Goddess Sarswati, the
goddess of learning
Celebrated his birthday as Teacher's Day
Ravindranath Tagore &
System in India
History | Present | Education Governing Bodies | Elementary Education |
Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) | District Primary Education Program |
Operation Blackboard | National Bal Bhavan |
Secondary Education | University Education | Academic Degree Course |
Professional Course | Engineering Course | Management Course | Medical
Courses | Distance Education in India |
Education in India has a very long history.
Ancient India had the tradition of 'Gurukuls'. Under this system students
have to live at the 'Ashram' (abode) of the teacher and get the education.
This form of the education is known as 'Guru-Shishya Pramapara'.
At that time education was treated as a matter of personal concern and it
was not at all emphasized on mass production like modern education
industry. The making of man was regarded as an artistic and not the
mechanical process. According to the ancient Indian
education the training of the mind and the thinking process were essential
for the acquisition of knowledge.
The formal admission ceremony was known as 'Upanayana'. With the
accomplishment of this ceremony the child had to leave his home for the 'ashrama'
where he would receive education. It was supposed to be the re-birth of
the child and was known as 'Dvijya', which means, "twice born". Sanskrit
was the language of teaching. It was supposed to be the language of
learned men. The academies of higher learning were known as 'Parisads'.
The education system involved of three basic processes, which included 'Sravana',
'Manana' and 'Nidhyasana'.
In the 'Sravana' stage of education, students received 'shrutis'
knowledge, which was passed orally from one generation to another. The
second stage was 'Manana' which means that pupils had to think themselves
about what they have heard. They have to make their own inferences and
assimilate the lesson taught by their teacher into the life. The third
stage 'Nidhyasana' means complete comprehension of truth and its use in
In ancient India women were given the equal right to education and
teaching. Women seers like 'Gayatri' were prominent participants in
educational debates and the proceedings of the 'Parishads'.( Assemblies)
It was mainly the Brahmins followed by Kshatriyas that received education
at the Gurukuls while the boys from the lower caste learnt their family
trade from their fathers.
Few of the most important universities of India in the ancient times were
Taxila, Vikramshila and Nalanda. Taxila University of 7th century BC was
famous for medical studies and a galaxy of eminent teachers such as Panini,
the well known grammarian, Kautilya, the minister of Chandragupta Maurya,
and Charaka, a medical teacher of repute.
Nalanda was the highest learning center not just of India but also of the
entire South Asia. Students from foreign countries like China, Japan,
Korea used to come here for higher studies. It had around 10,000 students
and teachers on its roll cards. The University had eight colleges. And one
of the colleges had four-storied building. It was one of the earliest
examples of residential cum learning complex.
Vikramshila University. Varanasi was famous for religious teachings. In
the South, Kanchi was famous for its studies while the Vallabhi University
was no less. Huan Tsang in his records mention the university to be at par
with Nalanda and Vikramshila universities.
India had several great minds at work, which contributed in every aspect
of life. The concept of zero, decimal and Pythagoras Theorem were all
As India progressed from ancient to medieval its education system
deteriorated. Various factors were responsible for the degradation of this
most efficient and most ancient education system of the world.
The present educational system of India is an
implantation of British rulers. Wood's Dispatch of 1854 laid the
foundation of present system of education in India. Before the advent of
in India, education system was private one. With the introduction of
Wood's Dispatch known as Magna Carta of Indian education, the whole
scenario changed. The main purpose of it was to prepare Indian Clerks for
running local administration. Under it the means of school educations were
the vernacular languages while the higher education was granted in English
only. British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in
need of help and thus slowly some of the schools became government-aided.
Contemplating on the new system which was introduced Mahatma Gandhi
expressed his anguish in following words, "I say without fear of my
figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate
than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the
British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of
things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and
began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful
tree perished. The village schools were not good enough for the British
administrator, so he came out with his program. Every school must have so
much paraphernalia, building, and so forth. Well, there were no such
schools at all. There are statistics left by a British administrator which
show that, in places where they have carried out a survey, ancient schools
have gone by the board, because there was no recognition for these
schools, and the schools established after the European pattern were too
expensive for the people, and therefore they could not possibly overtake
the thing. I defy anybody to fulfill a program of compulsory primary
education of these masses inside of a century. This very poor country of
mine is ill able to sustain such an expensive method of education. Our
state would revive the old village schoolmaster and dot every village with
a school both for boys and girls. "
Today education system in India can be divided into many stages.
Pre- Primary - It consists of children of 3-5 years of age studying in
nursery, lower kindergarten and upper kindergarten. At this stage student
is given knowledge about school life and is taught to read and write some
Primary - It includes the age group of children of 6-11 years studying in
classes from first to fifth.
Middle - It consists of children studying in classes from sixth to eighth.
Secondary - it includes students studying in classes ninth and tenth.
Higher Secondary - Includes students studying in eleventh and twelfth
Graduate - Here, a student goes through higher education, which is
completed in college. This course may vary according to the subject
pursued by the student. For medical student this stage is of four and a
half years plus one year of compulsory internship, while a simple graduate
degree can be attained in three years.
Postgraduate - After completing graduation a student may opt for post
graduation to further add to his qualifications.
Education Governing Bodies
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE):
This is the main governing body of education system in India. It has
control over the central education system. It conducts exam and looks
after the functioning of schools accredited to central education system.
The Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE): It is a
board for Anglo Indian Studies in India. It conducts two examinations
'Indian Certificate of Secondary Education' and
'Indian School Certificate'. Indian Certificate of secondary education is
a k-10 examination for those Indian students who have just completed class
10th and Indian school certificate is a k-12
public examination conducted for those studying in class 12th.
The State Government Boards: Apart from CBSE and CISCE each state in
India has its own State Board of education, which looks after the
The National Open School: It is also known as National Institute of Open
Schooling. It was established by the Government Of India in 1989. It is a
ray of hope for those students who cannot attend formal schools.
The International School: It controls the schools, which are accredited to
curriculum of international standard.
According to the Constitution of India, elementary education is a
fundamental right of children in the age group of 6-14 years. India has
about 688,000 primary schools and 110,000 secondary schools.
According to statistics two third of school going age children of
India are enrolled in schools but the figures are deceptive as many don't
attend schools regularly. At least half of all students from rural area
drop out before completing school. The government has rolled out many
plans to increase the percentage of elementary education. The plans such
as 'Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), District Primary Education Program (DPEP),
Operation Blackboard, Mid Day Meal have been successful to great extent.
Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA)
The main goal of this program is that all children of 6-11 years of
age should complete primary education by the year 2007 and all children of
6-14 years of age should complete eight years of
schooling by 2010. This plan covers the whole country with special
emphasis on girl education and education of Schedule Caste (SC) and
Schedule Tribe (ST) children and children with special needs. The SSA
centers are mainly opened in those areas, which do not have any school or
where schools are very far off. Special girl oriented programs include:
Girl education at elementary level.
National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL)
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV)
Mahila Samakhya Scheme
District Primary Education Program
This program was launched in 1994 with the objective of universalization
of primary education. Its main features are Universal Access, Universal
Retention and Universal Achievement. It aims that the primary education
should be accessible to each and every child of school going age, once a
child is enrolled in school he/ she should be retained there. The final
step is achievement of the goal of education. The main components of this
Construction of classrooms and new schools
Opening of non-formal schooling centers
Setting up early childhood education centers.
Appointment of teachers.
Providing education to disabled children.
The program has been successful to the large extent as 1,60,000 schools
and 84,000 alternative schools have been opened under this program. And
work is going on for the construction of new buildings of 52,758 schools.
4,20,203 disabled students have been successfully enrolled into the
It was started in 1987-88. The aim of this program is to improve human
and physical resource availability in primary schools of India. According
to this program every primary school should have at least two rooms, two
teachers and essential teaching aids like blackboard, chalk, duster etc.
National Bal Bhavan
The National Bal Bhavan was opened with the aim of developing overall
personalities of children of all strata of society irrespective of their
caste, creed, religion and gender. It supplements school education by
helping children to learn in play way and natural environment.
Other important endeavors taken up by Indian government for the
development of education in India includes:
Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
Integrated Education for disabled children
National Council of Educational Research and Training
The enrollment at secondary school throughout
the country was close to 28 million in 1998-99. Efforts are being made to
increase this figure through the implementation of proposed new
Education system in India is making fast progress. The data of students'
enrollment at primary and secondary level of school education testifies to
This massive system of higher education in
India constitutes of 342 universities (211 State, 18 Central, 95 deemed
universities) 13 institutes of national importance, 17,000 colleges and
polytechnics. University Grant Commission (UGC), a national body,
coordinates and looks after the maintenance of standard of
university education in India. The university education in India
starts with undergraduate courses. Depending upon the nature of
course pursued its duration may vary from three to five and a half years.
Academic Degree Course
This undergraduate course in India is of three years' duration. After
completing this course student get a Bachelor's degree in the subject
studied such as Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce or Bachelor of
There are large numbers of professional courses at the undergraduate
level. Student may opt for any of it depending upon their interest and
condition of eligibility.
This course at undergraduate level is known as MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine
Bachelor of Surgery). It is of four and a half year's duration plus one
year of obligatory internship. Various medical colleges conduct entrance
examination for admission to this course. An all India level examination
is also conducted by CBSE for admission to colleges all over India based
over 15% reserved seats.
The important medical colleges of India are:
All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi
Air Force Medical College (AFMC), Pune
Christian Medical College (CMC), Ludhiana
Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore
Grants Medical College, Mumbai
Institute of Medical Science (BHU), Varanasi
Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and
Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry
Maulan Azad Medical College (MAMC), Delhi
Lady Harding Medical College (LHMC), Delhi (for girls only)
Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Science , Wardha
The bachelor of Engineering (BE) or bachelor of Technology (B Tech) is a
four-year course. It has wide range of options. Some of them are:
Aeronautical and Aerospace engineering
Electronic and electrical engineering
The best engineering colleges of India are:
Delhi college of Engineering, Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology, KANPUR
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
Institute of Technology, BHU
NIT Karnataka, Surathkal
National Institute of Technology, Warangal
In India education in management is one of the most sort out courses. The
institutes, which impart education in management, are known as "Business
Schools". In India management education is given at two levels,
undergraduate and post-graduate. Undergraduate degree courses include BBA,
BBS, BBM. Postgraduate degree course is known as MBA (Masters of Business
Administration). Some of the important Business schools of India are:
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi
The other professional courses offered by Indian universities include,
Architecture, Dental, Fashion Designing, Travel and Tourism.
Distance Education in India
Indian Education system offers distance
education to those who cannot join regular schools or colleges. National
Institute of Open Schooling offers school education through distance
University Education is also offered thorough distance learning.
Many college courses like in arts (history, economics, literature,
Islamic studies), commerce (finance, banking, accounting) are offered by
Indian universities. Apart from these, professional
courses in management, mass media, Paramedical, engineering, law, travel
and tourism are also part of distance education in India.
The national policy of education (1986) and
program of action (1992) lay down the objectives and features of Indian
education policy. It includes:
Development of International cooperation and peaceful coexistence through
Promotion of equality. It could be achieved by providing equal access and
equal condition of success to children.
A common educational structure (10+2+3) for the whole of India.
Education for women's equality. The Indian education should be used as a
tool to change the status of women in the society.
Equalization of SC population with others in the matter of education. This
is ensured by giving incentives to parents who send their children to
schools, providing scholarship to SC students for higher studies,
reservation of seats in institution of higher studies in India,
recruitment of SC teachers.
Opening of primary schools in tribal area for promotion of education in ST
Development of curriculum and study material in the language of tribal
Emphasis on the education of minorities.
Adult education - Initiation of National Literacy Mission, for teaching
illiterate people of age group 15-35. And making them aware of the
day-to-day realities of their surroundings.
Special emphasis on early childhood care and education by opening up of
day care centers, promotion of child focused programs.
Increasing the scope of Operation Blackboard for upliftment of standard of
primary education in India.
Secondary education curriculum should expose the students to
differentiated roles of science, the humanities, and social science.
Redesigning of courses of higher education to meet the increasing demand
Providing enhanced support to the research work in Universities.
Efforts to relate ancient Indian knowledge with the contemporary reality.
Setting up of Open Universities and Distance Learning centers to promote
the goal of education as a life long process.
A combined perspective of technical and management education.
Minimum exposure to computers and training in their use to be the part of
The All India Council for Technical Education will be responsible for
maintenance of norms and standards, accreditation, funding, and monitoring
of technical and management education in India.
Multiple task performance for teachers such as teaching, research,
development of learning resource material, extension and management of the
Providing teachers a better deal to make education system in India work in
proper way, as teachers are the backbone of the system.
Providing better facilities to institutions and improved services to
Development of languages in great deal.
Measures to be taken for easy accessibility of books at minimum costs to
all sections of students.
Strengthening of science education for the development of spirit of
inquiry and objectivity in the minds of students.
The purpose of examination to be to bring about qualitative improvement in
education. It should discourage memorization.
Methods of teacher recruitment to be recognized one to ensure merit and
objectivity in the system.
Overhauling of the system of teacher education and establishment of
District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) to organize courses
for elementary school teachers.
Reviewing of educational developments by the Central Advisory Board of
Involvement of local communities for school improvement programmes.
Review of the implementation of the parameters of the policy every five
Strengthening the base of pyramid of Indian population for proper
development of education system in India.
National Policy of Education (1992) laid down many objectives for the
development of education system in India but it has not been successful in
achieving all of them. It has specified that the examination system should
discourage the memorizing but it is what is going on. The education in
India seems to encourage rote learning instead of experimentation and
questioning. There is some disparity in assessment as all the State Boards
have different standards of
The reservation on the basis of caste and religion is also a negative
point in Indian education. Corruption is visible in the allocation of
seats of institutions of higher studies and student politics is another
sore point. These are some of the issues, which need to be worked upon.
Though there are disparities between the objectives and their
implementation in education but still education system in India has come a
long way and will continue to improve in the future.