Indian Education System

India runs one of the world’s largest national school system. With more than 15,16,865 schools and more than 25,94,68,000 enrollment, India has witnessed improvements in Indian school system over the years. The Indian Constitution states that free and compulsory education should be provided as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012, 96.5% of all rural children between the ages of 6-14 were enrolled in school.

History of Indian Education System

Indian education system has a rich history and legacy to talk about. The Takshaslia is regarded as the earliest example of what has is now known as a university and was operating in India in the 5th century BCE. Though the history of education in India does not begin with Nalanda but it is one of the most well-documented institutions in ancient India.  Traditional way of teaching was gradually replaced by modern education system because of trade and exploration. The present system was introduced by the British in the 20th century and includes western style and content. The universities were founded in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras which were modelled on Oxford and Cambridge. 

Indian education system improved in leaps and bounds with the establishment of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 1961 and the Education Commission, known as the Kothari Commission in 1964. 

Schools in India

Most of the schools in India follow the 10 plus 2 system. Most students begin their schooling at the age of five, in the form of preschool. Students must attend school until the age of 14. Most of the schools in India are affiliated to the state boards. Private schools in India are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education or Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations.  After class 10 children can select their stream which includes science, commerce or humanities. There are also international boards like International Baccalaureate Organisation and Cambridge International Examinations. 

Pre School Education

Education is not compulsory at this level but it is very popular in urban and semi-urban areas. Children as young as 3 year olds go to montessori school or play schools. The pre-school system is further divided into play schools and kindergarten.

Primary and Middle School


Primary education is compulsory for all children in India. First to fifth grade children of the age group of 6 to 10 year olds are in primary education system of India. Parents often choose private schools over public schools as private schools are well equipped with infrastructure facilities and medium of instruction is English. 

Secondary and Higher Secondary School

Secondary school is for ninth to tenth class for children in the age group of 16 to 17 year old. The curriculum includes 2 languages with one of them being English and the other usually a local language or Hindi and subjects like Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Science. 


Education Boards in India

Other than the state boards, in India the schools are affiliated to:

Higher Education in India

India currently has 799 universities and 39,071 colleges. Universities in India are monitored by an apex body, indirectly controlled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and funded jointly by the state governments. The University Grants Commission of India (UGC India) is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government under Ministry of Human Resource Development, and is responsible for coordination and maintenance of standards of higher education.  The Government has launched Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan to provide funding to State higher and technical institutions. A total of 316 state public universities and 13,024 colleges will be covered under it. 

The first degree, the Bachelor's degrees, is obtained after three years. The next degree which one can obtain is the Master's  degree which is usually of two years duration. The research degrees (M.Phil and Ph.D) take variable time depending upon the individual student.

The M.Phil. program, is of one and-half year duration while the PhD program is a  research study for 2 years and can take several years.  One can also acquire D.Sc. and D.Litt. which are awarded by some universities after PhD.

In addition to the degree programs, a number of diploma and certificate programs are also available in the universities. Their range includes anything from poetics to computers. Some of them offer undergraduate diploma programs and others postgraduate programs. The duration varies from one year to three years.

Technical Education in India

There are institutes of international repute like IITs and IIMs. Several other institutes of fundamental research such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI),  Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS),  are also known for their research in basic sciences and mathematics. However, India has failed to produce world class universities both in the private sector or the public sector. India's National Policy on Education (NPE) approved an apex body for regulation and development of higher technical education. This resulted in the formation of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
in 1987. At the federal level, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, the National Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology are deemed of national importance.

Distance Learning in India

Distance education in India is also hugely  popular in India. In distance education teachers and students are usually not present in the same city or region. Open and Distance Learning system of the country consists of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), State Open Universities (SOUs), Institutions and Universities offering varied courses in almost all streams and includes Correspondence Course Institutes (CCIs) in conventional dual mode universities. Distance education favours children who’ve had to drop out of school or college and who wants to continue education while working. 

Educational Apex  Bodies in India



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