Post the independence, the Kothari commission was formed to improve the overall quality of the Indian educational system. It was headed by Dr. Daulat. Singh. Kothari and aimed at assessing the condition of the Indian education system and suggested changes in it.
The Need and Goals of Kothari Commission:
This commission is also called the ‘Education Commission’. And it was formed in July 1964. Later on June 29th, 1966 the commission submitted its report.
It highlighted the ground-level picture of education in the country. And gave some important recommendations for its improvement. Many of these suggestions were later included in the NPE 1968 (National Education Policy), which was the first education policy in India. Kothari Commission had 17 members in total, including some experts from international locations.
Here’s a look at the main recommendations of the Kothari Commission:
Structure of Education:
The Education Commission suggested the structure of 1 to 3 years for preschool education. A duration of 10 years was defined for general school education. This duration was further segregated into various stages. The primary stage was suggested for 7 to 8 years. The lower secondary stage of general education was suggested for 3 to 2 years. At this stage, there was an option to choose 1 to 3 years of vocation education as well.
The higher secondary stage was suggested as 2 years of general education and one to three years of vocational education. For examinations, the first one was to be conducted at the end of 10 years of school education. It was called ‘public external examination’. In addition, the study of specialized subjects was suggested in classes 11th and 12th.
For university courses, the commission suggested a duration of 3 years for the first degree. Besides, it also recommended the second degree after a duration of 2 to 3 years at the next level.
Vision for Educational Reconstruction:
The commission recommended the proper utilization of existing facilities. It suggested increasing the duration of the typical school day. Other than this, it also recommended making use of the vacation time for camps, drives, and other similar experiences.
It also suggested the optimum utilization of the facilities within the institutions (like libraries, labs, and workshops, etc.).
Important Recommendations for Teachers:
Another important recommendation of this commission was about the status of teachers and their remuneration in the country. It highlighted the need to lay minimum pay scales for teachers. And suggested to taking all necessary steps to improve their social, economic, and professional status. It put forward a new proposal for pay scales, basis the qualifications and training of teachers. Besides, it also suggested retirement benefits and a periodic salary revision for them.
The education policy in India was suggested with a provision for free and compulsory education for students up to the lower secondary education stage (through government local authority or aided private institutions).
Free textbooks and writing utensils to be given to the needy students. Besides, it also suggested book banks to be developed in schools providing secondary education. The libraries at the secondary level institutions should contain an adequate number of books. In addition, grants to be given to talented students for purchasing books (other than textbooks).
It suggested scholarship programs across all stages of school education, mentioned as follows:
- 2.5 of the total enrollments at the primary stage.
- 15% of the students at the higher primary to the secondary stage.
Financial assistance to be given to the top students in class 7th or 8th (10% of these). Additionally, special enrichment programs to be arranged for talented students to support their growth. The commission also suggested making optimum use of films, radio, and other AV aids. And in this way, it helped in popularizing alternatives like distance or online learning.
How did Kothari Commission help in restructuring the Indian education system?
This commission laid the foundation for the first structured education policy in India. It defined the schooling structure into the 10+2+3 pattern. And highlighted the condition of teachers along with the possible opportunities within the system.
From infrastructure to equity, it addressed the need to reframe our policies for the greater good of the Indian students. Other than all this, it also introduced new concepts like the three-language formula and scholarships within the system.
What Went Wrong?
The recommendations of this commission were highly visionary. However, it’s idea of spending 6% of the country’s GDP was not taken into consideration. The public spending on education was not up to the mark. Hence, it’s purpose to prioritize education remained defeated.
Final Thoughts on this Education Policy:
Undoubtedly, Kothari Commission played a vital role in standardizing and defining the education policy in India. It is truly one of the most important pieces of work ever in the history of our education system.
Read about the ground level implementation of these recommendations in our next article in this series. Do check out the next part, ‘Key Highlights of the National Policy of Education, 1968’.