Education in India: An overview

By Dr. Anis Ahmad
Sunday, November 17, 2019

India is a UNIQUE country and probably the only one with so many diversities, regional, cultural, linguistic, climatic etc. And that is the beauty of India. Keeping in mind the diversities, it is very challenging to have the same system of Education throughout the country.

What is constitutional status of Education:
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth) Amendment Act has now inserted Article 21A in the Constitution which makes education a Fundamental Right for Children in the age group of 6- 14 years by providing that; “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine”. This act is being enforced from 1st April 2010 to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six to fourteen years is in place.

An Overview of School Education:
Different Boards of Examination within the country:
India is a different kind of federation and comprises of several states and union territories. Initially the education was a state subject but later on it was shifted to Concurrent list through an amendment bill which enables the central government to legislate it in the manner suited to it.

There are Boards of examination like:
The State Boards: each state has its own Board of School Education responsible to conduct he examination at Secondary and senior secondary level. These boards affiliates the secondary and senior secondary schools within the states and sometimes outside the states too where it finds enough size of population of the state.
The CBSE: The Central Board of Secondary Education under the Ministry of human Resource Development, Government of India. Head office is in Delhi.
The NIOS: National Institute of Open Schooling. (Head Office is in NOIDA)
The State Open Schools: Many states have their own Open School Boards
Foreign Curriculums (British/IB/American)

The Types of Schools:
Government Run Schools:
Here also there are sub categories of Schools like Ordinary Day Schools, Residential Schools, Model Schools,
Government Aided Schools managed by private registered societies or trusts
Private Management Schools run by Private Societies or Trusts without any funding from the government.
There are schools that have different medium of instructions like
English Medium b. Hindi Medium c. Urdu Medium and d. Vernacular Medium.

Different categories of Schools run by Government:
Normal Government Schools run by states within their territories affiliated to their own Boards. Such type of Schools are in large number. And we find that these schools do not have good infrastructure and there is always gap in demand and supply of teachers for these schools. There are always vacant posts of teachers due to which children suffer a lot.
Residential Schools managed by Government of India under various societies like …. Sainik School Society Under the Ministry of Defence, Navodaya Vidyalayas managed by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti under Ministry of HRD.
Rashtriya Indian Military College, (Residential) (RIMC) Dehradun, UttraKhand the only one school of its kind in the country managed by Ministry of Defence.
Military Schools (Residential) managed by Indian army, 60% seats reserved for the children of Army personnel.
Central Schools (Day Schools) managed by kendriya vidyalaya Sangthan under the Ministry of HRD.
Residential Schools managed by States. There are some states which are running residential schools.

If we look at the standard of Education in India we will find extremes.
Having so much diversified system throughout the country it is very challenging to maintain the same standard. So we find big gaps like:

On one hand we have the best of schools that can match any best schools in the world.
On the other hand we have schools where there is very poor infrastructure and even there are hardly any teachers. At times there is only one teacher for 250 to 300 students
The gap between the best and the worst is very wide which government should make sincere efforts to reduce this gap.
As far as fee is concerned there is again a very big gap. Some schools (Even Day Schools) are extremely expensive and they are beyond the reach of even Middle class income Group. Though government has made a provision in certain states for reserved seats for children belonging to economically backward section of the society.
A lot of disparity between government and Private sector.
Even among private schools there is big difference of fee structure. There are no prescribed norms.

An Overview of the Higher Education
India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world. The University Grants Commission is its main governing body and also oversees accreditation for Higher learning.
The Indian Higher Education system has expanded at a very fast pace by adding more than 20,000 colleges and more than 8 million students in a decade. Today India has 907 Universities as per UGC website: 48 Central Universities, 399 State Universities, 126 Deemed to be Universities and 334 Private Universities along with many other institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and Institutes of National Importance which include AIIMS, IIT’s and NIT’s among others.
Other Institutions include Government degree colleges and Private Degree College, including exclusive women’s colleges affiliated to these Universities.
The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology. Distanc learning and ope education is also a feature of the Indian Higher Educationsystem and is looked after by Distance Education Council . Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest Open University in the world by number of students having 3 to 4 million students across the globe.

Some Institutions of India, such as the IIT’s, NIT’s, IIs, IIM’s, NLU’s and International Institute of Information Technology(IIIT), University of Mumbai and Jawahar Lal Nehru University(JNU) have been globally acclaimed for their standard of Education.

There is still a long way to go as our literacy rate is at 72.1% for adults compared to the world average of 86.3% .and for youth it is 86.1% compared to world average of 91.2%

Kerala is the only state that has achieved a literacy rate of 93.91% and . Bihar is the least literate state in India, with a literacy of 63.82%.
The challenges have to be addressed in the formation of New Education Policy 2019 which is already under review.
Dr. Anis Ahmad, Director-Salmiya Indian Model School, Kuwait


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