The aim of education is to bring desirable changes in the behaviours of the learner. It helps in the all round development of a child’s personality and inclusion of healthy attitudes and good values. Since education changes according to the changing needs of the society, the aims of education also varies from time to time in the same society. The aims and objectives are not uniform for all stages of education. There are differences in aims and objectives of primary, secondary and higher education due to variance of age and maturity, experiences, physical, mental and emotional growth of the child.
In our country, education has been a state subject but now it has been put on the concurrent list i.e. shared by the central government. This has been done with a view to achieve the target of free and compulsory primary education. It is clearly directed in Article 45 of the Indian constitution that the provision of Universal, Free and Compulsory Education becomes the joint responsibility of the centre and the state.
Primary education is the stage where education touches each and every aspect of a child’s growth. Thus, it has to do more with national ideology and character than any other single activity. The objectives of primary education should be visualized against the background of its ultimate ends and purpose.
The primary stage is very crucial stage in the life of the child. So, the objectives of primary education are different from those in the middle stage of education. At the primary level the child’s curiosity, creativity and activity in general should not be restricted by rigid and unattractive methods of teaching and learning.
The objectives of primary education are as follows:
- Literacy: The child should learn the first language the mother-tongue to a level where he can communicate his ideas easily.
- Numeracy: The child should develop ability in four fundamental numerical operations and to be able to apply these to solve problems in his daily life.
- Technocracy: The child should learn the method of inquiry in science and should begin to appreciate science and technology.
- Nationalism: The child should develop a respect for national symbols like the flag and the anthem and should know learn to dislike casteism, untouchability and communalism.
- Human dignity: The child should develop healthy attitudes towards human labour and dignity.
- Sanitary habits: The child should develop habits of cleanliness and healthful living and an understanding of the proper sanitation and hygiene of the neighborhood.
- Aesthetic Sense: The child should acquire a taste for the good and beautiful and should take care of its surroundings.
- Cooperative Spirit: The child should learn to cooperate with others and appreciate the usefulness of working together for the common good.
Besides these objectives, other desirable qualities are development of character and personality through initiative, leadership, kindness, honesty etc. These should be developed during the primary school stage.
The NCERT (1977) has laid down the following objectives of elementary Education:
1. To acquire the tools for formal learning namely literacy, numeracy and manual skills.
2. To acquire the habits of cooperative behaviours within the family, school and community.
3. To develop social responsibility by inculcating habits.
4. To appreciate the culture and life styles of persons of other religions, regions and countries.
The National policy on Education has also given stress on primary Education mainly on two aspects:
(a) Universal enrolment and universal retention of children up to 14 years of age.
(b) A substantial improvement in the quality of education.
It has laid down that primary education cannot be accepted as complete unless children acquire minimum levels of learning (M.L.L). There is an urgent need to pay due attention to the constitutional directives with regard to the development and improvement of primary education. It is the duty of every citizen to extend full cooperation in achieving the objectives of free and compulsory primary education in our country. Then only the base of democracy would be strengthened.