Education in India

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Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: central, state and local. Under various articles of the Indian Constitution, free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14. The ratio of public schools to private schools in India is 7:5.

India has made progress in terms of increasing the primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately three-quarters of the population in the 7–10 age group, by 2011.[1] India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to its economic development.[2] Much of the progress, especially in higher education and scientific research, has been credited to various public institutions. While enrolment in higher education has increased steadily over the past decade, reaching a Gross Enrolment Ratio of 24% in 2013,[3] there still remains a significant distance to catch up with tertiary education enrolment levels of developed nations,[4] a challenge that will be necessary to overcome in order to continue to reap a demographic dividend from India's comparatively young population.

At the primary and secondary level, India has a large private school system complementing the government run schools, with 29% of students receiving private education in the 6 to 14 age group.[5] Certain post-secondary technical schools are also private. The private education market in India had a revenue of US$450 million in 2008, but is projected to be a US$40 billion market.[6]

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. This is the fourth annual survey to report enrolment above 96%. Another report from 2013 stated that there were 22.9 crore students enrolled in different accredited urban and rural schools of India, from Class I to XII, representing an increase of 23 lakh students over 2002 total enrolment, and a 19% increase in girl's enrolment.[7] While quantitatively India is inching closer to universal education, the quality of its education has been questioned particularly in its government run school system. Some of the reasons for the poor quality include absence of around 25% of teachers every day.[8] States of India have introduced tests and education assessment system to identify and improve such schools.[9]

It is important to clarify that while there are private schools in India, they are highly regulated in terms of what they can teach, in what form they can operate (must be a non-profit to run any accredited educational institution) and all other aspects of operation. Hence, the differentiation of government schools and private schools can be misguiding.[10]

In India's education system, a significant number of seats are reserved under affirmative action policies for the historically disadvantaged Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. In universities, colleges, and similar institutions affiliated to the federal government, there is a maximum 50% of reservations applicable to these disadvantaged groups, at the state level it can vary. Maharashtra had 73% reservation in 2014, which is the highest percentage of reservations in India.

Education system in India[edit]

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University of Calcutta, established on 1857, was the first multidisciplinary and secular Western-style institution in Asia.


The central and most state boards uniformly follow the "10+2+3" pattern of education.[11]:3 In this pattern, study of 10 years is done in schools and 2 years in Junior colleges,[11]:44 and then 3 years of graduation for a bachelor's degree.[12] The first 10 years is further subdivided into 4 years of primary education, 6 years of High School followed by 2 years of Junior colleges.[11]:5 This pattern originated from the recommendation of the Education Commission of 1964–66.[13]

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the apex body located at New Delhi, Capital City of India. It makes the curriculum related matters for school education across India.[14] The NCERT provides support, guidance and technical assistance to a number of schools in India and oversees many aspects of enforcement of education policies.[15] Other curriculum bodies governing school education system are:

  • The state government boards: Most of the state governments have one "State board of secondary education". However, some states like Andhra Pradesh have more than one. Also the union territories do not have a board, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry Lakshadweep, share the services with a larger state.
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which conducts examinations at the 10th and 12th standards that are called as board exams
  • The Council of Indian School Certificate Examination(CISCE). CISCE conducts three examinations, namely, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE - Class/Grade 10); The Indian School Certificate (ISC - Class/Grade 12) and the Certificate in Vocational Education (CVE - Class/Grade 12).
  • The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) conducts two examinations, namely, Secondary Examination and Senior Secondary Examination (All India) and also some courses in Vocational Education.
  • International schools affiliated to the International Baccalaureate Programme and/or the Cambridge International Examinations.
  • Islamic Madrasah schools, whose boards are controlled by local state governments, or autonomous, or affiliated with Darul Uloom Deoband or Darul Uloom Nadwtul Ulama // [archive].
  • Autonomous schools like Woodstock School, The Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education Puducherry, Auroville, Patha Bhavan and Ananda Marga Gurukula.
  • International schools, which offer 10th and 12th standard examinations under the International Baccalaureate, or the Cambridge Senior Secondary Examination systems.

In addition, NUEPA (National University of Educational Planning and Administration)[16] and NCTE (National Council for Teacher Education) are responsible for the management of the education system and teacher accreditation.[17]

Pre-Primary education[edit]

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Indian Pre-Primary School children (Divine Orchids International Preschool, Jawhar)

Pre-primary stage is the foundation of child’s knowledge, skills and behaviour. On Completion of pre-primary education child is sent to primary stage but pre-primary education in India is not a fundamental right. In rural India pre-primary schools are rarely available in small villages and urban area on the contrary. But in cities and big towns there are many established players in Pre-Primary education sector. The demand for the preschools is growing considerably in the smaller towns and cities but still only 1% of the population under age 6 is enrolled in preschool education. Play group (pre-nursery): At play schools, children are exposed to a lot of basic learning activities that help them to get independent faster and develop their self-help qualities like eating food themselves, dressing up and maintaining cleanliness. Age limit for admission in pre-nursery is 2 to 3 years Nursery: At Nursery level activities help child unfold her/his talents, enables them to sharpen their mental and physical abilities. Age limit for admission in nursery is 3 to 4 years. LKG: It is also called as Junior Kindergarten (Jr. kg) stage. Age limit for admission in LKG is 4 to 5 years. UKG: It is also called as Senior Kindergarten (Sr. kg) stage. Age limit for admission in UKG is 5 to 6 years. LKG and UKG stages prepare and help children emotionally, mentally, socially and physically to grasp knowledge easily in the later stages of school and college life. [18] A systematic process of preschool education is followed in India to impart knowledge in the best possible way for better understanding of the young children. By following an easy and interesting curriculum, teachers strive hard to make the entire learning process enjoyable for the children.

Primary education[edit]

File:Indian school children at Hnahthial.jpg
Indian School children

The Indian government lays emphasis on primary education, also referred to as elementary education, to children aged 6 to 14 years old.[19] Because education laws are given by the states, duration of primary school visit alters between the Indian states. The Indian government has also banned child labour in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions.[19] However, both free education and the ban on child labour are difficult to enforce due to economic disparity and social conditions.[19] 80% of all recognised schools at the elementary stage are government run or supported, making it the largest provider of education in the country.[20]

However, due to a shortage of resources and lack of political will, this system suffers from massive gaps including high pupil to teacher ratios, shortage of infrastructure and poor levels of teacher training. Figures released by the Indian government in 2011 show that there were 58,16,673 elementary school teachers in India.[21] As of March 2012 there were 21,27,000 secondary school teachers in India.[22] Education has also been made free[19] for children for 6 to 14 years of age or up to class VIII under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.[23]

There have been several efforts to enhance quality made by the government. The District Education Revitalisation Programme (DERP) was launched in 1994 with an aim to universalise primary education in India by reforming and vitalising the existing primary education system.[24] 85% of the DERP was funded by the central government and the remaining 15% was funded by the states.[24] The DERP, which had opened 1.6 lakh new schools including 84,000 alternative education schools delivering alternative education to approximately 35 lakh children, was also supported by UNICEF and other international programmes.[24] In January 2016, Kerala became the 1st Indian state to achieve 100% primary education through its literacy programme Athulyam.[25]

This primary education scheme has also shown a high Gross Enrolment Ratio of 93–95% for the last three years in some states.[24] Significant improvement in staffing and enrolment of girls has also been made as a part of this scheme.[24] The current scheme for universalisation of Education for All is the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which is one of the largest education initiatives in the world. Enrolment has been enhanced, but the levels of quality remain low.

Secondary education[edit]

File:Indian schoolgirls.jpg
Secondary school girls in Delhi.

Secondary education covers children aged 12 to 18, a group comprising 8.85 crore children according to the 2001 Census of India. The final two years of secondary is often called Higher Secondary (HS), Senior Secondary, or simply the "+2" stage. The two halves of secondary education are each an important stage for which a pass certificate is needed, and thus are affiliated by central boards of education under HRD ministry, before one can pursue higher education, including college or professional courses.

UGC, NCERT ,CBSE and ICSE directives state qualifying ages for candidates who wish to take board exams. Those at least 15 years old by 30 May for a given academic year are eligible to appear for Secondary board exams, and those 17 by the same date are eligible to appear for Higher Secondary certificate board exams. It further states that upon successful completion of Higher Secondary, one can apply to higher education under UGC control such as Engineering, Medical, and Business Administration.

A significant feature of India's secondary school system is the emphasis on inclusion of the disadvantaged sections of the society. Professionals from established institutes are often called to support in vocational training. Another feature of India's secondary school system is its emphasis on profession based vocational training to help students attain skills for finding a vocation of his/her choosing.[26] A significant new feature has been the extension of SSA to secondary education in the form of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.[27]

A special Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) programme was started in 1974 with a focus on primary education.[14] but which was converted into Inclusive Education at Secondary Stage[28] Another notable special programme, the Kendriya Vidyalaya project, was started for the employees of the central government of India, who are distributed throughout the country. The government started the Kendriya Vidyalaya project in 1965 to provide uniform education in institutions following the same syllabus at the same pace regardless of the location to which the employee's family has been transferred.[14] H The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986, has provided for environment awareness, science and technology education, and introduction of traditional elements such as Yoga into the Indian secondary school system.[29]

Private schools[edit]

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Delhi Public School, Azaad Nagar
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The Doon School

According to current estimates, 29% of Indian children are privately educated.[5] With more than 50% children enrolling in private schools in urban areas, the balance has already tilted towards private schooling in cities; and, even in rural areas, nearly 20% of the children in 2004-5 were enrolled in private schools.[30] Private schooling has come to be associated with an apparent perception of quality and thus desirable in the eyes of the stakeholders, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

File:La Martiniere, Calcutta by Francis Frith.jpg
La Martiniere Calcutta, regarded as one of the best schools in the country

Most middle-class families send their children to private schools,[30] which might be in their own city or at distant boarding schools such as Rajkumar College, Rajkot, the oldest private school in India. At such schools, the medium of education is often English, but Hindi and/or the state's official language is also taught as a compulsory subject.[citation needed] Pre-school education is mostly limited to organised neighbourhood nursery schools with some organised chains.[citation needed] Montessori education is also popular, due to Maria Montessori's stay in India during World War II. In 2014, four of the top ten pre-schools in Chennai were Montessori.[31]

Many privately owned and managed schools carry the appellation "Public", such as the Delhi Public Schools, or Frank Anthony Public Schools. These are modelled after British public schools, which are a group of older, expensive and exclusive fee-paying private independent schools in England.

According to some research, private schools often provide superior results at a multiple of the unit cost of government schools. The reason being high aims and better vision.[32][33][34] However, others have suggested that private schools fail to provide education to the poorest families, a selective being only a fifth of the schools and have in the past ignored Court orders for their regulation.[citation needed]

In their favour, it has been pointed out that private schools cover the entire curriculum and offer extra-curricular activities such as science fairs, general knowledge, sports, music and drama.[35] The pupil teacher ratios are much better in private schools (1:31 to 1:37 for government schools) and more teachers in private schools are female.[citation needed] There is some disagreement over which system has better educated teachers. According to the latest DISE survey, the percentage of untrained teachers (para-teachers) is 54.91% in private, compared to 44.88% in government schools and only 2.32% teachers in unaided schools receive in-service training compared to 43.44% for government schools. The competition in the school market is intense, yet most schools make profit.[35] However, the number of private schools in India is still low - the share of private institutions is 7% (with upper primary being 21% secondary 32% - source: fortress team research). Even the poorest often go to private schools despite the fact that government schools are free. A study found that 65% school-children in Hyderabad's slums attend private schools.[34]

International schools[edit]

As of January 2015, the International Schools Consultancy (ISC)[36] listed India as having 410 international schools.[37] ISC defines an 'international school' in the following terms "ISC includes an international school if the school delivers a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country, or if a school in a country where English is one of the official languages, offers an English-medium curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum and is international in its orientation."[37] This definition is used by publications including The Economist.[38]


Home-schooling is legal in India, though it is the less explored option. The Indian Government's stance on the issue is that parents are free to teach their children at home, if they wish to and have the means.The then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has stated that despite the RTE Act of 2009, if someone decides not to send his/her children to school, the government would not interfere.[39]

Higher education[edit]

IIM Calcutta's Auditorium
Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata.
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Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
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Forest Research Institute

After passing the Higher Secondary Examination (the Standard 12 examination), students may enrol in general degree programmes such as bachelor's degree (graduation) in arts, commerce or science, or professional degree programme such as engineering, law or medicine and become B. Sc., B. Com., and B. A. graduates.[40] India's higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States.[41] The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state upto Post graduation and Doctorate (Ph. D). [42] Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.[43]

File:AIIMS central lawn.jpg
All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi

As of 2012, India has 152[44] central universities, 316 state universities, and 191 private universities. Other institutions include 33,623[45] colleges, including 1,800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions,[42] and 12,748 Institutions offering Diploma Courses. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology.[46] Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes.[47] Distance learning is also a feature of the Indian higher education system.[47] The Government has launched Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan to provide strategic funding to State higher and technical institutions. A total of 316 state public universities and 13,024 colleges will be covered under it.[48]

Some institutions of India, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science have been globally acclaimed for their standard of under-graduate education in engineering. Several other institutes of fundamental research such as the [[Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science]ref>"NCTE : National Council For Teacher Education" [archive]. Retrieved 16 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>] (IACS), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI), are also acclaimed for their standard of research in basic sciences and mathematics. However, India has failed to produce world class universities both in the private sector or the public sector.[49]

Besides top rated universities which provide highly competitive world class education to their pupils, India is also home to many universities which have been founded with the sole objective of making easy money. Regulatory authorities like UGC and AICTE have been trying very hard to extirpate the menace of private universities which are running courses without any affiliation or recognition. Indian Government has failed to check on these education shops, which are run by big businessmen & politicians. Many private colleges and universities do not fulfil the required criterion by the Government and central bodies (UGC, AICTE, MCI, BCI etc.) and take students for a ride. For example, many institutions in India continue to run unaccredited courses as there is no legislation strong enough to ensure legal action against them. Quality assurance mechanisms have failed to stop misrepresentations and malpractices in higher education. At the same time regulatory bodies have been accused of corruption, specifically in the case of deemed-universities.[50] In this context of lack of solid quality assurance mechanism, institutions need to step-up and set higher standards of self-regulation.[51]

Our university system is, in many parts, in a state of disrepair...In almost half the districts in the country, higher education enrolments are abysmally low, almost two-third of our universities and 90 % of our colleges are rated as below average on quality parameters... I am concerned that in many states university appointments, including that of vice-chancellors, have been politicised and have become subject to caste and communal considerations, there are complaints of favouritism and corruption.

— Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007[52]

The Government of India is aware of the plight of higher education sector and has been trying to bring reforms, however, 15 bills are still awaiting discussion and approval in the Parliament.[53] One of the most talked about bill is Foreign Universities Bill, which is supposed to facilitate entry of foreign universities to establish campuses in India. The bill is still under discussion and even if it gets passed, its feasibility and effectiveness is questionable as it misses the context, diversity and segment of international foreign institutions interested in India.[54] One of the approaches to make internationalisation of Indian higher education effective is to develop a coherent and comprehensive policy which aims at infusing excellence, bringing institutional diversity and aids in capacity building.[55]

Red coloured two floored historic college building
The American college in Madurai, started in 1881 CE – One of the first five colleges in India to get autonomous status

Three Indian universities were listed in the Times Higher Education list of the world's top 200 universities — Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, and Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2005 and 2006.[56] Six Indian Institutes of Technology and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science—Pilani were listed among the top 20 science and technology schools in Asia by Asiaweek.[57] The Indian School of Business situated in Hyderabad was ranked number 12 in global MBA rankings by the Financial Times of London in 2010[58] while the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been recognised as a global leader in medical research and treatment.[59] The University of Mumbai was ranked 41 among the Top 50 Engineering Schools of the world by America's news broadcasting firm Business Insider in 2012 and was the only university in the list from the five emerging BRICS nations viz Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.[60] It was ranked at 62 in the QS BRICS University rankings for 2013[61] and was India's 3rd best Multi-Disciplinary University in the QS University ranking of Indian Universities after University of Calcutta and Delhi University.[62] Loyola College, Chennai is one of the best ranked arts and science college in India with the UGC award of College of Excellence tag.

Technical education[edit]

File:IIT Kharagpur Main Building.JPG
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli

From the first Five-year Plan onwards, India's emphasis was to develop a pool of scientifically inclined manpower.[63] India's National Policy on Education (NPE) provisioned for an apex body for regulation and development of higher technical education, which came into being as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1987 through an act of the Indian parliament.[64] 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.[64]

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are among the nation's premier education facilities.[64]

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Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
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Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

[64] The UGC has inter-university centres at a number of locations throughout India to promote common research, e.g. the Nuclear Science Centre at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.[65] Besides there are some British established colleges such as Harcourt Butler Technological Institute situated in Kanpur and King George Medical University situated in Lucknow which are important centre of higher education.

Central Universities such as Banaras Hindu University, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi University, Mumbai University, University of Calcutta, etc. too are pioneers of technical education in the country.

In addition to above institutes, efforts towards the enhancement of technical education are supplemented by a number of recognised Professional Engineering Societies such as:

  1. Institution of Mechanical Engineers (India)
  2. Institution of Engineers (India)
  3. Institution of Chemical Engineering (India)
  4. Institution of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineers (India)
  5. Indian Institute of Metals
  6. Institution of Industrial Engineers (India)
  7. Institute of Town Planners (India)
  8. Indian Institute of Architects

that conduct Engineering/Technical Examinations at different levels (Degree and diploma) for working professionals desirous of improving their technical qualifications.

The number of graduates coming out of technical colleges increased to over 7 lakh in 2011 from 5.5 lakh in FY 2010.[66][67] However, according to one study, 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates lack the skills needed in India's most demanding and high-growth global industries such as Information Technology.[68] These high-tech global information technologies companies directly or indirectly employ about 23 lakh people, less than 1% of India's labour pool.[69] India offers one of the largest pool of technically skilled graduates in the world. Given the sheer numbers of students seeking education in engineering, science and mathematics, India faces daunting challenges in scaling up capacity while maintaining quality.[70][71]

Vocational education

India's All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) reported, in 2013, that there are more than 4,599 vocational institutions that offer degrees, diploma and post-diploma in architecture, engineering, hotel management, infrastructure, pharmacy, technology, town services and others. There were 17.4 lakh students enrolled in these schools.[72] Total annual intake capacity for technical diplomas and degrees exceeded 34 lakh in 2012.[citation needed]

According to the University Grants Commission (UGC) total enrolment in Science, Medicine, Agriculture and Engineering crossed 65 lakh in 2010. The number of women choosing engineering has more than doubled since 2001.[citation needed]

Open and distance learning[edit]

At the school level, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) provides opportunities for continuing education to those who missed completing school education. 14 lakh students are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level through open and distance learning.[citation needed] In 2012 Various state governments also introduced "STATE OPEN SCHOOL" to provide distance education.[73]

At higher education level, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) co-ordinates distance learning. It has a cumulative enrolment of about 15 lakh, serviced through 53 regional centres and 1,400 study centres with 25,000 counselors. The Distance Education Council (DEC), an authority of IGNOU is co-coordinating 13 State Open Universities and 119 institutions of correspondence courses in conventional universities. While distance education institutions have expanded at a very rapid rate, but most of these institutions need an up gradation in their standards and performance. There is a large proliferation of courses covered by distance mode without adequate infrastructure, both human and physical. There is a strong need to correct these imbalances.[74]



According to the Census of 2011, "every person above the age of 7 years who can read and write with understanding in any language is said to be literate". According to this criterion, the 2011 survey holds the National Literacy Rate to be 74.07%.[75] The youth literacy rate, measured within the age group of 15 to 24, is 81.1% (84.4% among males and 74.4% among females),[76] while 86% of boys and 72% of girls are literate in the 10-19 age group.[77]

Within the Indian states, Kerala has the highest literacy rate of 94.65% whereas Bihar averaged 63.8% literacy.[75] The 2001 statistics indicated that the total number of 'absolute non-literates' in the country was 304 million.[75] Gender gap in literacy rate is high, for example in Rajasthan, the state with the lowest female literacy rate in India,[78] average female literacy rate is 52.66% and average male lieracy rate is 80.51%, making a gender gap of 27.85%.[79]


As of 2011, enrolment rates are 58% for pre-primary, 93% for primary, 69% for secondary, and 25% for tertiary education.[80]

Despite the high overall enrolment rate for primary education, among rural children of age 10, half could not read at a basic level, over 60% were unable to do division, and half dropped out by the age 14.[81]

In 2009, two states in India, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, participated in the international PISA exams which is administered once every three years to 15-year-old's. Both states ranked at the bottom of the table, beating out only Kyrgyzstan in score, and falling 200 points (two standard deviations) below the average for OECD countries.[82] While in the immediate aftermath there was a short-lived controversy over the quality of primary education in India, ultimately India decided to not participate in PISA for 2012,[83] and again not to for 2015.[84]

While the quality of free, public education is in crisis, a majority of the urban poor have turned to private schools. In some urban cities, it is estimated as high as two-thirds of all students attend private institutions,[85] many of which charge a modest US$2 per month. There has not been any standardised assessment of how private schools perform, but it is generally accepted that they outperform public schools.

Public school workforce[edit]

Officially, the pupil to teacher ratio within the public school system for primary education is 35:1.[86] However, teacher absenteeism in India is exorbitant, with 25% never showing up for work.[87] The World Bank estimates the cost in salaries alone paid to such teachers who have never attended work is US $2 billion per year.[88]

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Indian School-Children

A study on teachers by Kremer etc. found out that 25% of private sector teachers and 40% of public sector medical workers were absent during the survey. Among teachers who were paid to teach, absence rates ranged from 14.6% in Maharashtra to 41.9% in Jharkhand. Only 1 in nearly 3,000 public school head teachers had ever dismissed a teacher for repeated absence.[89] The same study found "only about half were teaching, during unannounced visits to a nationally representative sample of government primary schools in India."[89]

Higher education[edit]

As per Report of the Higher education in India, Issues Related to Expansion, Inclusiveness, Quality and Finance,[90] the access to higher education measured in term of gross enrolment ratio increased from 0.7% in 1950/51 to 1.4% in 1960–61. By 2006/7 the GER increased to about 11%. Notably, by 2012, it had crossed 20% (as mentioned in an earlier section).


An optimistic estimate from 2008 was that only one in five job-seekers in India ever had any sort of vocational training.[91]

Women's education[edit]

File:Bengali Girls' School, Calcutta (LMS, 1869, p.12).jpg
London Mission Bengali Girls' School, Calcutta (LMS, 1869, p.12)[92]
File:KRS girls.jpg
Girls in Kalleda Rural School, Andhra Pradesh.
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Maharanis College for Women, Mysore, India.

Women have a much lower literacy rate than men. Far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out.[93] In the patriarchal setting of the Indian family, girls have lower status and fewer privileges than boy children.[94] Conservative cultural attitudes prevent some girls from attending school.[95]

The number of literate women among the female population of India was between 2–6% from the British Raj onwards to the formation of the Republic of India in 1947.[96] Concerted efforts led to improvement from 15.3% in 1961 to 28.5% in 1981.[96] By 2001 literacy for women had exceeded 50% of the overall female population, though these statistics were still very low compared to world standards and even male literacy within India.[97] Recently the Indian government has launched Saakshar Bharat Mission for Female Literacy. This mission aims to bring down female illiteracy by half of its present level.

Sita Anantha Raman outlines the progress of women's education in India:

Since 1947 the Indian government has tried to provide incentives for girls' school attendance through programmes for midday meals, free books, and uniforms. This welfare thrust raised primary enrolment between 1951 and 1981. In 1986 the National Policy on Education decided to restructure education in tune with the social framework of each state, and with larger national goals. It emphasised that education was necessary for democracy, and central to the improvement of women's condition. The new policy aimed at social change through revised texts, curricula, increased funding for schools, expansion in the numbers of schools, and policy improvements. Emphasis was placed on expanding girls' occupational centres and primary education; secondary and higher education; and rural and urban institutions. The report tried to connect problems like low school attendance with poverty, and the dependence on girls for housework and sibling day care. The National Literacy Mission also worked through female tutors in villages. Although the minimum marriage age is now eighteen for girls, many continue to be married much earlier. Therefore, at the secondary level, female drop-out rates are high.[98]

Sita Anantha Raman also maintains that while the educated Indian women workforce maintains professionalism, the men outnumber them in most fields and, in some cases, receive higher income for the same positions.[98]

The education of women in India plays a significant role in improving livings standards in the country. A higher women literacy rate improves the quality of life both at home and outside the home, by encouraging and promoting education of children, especially female children, and in reducing the infant mortality rate. Several studies have shown that a lower level of women literacy rates results in higher levels of fertility and infant mortality, poorer nutrition, lower earning potential and the lack of an ability to make decisions within a household.[99] Women's lower educational levels is also shown to adversely affect the health and living conditions of children. A survey that was conducted in India showed results which support the fact that infant mortality rate was inversely related to female literacy rate and educational level.[100] The survey also suggests a correlation between education and economic growth.

In India, it was found that there is a large disparity between female literacy rates in different states.[101] State of Kerala has the highest female literacy rate of 91.98% while Rajasthan has the lowest female literacy rate of 52.66.[102][103] This correlates to the health levels of states, Kerala has average life expectancy at birth of 74.9 while Rajasthan's average life expectancy at birth is 67.7 years.[104]

In India, higher education is defined as the education of an age group between 18 and 24, and is largely funded by the government. Despite women making up 24–50% of higher education enrolment, there is still a gender imbalance within higher education. Only one third of science students and 7% of engineering students, are women. In comparison, however, over half the students studying education are women.[105]

Rural education[edit]

A primary school in a village in Madhya Pradesh
File:Nuchhungi English Medium School Hnahthial Lunglei Mizoram Students.jpg
Indian school children in Mizoram

Following independence, India viewed education as an effective tool for bringing social change through community development.[106] The administrative control was effectively initiated in the 1950s, when, in 1952, the government grouped villages under a Community Development Block—an authority under national programme which could control education in up to 100 villages.[106] A Block Development Officer oversaw a geographical area of 150 square miles (390 km2) which could contain a population of as many as 70,000 people.[106]

Setty and Ross elaborate on the role of such programmes, themselves divided further into individual-based, community based, or the Individual-cum-community-based, in which microscopic levels of development are overseen at village level by an appointed worker:

The community development programmes comprise agriculture, animal husbandry, cooperation, rural industries, rural engineering (consisting of minor irrigation, roads, buildings), health and sanitation including family welfare, family planning, women welfare, child care and nutrition, education including adult education, social education and literacy, youth welfare and community organisation. In each of these areas of development there are several programmes, schemes and activities which are additive, expanding and tapering off covering the total community, some segments, or specific target populations such as small and marginal farmers, artisans, women and in general people below the poverty line.[106]

Despite some setbacks the rural education programmes continued throughout the 1950s, with support from private institutions.[107] A sizeable network of rural education had been established by the time the Gandhigram Rural Institute was established and 5,200 Community Development Blocks were established in India.[108] Nursery schools, elementary schools, secondary school, and schools for adult education for women were set up.[108]

The government continued to view rural education as an agenda that could be relatively free from bureaucratic backlog and general stagnation.[108] However, in some cases lack of financing balanced the gains made by rural education institutes of India.[109] Some ideas failed to find acceptability among India's poor and investments made by the government sometimes yielded little results.[109] Today, government rural schools remain poorly funded and understaffed. Several foundations, such as the Rural Development Foundation (Hyderabad), actively build high-quality rural schools, but the number of students served is small.

Education in rural India is valued differently from in an urban setting, with lower rates of completion. An imbalanced sex ratio exists within schools with 18% of males earning a high school diploma compared with only 10% of females. The estimated number of children who have never attended school in India is near 10 crore which reflects the low completion levels.[citation needed] This is the largest concentration in the world of youth who haven't enrolled in school.[110][111][112][113]

Vocational education[edit]

The government of India is taking many positive steps to turn the education vocational and job oriented. Recently the duration of Graduation in Delhi University has been turned back to 3 years from 4 years. Moreover, government is taking lots of steps to promote small vocational institutes which provides job oriented courses like aviation related or travel & tourism related courses to name few examples.So, we have improve it day by day.


  • Witzel signed a petition in support of K N Panikkar, who is a self professed Marxist 77 . It may be noted that the Communist state government of the Indian state of Kerala forcibly appointed Panikkar as the Vice Chancellor (administrative chief) of the Kaladi Sanskrit University despite heavy opposition from its faculty (and also political groups) 78 who were worried that the Hindu hating professor would harm the institute. The inevitable happened, and the University soon came to a stand still, obviously due to the well thought out strategy of Communist politicians and their academic supporters. ( quoted in Vigil, 'Thus Spake Professor Michael Witzel A Harvard University Case Study in Prejudice?' (2006))


As per 2016 Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER), 3.5% schools in India had no toilet facility while only 68.7% schools had useable toilet facility. 75.5% of the schools surveyed had library in 2016, a decrease from 78.1% in 2014. Percentage of schools with separate girls toilet have increased from 32.9% in 2010 to 61.9%in 2016.[114] 74.1% schools had drinking water facility and 64.5% of the schools had playground.[115]

Curriculum issues[edit]

Modern education in India is often criticised for being based on rote learning rather than problem solving. New Indian Express says that Indian Education system seems to be producing zombies since in most of the schools students seemed to be spending majority of their time in preparing for competitive exams rather than learning or playing.[116] BusinessWeek criticises the Indian curriculum, saying it revolves around rote learning[117] and ExpressIndia suggests that students are focused on cramming.[118] Preschool for Child Rights states that almost 99% of pre-schools do not have any curriculum at all.[119]


In January 2010, the Government of India decided to withdraw Deemed university status from as many as 44 institutions. The Government claimed in its affidavit that academic considerations were not being kept in mind by the management of these institutions and that "they were being run as family fiefdoms".[120]

The University Grant Commission found 39 fake institutions operating in India.[121]

Employer training[edit]

Only 10% of manufacturers in India offer in-service training to their employees, compared with over 90% in China.[122]

Corruption in education[edit]

Corruption in Indian education system has been eroding the quality of education and has been creating long-term negative consequences for the society. Educational corruption in India is considered as one of the major contributors to domestic black money.[123]

Central government involvement[edit]


The madrasah of Jamia Masjid mosque in Srirangapatna.
File:Elementary School.jpg
Elementary School in Chittoor. This school is part of the 'Paathshaala' project. The school currently educates 70 students.

Following India's independence a number of rules were formulated for the backward Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes of India, and in 1960 a list identifying 405 Scheduled Castes and 225 Scheduled Tribes was published by the central government.[124] An amendment was made to the list in 1975, which identified 841 Scheduled Castes and 510 Scheduled Tribes.[124] The total percentage of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes combined was found to be 22.5% with the Scheduled Castes accounting for 17% and the Scheduled Tribes accounting for the remaining 7.5%.[124] Following the report many Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes increasingly referred to themselves as Dalit, a Marathi language terminology used by B R Ambedkar which literally means "oppressed".[124]

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are provided for in many of India's educational programmes.[125] Special reservations are also provided for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in India, e.g. a reservation of 15% in Kendriya Vidyalaya for Scheduled Castes and another reservation of 7.5% in Kendriya Vidyalaya for Scheduled Tribes.[125] Similar reservations are held by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in many schemes and educational facilities in India.[125] The remote and far-flung regions of North-East India are provided for under the Non-Lapsible Central pool of Resources (NLCPR) since 1998–1999.[126] The NLCPR aims to provide funds for infrastructure development in these remote areas.[126]

Women from remote, underdeveloped areas or from weaker social groups in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, fall under the Mahila Samakhya Scheme, initiated in 1989.[127] Apart from provisions for education this programme also aims to raise awareness by holding meetings and seminars at rural levels.[127] The government allowed 34 crore (US$5.3 million) during 2007–08 to carry out this scheme over 83 districts including more than 21,000 villages.[127]

Currently there are 68 Bal Bhavans and 10 Bal Kendra affiliated to the National Bal Bhavan.[128] The scheme involves educational and social activities and recognising children with a marked talent for a particular educational stream.[128] A number of programmes and activities are held under this scheme, which also involves cultural exchanges and participation in several international forums.[128]

India's minorities, especially the ones considered 'educationally backward' by the government, are provided for in the 1992 amendment of the Indian National Policy on Education (NPE).[129] The government initiated the Scheme of Area Intensive Programme for Educationally Backward Minorities and Scheme of Financial Assistance or Modernisation of Madarsa Education as part of its revised Programme of Action (1992).[129] Both these schemes were started nationwide by 1994.[129] In 2004 the Indian parliament passed an act which enabled minority education establishments to seek university affiliations if they passed the required norms.[129]


As a part of the tenth Five-year Plan (2002–2007), the central government of India outlined an expenditure of 65.6% of its total education budget of 43,800 crore (US$6.8 billion) i.e. 28,800 crore (US$4.5 billion) on elementary education; 9.9% i.e. 4,325 crore (US$670 million) on secondary education; 2.9% i.e. 1,250 crore (US$190 million) on adult education; 9.5% i.e. 4,176.5 crore (US$650 million) on higher education; 10.7% i.e. 4,700 crore (US$730 million) on technical education; and the remaining 1.4% i.e. 623.5 crore (US$97 million) on miscellaneous education schemes.[130]

Template:See also2

Government expenditure on education in India[edit]

During the Financial Year 2011-12, the Central Government of India has allocated 38,957 crore for the Department of School Education and Literacy which is the main department dealing with primary education in India. Within this allocation, major share of 21,000 crore, is for the flagship programme 'Sarva Siksha Abhiyan'. However, budgetary allocation of 21,000 crore is considered very low in view of the officially appointed Anil Bordia Committee recommendation of 35,659 for the year 2011-12. This higher allocation was required to implement the recent legislation 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. In recent times, several major announcements were made for developing the poor state of affairs in education sector in India, the most notable ones being the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The announcements are; (a) To progressively increase expenditure on education to around 6% of GDP. (b) To support this increase in expenditure on education, and to increase the quality of education, there would be an imposition of an education cess over all central government taxes. (c) To ensure that no one is denied of education due to economic backwardness and poverty. (d) To make right to education a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6–14 years. (e) To universalise education through its flagship programmes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Mid-Day Meal.

However, even after five years of implementation of NCMP, not much progress has been seen on this front. Although the country targeted towards devoting 6% share of the GDP towards the educational sector, the performance has definitely fallen short of expectations. Expenditure on education has steadily risen from 0.64% of GDP in 1951–52 to 2.31% in 1970–71 and thereafter reached the peak of 4.26% in 2000–01. However, it declined to 3.49% in 2004–05. There is a definite need to step-up again. As a proportion of total government expenditure, it has declined from around 11.1% in 2000–2001 to around 9.98% during UPA rule, even though ideally it should be around 20% of the total budget. A policy brief issued by [Network for Social Accountability (NSA)][131] titled "[NSA Response to Education Sector Interventions in Union Budget: UPA Rule and the Education Sector][132] " provides significant revelation to this fact. Due to a declining priority of education in the public policy paradigm in India, there has been an exponential growth in the private expenditure on education also. [As per the available information, the private out of pocket expenditure by the working class population for the education of their children in India has increased by around 1150 percent or around 12.5 times over the last decade].[133]

Legislative framework[edit]

Article 45, of the Constitution of India originally stated:

The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.[134]

This article was a directive principle of state policy within India, effectively meaning that it was within a set of rules that were meant to be followed in spirit and the government could not be held to court if the actual letter was not followed.[135] However, the enforcement of this directive principle became a matter of debate since this principle held obvious emotive and practical value, and was legally the only directive principle within the Indian constitution to have a time limit.[135]

Following initiatives by the Supreme Court of India during the 1990s the 93rd amendment bill suggested three separate amendments to the Indian constitution:[136]

The constitution of India was amended to include a new article, 21A, which read:

The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in a such manner as the State may, by law, determine.[137]

Article 45 was proposed to be substituted by the article which read:

Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years: The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of sixteen years.[137]

Another article, 51A, was to additionally have the clause:

...a parent or guardian [shall] provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, [a] ward between the age of six to fourteen years.[137]

The bill was passed unanimously in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, on 28 November 2001.[138] It was later passed by the upper house—the Rajya Sabha—on 14 May 2002.[138] After being signed by the President of India the Indian constitution was amended formally for the eighty sixth time and the bill came into effect.[138] Since then those between the age of 6–14 have a fundamental right to education.[139]

Article 46 of the Constitution of India holds that:

The State shall promote, with special care, the education and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of social exploitation'.[75]

Other provisions for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes can be found in Articles 330, 332, 335, 338–342.[75] Both the 5th and the 6th Schedules of the Constitution also make special provisions for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[75]


File:Nalanda Univercity.JPG
The remnants of the library of Nalanda, built in the 5th century BCE by Gupta kings. It was rebuilt twice after invasion, first after an invasion from the Huns in the 5th century BCE and then after an invasion from the Gaudas in the 7th century CE but abandoned after the third invasion by Turkic invaders in the 12th century.

Takshasila (in modern-day Pakistan) was the earliest recorded centre of higher learning in India from possibly 8th Century BCE, and it is debatable whether it could be regarded a university or not in modern sense, since teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the later Nalanda university in eastern India. Nalanda was the oldest university-system of education in the world in the modern sense of university. There all subjects were taught in Ariano -páli Language.[140]

Secular institutions cropped up along Buddhist monasteries. These institutions imparted practical education, e.g. medicine. A number of urban learning centres became increasingly visible from the period between 500 BCE to 400 CE. The important urban centres of learning were Nalanda (in modern-day Bihar) and Manassa in Nagapur, among others. These institutions systematically imparted knowledge and attracted a number of foreign students to study topics such as Buddhist Páli literature, logic, páli grammar, etc. Chanakya, a Brahmin teacher, was among the most famous teachers, associated with founding of Mauryan Empire.

Sammanas and Brahmin gurus historically offered education by means of donations, rather than charging fees or the procurement of funds from students or their guardians. Later, stupas,temples also became centres of education; religious education was compulsory, but secular subjects were also taught. Students were required to be brahmacaris or celibates. The knowledge in these orders was often related to the tasks a section of the society had to perform. The priest class, the Sammanas, were imparted knowledge of religion, philosophy, and other ancillary branches while the warrior class, the Kshatriya, were trained in the various aspects of warfare. The business class, the Vaishya, were taught their trade and the working class of the Shudras was generally deprived of educational advantages. The book of laws, the Manu smrti, and the treatise on statecraft the Arthashastra were among the influential works of this era which reflect the outlook and understanding of the world at the time.

See also[edit]


  • National education cannot be defined briefly in one or two sentences, but we may describe it tentatively as the education which starting with the past and making full use of the present builds up a great nation. Whoever wishes to cut off the nation from its past is no friend of our national growth. Whoever fails to take advantage of the present is losing us the battle of life. We must therefore save for India all that she has stored up of knowledge, character and noble thought in her immemorial past. We must acquire for her the best knowledge that Europe can give her and assimilate it to her own peculiar type of national temperament. We must introduce the best methods of teaching humanity has developed, whether modern or ancient. And all these we must harmonise into a system which will be impregnated with the spirit of self-reliance so as to build up men and not machines....
    • Sri Aurobindo, February 24, 1908, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [2] [archive]
  • The living spirit of the demand for national education no more requires a return to the astronomy and mathematics of Bhaskara or the forms of the system of Nalanda than the living spirit of Swadeshi a return from railway and motor traction to the ancient chariot and the bullock-cart.... It is the spirit, the living and vital issue that we have to do with, and there the question is not between modernism and antiquity, but between an imported civilisation and the greater possibilities of the Indian mind and nature, not between the present and the past, but between the present and the future. It is not a return to the fifth century but an initiation of the centuries to come, not a reversion but a break forward away from a present artificial falsity to her own greater innate potentialities that is demanded by the soul, by the Shakti of India.... A language, Sanskrit or another, should be acquired by whatever method is most natural, efficient and stimulating to the mind and we need not cling there to any past or present manner of teaching: but the vital question is how we are to learn and make use of Sanskrit and the indigenous languages so as to get to the heart and intimate sense of our own culture and establish a vivid continuity between the still living power of our past and the yet uncreated power of our future, and how we are to learn and use English or any other foreign tongue so as to know helpfully the life, ideas and culture of other countries and establish our right relations with the world around us. This is the aim and principle of a true national education, not, certainly, to ignore modern truth and knowledge, but to take our foundation on our own being, our own mind, our own spirit.... The scientific, rationalistic, industrial, pseudo-democratic civilisation of the West is now in process of dissolution and it would be a lunatic absurdity for us at this moment to build blindly on that sinking foundation. When the most advanced minds of the occident are beginning to turn in this red evening of the West for the hope of a new and more spiritual civilisation to the genius of Asia, it would be strange if we could think of nothing better than to cast away our own self and potentialities and put our trust in the dissolving and moribund past of Europe.
    • Sri Aurobindo, November, 1920 (From an article entitled "A Preface on National Education."), quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [3] [archive]
  • [Is the system in England different from that introduced in India?] Yes, [in India] they want only clerks and the education is intended for nothing else.
    • Sri Aurobindo, August 7, 1926, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [4] [archive]
  • There is a sense of widespread neglect and decay in the field of indigenous education within a few decades after the onset of British rule. (...) The conclusion that the decay noticed in the early 19th century and more so in subsequent decades originated with European supremacy in India, therefore, seems inescapable. The 1769-70 famine in Bengal (when, according to British record, one-third of the population actually perished), may be taken as a mere forerunner of what was to come. (...) During the latter part of the 19th century, impressions of decay, decline and deprivation began to agitate the mind of the Indian people. Such impressions no doubt resulted from concrete personal, parental and social experience of what had gone before. They were, perhaps, somewhat exaggerated at times. By 1900, it had become general Indian belief that the country had been decimated by British rule in all possible ways; that not only had it become impoverished, but it had been degraded to the furthest possible extent; that the people of India had been cheated of most of what they had; that their customs and manners were ridiculed, and that the infrastructure of their society mostly eroded. One of the statements which thus came up was that the ignorance and illiteracy in India was caused by British rule; and, conversely, that at the beginning of British political dominance, India had had extensive education, learning and literacy. By 1930, much had been written on this point in the same manner as had been written on the deliberate destruction of Indian crafts and industry, and the impoverishment of the Indian countryside.
    • Dharampal: The Beautiful Tree, Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century. (1983)
  • Every Hindu village had its schoolmaster, supported out of the public funds; in Bengal alone, before the coming of the British, there were some eighty thousand native schools one to every four hundred population. 8 The percentage of literacy under Ashoka was apparently higher than in India today. Children went to the village school from September to February, entering at the age of five and leaving at the age of eight. Instruction was chiefly of a religious character, no matter what the subject; rote memorizing was the usual method, and the Vedas were the inevitable text. The three R's were included, but were not the main business of education; character was rated above intellect, and discipline was the essence of schooling. We do not hear of flogging, or of other severe measures; but we find that stress was laid above all upon the formation of wholesome and proper habits of life. At the age of eight the pupil passed to the more formal care of a Guru, or personal teacher and guide, with whom the student was to live, preferably till he was twenty. Services, sometimes menial, were required of him, and he was pledged to continence, modesty, cleanliness, and a meatless diet. Instruction was now given him in the "Five Sbastras" or sciences: grammar, arts and crafts, medicine, logic, and philosophy. Finally he was sent out into the world with the wise admonition that education came only one-fourth from the teacher, one-fourth from private study, one-fourth from one's fel- lows, and one-fourth from life. From his Guru the student might pass, about the age of sixteen, to one of the great universities that were the glory of ancient and medieval India: Benares, Taxila, Vidarbha, Ajanta, Ujjain, or Nalanda.
  • No people probably appreciate more justly the importance of instruction than the Hindus.
    • Brigadier-General Alexander Walker, c. 1795, quoted in “The 'Beautiful Tree' that the British destroyed”, Organiser, 28.10.1984 by Ram Swarup
  • I say without fear of my figures being successfully challenged that India today is more illiterate than it was before a fifty or 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.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Speech at Chatham House, London, on October 20, 1931. Quoted in Essential Writings of Dharampal by Dharampal, and quoted in S.R. Goel, Hindu Society under siege [5] [archive]
  • Dharampal, the noted Gandhian, used British data during the colonial period to show that in the ninetheenth century, the shudras comprised a larger student body than any other community did. ... Besides the large number of schools at that time, there were also approximately a hundred institutions of higher learning in each district of Bengal and Bihar. Unfortunately, these numbers rapidly dwindled all across India during the nineteenth century under British rule. The British also noted that Sanskrit books were being widely used to teach grammar, lexicology, mathematics, medical science, logic, law and philosophy. ....Furthermore, in the early British period in India, British officials noted that education for the masses was more advanced and widespread in India than it was in England. ....According to Dharampal, the British later replaced this Sanskrit-based system with their own English-based one, the goal being to produce low-level clerks for the British administration.
  • The report praised the traditional pathashala system for its 'remarkably close contact between the teacher and the pupil' in which there was a transmission from human to human whereas in the modern system it is a mass production method of teaching. In the traditional system, education was personalized and 'there was no rigidity regarding time-table and curriculum'.
    • Rajiv Malhotra, The Battle for Sanskrit
  • Macaulay's policy was implemented and became a resounding success. The pre-Macaulayan vernacular system of education was destroyed, even though British surveys had found it more effective and more democratic than the then-existing education system in Britain. The rivalling educationist party, the so-called Orientalists, had proposed a Sanskrit-based system of education, in which Indian graduates would not have been as estranged from their mother civilization as they became through English education, and in which they could have selectively adopted the useful elements of Western modernity, more or less the way Japan modernized itself.
    • Koenraad Elst 2001, Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, p. 26
  • Especially the CPM government in West Bengal has been ruthlessly using the constitutional discrimination against Hindu schools for justifying take-overs. But have these organizations appealed to Hindu society to come to their rescue? Have they launched, or asked politicians to launch, a campaign to end this discrimination ? Apparently they have absolutely no confidence in the willingness of Hindu politicians to take up even an impeccably justified Hindu cause.
    So, I think Hindu politicians should make this their number one issue. Article 30 is far more unjust and harmful than Article 370 which gives a special status to Kashmir. You can better lose that piece of territory than to lose your next generations. It is also a good exercise in separating the genuine secularists from the Hindu-baiters. The demand for equality between all religions in education merely seeks the abrogation of an injustice against the Hindus, so it cannot be construed as directed against the minorities. It wants to stop a blatant case of discrimination on the basis of religion, so everyone who comes out in support of the present form of Article 30, will stand exposed as a supporter of communal discrimination. It is truly a watershed issue.
    • Koenraad Elst, Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • India's education had two aims, both organically linked. One was to strengthen our body and mind, our nerves and vitality.... There was yet another aim of Hindu learning to which we would make a barest reference here. The ancient seers would like to go to the principles of a thing, its source and foundation. They would not be satisfied with half-way houses. For example, in their system of education, their aim was not to seek or provide bits of information on random subjects, but to form and mould the mind itself which receives, processes and analyses all information. Similarly, in their search for knowledge, their aim was not just external half-knowledge about a stray subject. On the other hand, they sought knowledge of a deeper kind, and they sought that source-knowledge which is the fountain-head of all knowledge and all sciences. They thought and meditated and found that "mind is the uniting-point of all intentions"; and similarly, they found that the "heart is the uniting-point of all sciences and knowledge". So if mind is the source of all intentions and resolutions, then we could conquer the latter by conquering the former. Similarly, if heart is the source of all sciences and knowledge, we could master all sciences by entering into the heart. Many of the sciences came to India through this process, through this churning of the heart-ocean.
    • Ram Swarup (2000). On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections. Ch. 6.
  • In these modern days there is a greater impetus towards higher education on the European lines, and the trend of opinion is strong towards women getting this higher education. Of course, there are some people in India who do not want it, but those who do want it carried the day. It is a strange fact that Oxford and Cambridge are closed to women today, so are Harvard and Yale; but Calcutta University opened its doors to women more than twenty years ago.



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