Reforming Education in India in the Neo-Liberal Era

  • Jandhyala B. G. Tilak


India has made significant achievements in education: there has been a veritable explosion in numbers: the education system at all levels was made accessible to a larger number of people. There has also been significant expansion in the number of institutions of excellence in higher education, producing highly specialised human capital. While the achievements in terms of quantitative progress are impressive, the system is also characterised by severe failures on several fronts, including universal elementary education, vocationalisation of secondary education and development of higher education for excellence. In the neo-liberal era, India attempts at reforming education and has taken a few significant initiatives. Elementary education is recognised as a fundamental right and following a constitutional amendment in 2002, the Free and Compulsory Education Act has been made in 2009. A new programme of universal secondary education has been launched, along with a programme of skill development of about 500 million youth. To address some of the problems of higher education, the government has taken up judicial measures and introduced a series of legislations in the national Parliament for approval. Many of the recent initiatives in policy reforms mark a transition in the history of education in independent India—from a system embedded in the welfare statism to a system based on neo-liberal market philosophy.


Cost sharing Free and compulsory education Funding Legislative measures in higher education Midday meals Private education Public expenditure 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jandhyala B. G. Tilak
    • 1
  1. 1.New DelhiIndia

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