The essence and role of education articulated in the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986/92 continues to be relevant even 25 years after its formulation. National Policy on Education(NPE) states:
- In our national perception education is essentially for all. This is fundamental to our all-round development.
- Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit - thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution.
- Education develops manpower for different levels of the economy. It is also the substrate on which research and development flourish, being the ultimate guarantee of national self-reliance.
- In sum, education is a unique investment in the present and the future. This cardinal principle is the key to the National Policy on Education.
In 2010 the country achieved a historic milestone when Article 21-A and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 became operative on 1st April 2010. The enforcement of Article 21-A and the RTE Act represented a momentous step forward in our country’s struggle for universalising elementary education. The RTE Act is anchored in the belief that the values of equality, social justice and democracy and the creation of a just and humane society can be achieved only through provision of inclusive elementary education to all.
In keeping with the vision of providing education of equitable quality to fully harness the nation’s human potential, the Department has laid down the following objectives to :
- Reinforce the national and integrative character of education in partnership with States/UTs.
- Improve quality and standards of school education and literacy towards building a society committed to Constitutional values.
- Universalise elementary education in keeping with the rights conferred under the RTE Act.
- Universalise opportunities for quality secondary education.
- Establish a fully literate society.