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Post Independence Education (Kothari Commission 1964-66)

National Education Commission (Kothari Commission) – 1964-66

The Government of India established the National Education Commission (1964–1966), also known as the Kothari Commission, as an ad hoc commission with the mandate to review all facets of the Indian educational system, create a general framework for education, and suggest rules and policies for the advancement of education in the country. Under the leadership of Daulat Singh Kothari, who was also the chairman of the University Grants Commission at the time, it was established on July 14th, 1964. The commission's mandate called for the formulation of broad principles and directives for the advancement of education from the primary level to the highest level as well as advice to the government for a uniform national pattern of education in India. However, the panel did not have authority over the medical and legal studies. The report was submitted by the commission on 29 June 1966.

Members of the Kothari Commission:




Member Secretary

Head, Dept of Edu. Planning, Admn and Finance Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune


Associate Secretary

J. F. McDougall

Assistant Director, Department of School and Higher Education, UNESCO, Paris



A. R. Dawood

Director, Extension Programmes for Secondary Education, New Delhi





R. A. Gopalaswami

Director, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, New Delhi



V. S. Jha

Director of the Commonwealth Education Liaison Unit, London



P. N. Kirpal

Educational Adviser to the Government of India



Professor, Economics and Public Administration, University of Rajasthan





Kum. S. Panandikar

Head of the Department of Education, Karnataka University, Dharwad



Dean of Research, University of California, USA



K. G. Saiyidain

Educational Adviser to the Government of India



T. Sen

Rector, Jadavpur University, Calcutta



Jean Thomas

Inspector General of Education, France, and formerly Assistant Director-General of UNESCO



S. A. Shumovsky

Director, Methodological Division, Ministry of Higher and Special Secondary Education, RSFSR, Moscow



Sadatoshi Ihara

Professor of the First Faculty of Science and Technology, Waseda University, Tokyo

Main recommendations of Kothari Commission

· The standardisation of the educational system on the 10+2+3 pattern across the nation was one of the commission's primary recommendations.

· It further classified schooling as upper primary or higher primary and high school (up to standard X).

· It advised that the pre-primary education, which had different names such as kindergarten, Montessori, and pre-basic, should be renamed as pre-primary and the primary education (renamed as lower primary) to be up to the 4th standard.

· The higher secondary or pre-university standards for undergrad education were designated as XI and XII. The graduate studies were recommended to be standardized as a three-year course.

· The first (primary education), second (secondary education up to XII), and third levels of education (advanced studies) of the educational system up to the ninth standard.

· The commission advocated for the establishment of a common public education system, followed by the introduction of work experience as a component of education in both general and specialised streams. It also emphasised the importance of integrating social/national service and work experience into education. It was suggested that topic specialisation begin in the upper secondary levels.

· It was suggested that the number of instructional days be raised to 234 for schools and 216 for colleges, and that the number of hours worked per academic year be set at a minimum of 1000 and preferably higher at 1100 hrs or 1200 hrs.

· It also suggested cutting back on national holidays. Some of the commission's other recommendations included connecting colleges to a number of nearby schools, using school facilities year-round for eight hours each day, creating book banks, identifying talent and offering scholarships, establishing day study and residential facilities, and providing opportunities for students to work while they learn.

· Free education up to and including the lower secondary level of schooling was also emphasised.

· The Commission stressed the importance of women's education and suggested creating state- and federal-level bodies to oversee it.

· It advised finding ways to give women job possibilities in the educational sector as well as the establishment of women's schools and hostels

· With a focus on ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities, regardless of caste, religion, or gender, and in order to achieve social and national integration, schools were advised to give education to underprivileged classes a priority, and the recommended minimum enrolment at secondary schools was not less than 360 students per year.

· Two sets of curricula, one at the state level and the other at the federal level, were established, and it was advised that schools experiment with the curricula. It also suggested including moral and religious instruction in the curriculum and prescribing three or four textbooks for each subject.

The curriculum prescribed by the commission was:

Lower primary level (1 to 4)

· One language (regional)

· Mathematical studies

· Environmental studies

· Creative studies

· Health studies

· Work experience

Higher primary level (5 to 8)

· Two languages (one regional and one national) and preferably a third language

· Mathematical studies

· Science studies

· Social studies

· Art

· Physical education

· Work experience

· Moral studies

Lower secondary level (IX and X)

· Three languages

· Mathematical studies

· Science studies

· Social studies

· Art

· Physical education

· Work experience

· Moral studies

Higher secondary level (XI and XII)

· Two languages (one modern Indian language and one classical or foreign language)

· Any three subjects from (a) one additional language, (b) History (c) Economics (d) Logic (e) geography (f) psychology (g) sociology (h) art (i) physics (j) chemistry (k) mathematics (l) biology (m) geology (n) home science

· Art

· Physical education

· Work experience

· Moral studies

· It also recommended the establishment of guidance and counselling centres and a new approach to the evaluation of student performances.

· The commission suggested a neighbourhood school system without social or religious segregation and a school complex system integrating primary and secondary levels of education.

· It put forward the suggestion that state and national boards of examination be set up and state-level evaluation machinery be put in place.

· The commission recommended the establishment of an Indian Education Service, along the lines of the Indian Administrative Service, to bring professional management to the education sector.

· It proposed standardization and revision of the pay scales of the teaching, non-teaching and administrative staff and prescribed minimum pay levels based on their locations.

· Standardising pay rates for employees of various managements, including public, private, and local organisations, was also advocated.

· For teachers in the primary, secondary, and higher levels of education, it was recommended that the minimum scale be in the ratio of 1:2:3.

· Another suggestion called for the construction of a system for the teaching staff's ongoing in-service training as well as initiatives to improve the standing of teachers in order to draw talented individuals to the field. It called for laws to be introduced legalising educational standards and raising educational spending from its pre-reform level of 2.9 per cent of GDP to 6 per cent, both of which were to be accomplished by the fiscal year 1985–1986.

· A key recommendation was the Government of India's release of a National Policy on Education, which should act as a manual for state and local governments in the development and execution of their educational policies.

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