
  • The curriculum also includes activities to develop fine motor skills, physical coordination and fitness, as well as creativity through drama, music and more.
  • India made marked progress, increasing its net enrolment ratio significantly as GNP per capita improved, suggesting a more equitable distribution of economic gains.
  • Rural India saw substantial improvement in nearly all aspects of school facilities and infrastructure between 2003 and 2010. The share of schools with electricity more than doubled, from 20% to 45%. The availability of paved roads increased, so that 78% of schools had a road within 1 kilometre in 2010 compared with 69%in 2003.
  • Broad and specific strategies have been used to improve education for orphaned and vulnerable children.
  • To support retention, Tamil Nadu in India used welfare programmes to reduce the disparity between orphaned and vulnerable children and non-orphans, such as providing textbooks, uniforms, bus passes and financial assistance to children who have lost a breadwinning parent.
  • The RTE Act and the main EFA programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have created opportunities for people with disabilities to be included in mainstream schools.
  • India is among those countries that have legislated compulsory lower secondary education since Dakar WEF.
  • NIOS was set up to offer ‘open basic education programmes’ for those aged 14 and older. Courses and certification are geared for levels that are equivalent to grades3, 5 and 8 in the formal system.
  • The Pratham Open School of Education (POSE) was setup in 2011 and aims to reach young girls and women who have been marginalized from the mainstream education system and give theme second chance to complete their schooling.
  • POSE also addresses aspects like personality development and focuses on enhancing soft skills such as articulation, confidence and self-expression.


  • Poorly prepared teachers struggle to use the kind of curricula adopted by India. In addition, as these curricula can prove material-intensive, teacher training needs to address the making and maintenance of materials from the local environment.
  • Hand in hand with lack of teacher preparation are poor working conditions of ECCE teachers.
  • Delivery of grants has been at times inadequate. Monitoring of financing allocations and funding delivery to implement the RTE found that funds were not allocated on time because of banking delays, and did not always reach schools.
  • There were significant regional disparities in funding delivery: in 2011/12, 75% of all schools received the mandatory grants, but only 26% did in Meghalaya state.
  • In India, girls are more likely to enrol in public schools and sons are more likely to be sent to private schools, perpetuating gender inequity.
  • Only 35% of children from low income families in Hyderabad, India attended government schools
  • India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085. This means that India would be more than half a century late for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals deadline.

This article is an extract from the UNESCO GMR 2015 and parts of the GEM report, you can read the complete GMR 2015 here.

You can also read the recently published Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report by visiting this link.

Image Courtesy: UNESCO



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