Education in India

Even before India?s independence in 1947, education was a priority for its governments, with the first attempt to formulate a national education system being conducted in 1944. The Report of the Central Advisory Board of Education on Post War Educational Development in India recommended the formation of a University Grants Committee (UGC).

India has excelled as a centre of higher education since ancient times. Nalanda, Vikramashila and Takshashila were among the oldest universities in the world, with students from distant countries coming to study. In 1823, Mountstuart Elphistone's minutes stressed the need for establishing schools for teaching English and the European sciences. In 1857, the universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were set up.

The UGC was formed in 1945 to oversee the work of the three central universities of Aligarh, Banaras and Delhi. An Act of Parliament in November 1956 established the UGC as the statutory body for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in the country. The UGC has set up six regional centers in Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Guwahati, and Bangalore. The UGC, whose head office is located in New Delhi, is the only grant-giving agency in India which was two responsibilities - that of providing funds, and that of coordinating, determining and maintaining standards in institutions of higher education, on the other.

After independence, the government launched several other educational schemes, such as the Community Development Programme and the Sarva Shiksha Mohim, in an attempt to improve literacy among the people. It adopted a two-pronged approach for the universalization of elementary education and universal adult literacy to achieve total literacy. The Total Literacy Campaign and the Post Literacy Programme operate under one literacy project.

As a result of the efforts under the literacy campaigns, the literacy rate in India had risen from 18.33 percent in 1951 to 65.38 percent in 2001. According to the 2001 Census, male literacy in the country was 75.85 percent and female literacy was 54.16 percent.

The District Primary Education Programme was introduced in November 1994 to regulate elementary education. The Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009, which represents the consequential legislation to the Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act 2002, ensures that children up to the age of 14 have the right to education in a neighborhood school. It lays down norms and standards related to pupil-teacher ratios, buildings and infrastructure, school working days and teacher working hours.

There are other programs for compulsory elementary education in India, especially for girls. The aim of the Kasturba Gandhi Shiksha Yojana is to establish residential schools for girls in all districts where the female literacy rate is particularly low. Institutes like National Bal Bhavan encourage children to enhance their creative potential by pursuing activities they like. Other programs, including the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, have been introduced in an attempt to attract more children and parents towards literacy.

Secondary education serves as a link between elementary and higher education. The secondary level of education in India includes children at the age of 14 to 18.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Women, Education, and Family Structure in India
Carol Chapnick Mukhopadhyay; Susan Seymour.
Westview Press, 1994
India, Economic Development and Social Opportunity
Jean Drèze; Amartya Sen.
Oxford University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Education as a Political Issue"
Special Education in India at the Crossroads
Thirumurthy, Vidya; Jayaraman, Brinda.
Childhood Education, Vol. 83, No. 6, August 15, 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
In Pursuit of Learning: Educational Programs for At-Risk Children in India
Guha, Smita.
Childhood Education, Vol. 78, No. 4, Summer 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Global Constructions of Multicultural Education: Theories and Realities
Carl A. Grant; Joy L. Lei.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Multicultural Education in India"
Asia, Case Studies in the Social Sciences: A Guide for Teaching
Myron L. Cohen.
M. E. Sharpe, 1992
Librarian’s tip: "Education in India" begins on p. 493
Affirmative Action in the United States and India: A Comparative Perspective
Thomas E. Weisskopf.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Part II "An Empirical Analysis of Positive Discrimination in Admissions to Higher Educational Institutions in the U.S. and India"
Teacher Education in India: An Auxiliary Perspective
Govindarajan, Girish; Jayalakshmi T. K.; Gopal, Malathi V.
Education, Vol. 114, No. 2, Winter 1993
Private Prometheus: Private Higher Education and Development in the 21st Century
Philip G. Altbach.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Emerging Trends and Evolving Public Policies in India"
Gender, Justice, Development, and Rights
Maxine Molyneux; Shahra Razavi.
Oxford University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Engendering Education: Prospects for a Rights-Based Approach to Female Education Deprivation in India"
Education in New India
Humayun Kabir.
Harper & Brothers, 1957
Education in Ancient India
Hartmut Sgharfe.
Brill, 2002
Computers for Young Children in India
Thirumurthy, Vidya; Sundaram, Nithya.
Childhood Education, Vol. 79, No. 5, Annual 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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