On Education » India

Education in India

Population: 1,169 million people

Literacy Rate: 61.0%

GNP: USD350 per capita

Human Development Index: 0.62 

In India, all levels of education from primary to higher education, are overseen by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Higher Education and Department of School Education and Literacy), and heavily subsidized by the Indian government, though there is a move to make higher education partially self-financing. Indian Government is considering to allow 100% foreign direct investment in Higher Education.

There are broadly four stages of school education in India, namely primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary(or high school). Overall, schooling lasts 12 years, following the "10+2 pattern". However, there are considerable differences between the various states in terms of the organizational patterns within these first 10 years of schooling.

The Indian government is committed to ensuring universal elementary education (primary and upper primary) education for all children aged 6-14 years of age. Primary school includes children of ages six to eleven, organized into classes one through five. Upper Primary and Secondary school pupils aged 11 through 15 are organised into classes six through ten, and higher secondary school students ages sixteen through seventeen are enrolled in classes eleven through twelve. In some places there is a concept called Middle / Upper Primary schools for classes between six to eight. In such cases classes nine to twelve are classified under high school category.

In India, education is compulsory until age 14.

Higher Education in India provides an opportunity to specialize in a field and includes technical schools (such as the Indian Institutes of Technology), colleges, and universities.

In India, the main types of schools are those controlled by:

* The state government boards like SSLC, in which the vast majority of Indian school-children are enrolled,
* The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board,
* The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) board,
* National Open School and
* "International schools." which is similar to the schools in the West in pattern and syllabi and are considerably more expensive than regular schools.

The presence of a number of education boards (SSLC, ICSE, CBSE, IB,IGCSE ) leads to non-uniformity. ICSE and CBSE boards, are sometimes favorably considered at the time of admission, although it cannot be said with certainty that their syllabuses are harder. A large number of SSLC (State board) students therefore complain that their ICSE and CBSE counterparts are given an advantage during college admissions, which are extremely competitive and sought for. Most colleges though account for these differences during admissions. The syllabi prescribed by the various boards are accused of being archaic and some textbooks (mostly ones written for the SSC) contain many errors.

The boards are recently trying to improve quality of education by increasing percentage of practical and project marks. However, critics say even this is memorized by students (or even plagiarized). This is attributed to pressure from parents who are eager to see high scores more than overall development.

Elementary Education
The poor infrastructure of schools has resulted in fairly high dropout rates. Thus, according to a recent survey, 9.54% of the schools remain single classroom schools and 10.45% schools lack classrooms. The average pupil teacher ratio for the country is 1:36, with significant variations to the upper end and 8.39% schools are single teacher schols and 5.30% schools have more than 100 children for each teacher; 30.87% schools lack female teachers. Only 10.73% schools have a computer.

While the education system has undoubtedly undergone significant progress, a lot still needs to be done to enhance the learning of children from scheduled caste (or Dalit) families, scheduled and primitive tribes and religious minorities. Girls´ enrollment continues to lag behind that of boys.


India has a population of about 1.1 billion with over 70% if the population in rural area. India has a youth (ages between 15 and 24) literacy rate of about 73% and adult (age above 15) literacy rate of about 60%.

There is slightly more than a million schools in India of which about 700,000 are Elementary Schools. There are about 3.2 millions Elementary School Teachers.

Of the 193 millions children in the age group 6 to 14 years, 40% of them will drop out by the time they reach grade 5 (class 5).

Updated On: 11.12.01