In the pre-independence era, the status of education in India was far too inferior and needed a lot of improvement. The parameter used to define and describe the education status was literacy rate. At that point of time, the situation was such that illiteracy was better recognized than literacy: the literacy rate in 1951 (after independence) was mere 18 per cent. Even in that small figure, gender disparity was high and female literacy recorded was about 8 per cent.
In the post-independence era, the government laid stress on the development of education infrastructure and make education available to all. One of the top priorities of the government, from time to time, as one can see in the five-year plans and other programmes initiated by the government, was to educate everyone in the country and reduce the illiterate population to zero.
More than 60 years have passed and the dream of 100 per cent literate population continues to be a dream. Earlier experts had projected that 100 per cent literacy would be achieved in a couple of decades after independence. Despite all efforts, we are still lingering with about 70 per cent of the total population literate. It makes to seriously think over this issue as why education continues to be a concern.
It would be a misjudgment to say that government policies or plans failed despite all efforts. If we take the entire picture then it becomes clear as why we are still lagging in the education sector. The first and foremost factor is the massive population. Population growth since 1951 has limited the scope of the plans, as was projected then.
Also, education was not the only concern or field where development was utmost felt. Indian industry had a shocking time and a good part of the GDP was spent on modernizing and improving the industrial infrastructure.
As per the stats, the number of school children in the primary school increased to more than seven times from 1951 to the present day. The increase for secondary level has been 25 times and for higher studies it is 70 times.
One more reason for the slow growth witnessed in education field has been the immobilization of the resources in rural areas and remote places.