Social Scientist. v 11, no. 122 (July 1983) p. 50.

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Access to Schooling in Rural Areas: A Case of Selected Villages of Rajasthan

HISTORICALLY, in the educational system in India, facilities were provided in the developed regions of the country, namely, the three presidencies (Bengal, Madras, Bombay) which enjoyed higher rates of industrial investment, commercial modernisation and economic development. In these areas, literacy and levels of education were far ahead of the hinterland. The aim of the educational policy was to develop English education among Indians, preferably from the upper socio-economic strata of society, who could assist the rulers in subordinate posts in the bureaucracy, in governing the vast and diverse sub-continental empire. The colonial rulers of course were not interested in educating Indians beyond a certain level which was necessary for the continuance of their rule. The net result was that disparities in education become glaring between regions, between urban and rural areas and between developed and backward sections of society.

With the advent of independence, the proclaimed national objective in education was to develop rapidly a system of countrywide education responsive to the mass awakening in the country and befitting an independent nation in the modern age of science and technology. Universal free elementary education, removal of adult illiteracy, special attention to the socially and economically backward sections of society (scheduld castes and scheduled tribes) were to be some of the main considerations.

Since independence the educational system has undergone considerable expansion. Enrolment has increased more than four times at the primary stage, six times at the middle stage, seven times at the higher secondary and more than ten times at the university stage. There has been a correspoding increase in the number of teachers, institutions and expenditure on education.

In spite of all this expansion of educational facilities the present position in education after more than three decades of independence can hardly be satisfactory. Between 1951 and 1981 the percentage of literacy has crawled from 16.6 to 36.17 per cent-ónot

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