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Essay on Higher Education in India

Higher Education

In India, higher education is an important aspect in anyone’s life it gives students to learn more about anything and to pursue in that field. However, there are some challenges that Higher Education in Indi is facing and it need to be discussed. Since, India has one of the oldest education systems and is considered to be the pioneer in higher education in the world as it had Nalanda University.

Short and Long Essay on Status of Higher Education in India in English

Here is a long essay mentioned which tells about Higher education system in India including good, bad and what needs to focused to improve and other aspects.

10 Lines Essay on Higher Education in India (100-120 Words)

1) Higher education is considered the last stage of academic learning.

2) Higher studies are done after the successful completion of secondary education.

3) Colleges and universities are responsible for providing higher education.

4) India possesses a low level of about 23.6% higher education.

5) Many universities in India are unable to fulfill the criteria set by UGC.

6) Central, State, deemed, and private universities are the four higher education sectors in India.

7) Associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral are the four higher education degrees in India.

8) India stands 59 th among 64 countries in terms of the education system.

9) Political interference, unavailability of facilities, lack of faculties, etc are the barriers to higher education in India.

10) India’s higher education condition can be improved by setting up good private institutions or through a partnership with foreign countries.

Long Essay on Higher Education in India – 1500 Words


Higher Education for any student in the world are as important as basic important. It not only gives student to learn more about any specialization, but also makes understand student the practicality of that subject. Higher education in India means a degree learning and understanding more about a particular subject. Higher education in India includes Bachelors, Masters, Diploma and Doctorate program in a particular discipline.

Various institutes offer higher education in India and they are called Colleges and Universities. A record of 2015 mentions there are 760 universities and 38,498 colleges in India. These colleges provide education in various fields and works on practical development of students.

National Education Policy and Higher Education

To increase the GER to half continuously by 2035, NEP 2020 wants to make it continuous for half a century. It’s estimated that 3.5 crore or significantly more spots can be allocated to higher education organizations to make this agreement a reality.

A multi-disciplinary curriculum can be combined with courses in professional fields. One or both of the UG projects may last 3 or 4 years. There will be a variety of leave alternate options, and appropriate “certificates” will be issued to the understudies during their residency. The first year of study will conclude with a certificate, the second year with a preliminary confirmation, the third year with a Bachelor’s degree and the last year ending with a degree that demonstrates research insight at the end of the fourth year. A credit bank for academic development will be set up to track credits students acquire over the length of their academic journey.

Different classes of colleges will appear in accordance with the vision and mission of instructional organizations, such as educating serious colleges, research-centered colleges, and universities that grant degrees autonomously. Organizations will be granted independence in 15 years as the school association methodology is gradually eliminated.

Higher Education versus Skill Acquisition

Generally we don’t consider on skill acquisition in India. We are totally focused on theoretical part of education. This has been an issue. This issue causes a lot of students to be inferior while telling about their SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).

Skill acquisition means to accomplish any specialty. It can be in studies or in any field. But, when we put the skills in front of higher education, things seem to be little bit different. People are busy with their curriculum so that they cannot find what their skills are. This disturbs them while choosing a job or figuring out their career field.

Studies that require skill development are not generally conducted by institutes. Finding and incorporating skills can provide chances of discovering yourself in your field. Even, in engineering people need to focus on presentation and speaking but they are not part of their curriculum. This leads to people doing jobs in a call centre and it discourages many students to stop themselves from growing.

Apart from all these, Indian education system is quite different especially in North India. The roots of this starts from class 10 th , parents decide student’s future and tells them what to do. If they score well in class 10 th then they are asked to either go with science. If their marks are average then they are asked to go for commerce and below average students are supposed to go with humanities stream. Sometimes these streams feel like a caste system in India. Parents never give time to understand what students want to do, what is their hobby and what do they want to pursue.

During the time of placements or job interview, people do not know what a SWOT analysis is. SWOT denotes Strength Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats. It allows any person to identify their negative and positive parts and work on it so that they can deliver their work. Many institutions don’t do that ultimately leads to drastic failure of students.

Skill acquisition and know strengths are important part of life. In the higher education field we should not study only getting a degree or to get a job but we should look completely over the skills so that we can utilize our strengths into what it suits us.

Higher Education Issues and Challenges in India

In India, Higher Education faces some challenges and issues that need to be seen by government. When compared with other agricultural nations, India has a very low level of advanced education, which is just 26.3%. In India, many schools and colleges do not meet the basic requirements set by the UGC, which renders them unable to position themselves from among top colleges around the globe.

  • Enrollment and Faculties

More than 670 colleges exist in India today, no less than 38,000 universities, 817000 instructors and educators, and more than 28000000 understudies registered. School, college, student, and instructor numbers keep developing every year. The courses available to understudies are diverse. The number of students applying for master’s programs across the country exceeds 140,000,000. More than 20490000 understudies are enrolled in post-graduate programs. The year 2014 was selected for both research and confirmation to cover around 1370000 understudies.

  • Quality Education

Attempting to expand new universities requires swindling money from understudies and their families. Long-term problems with quality training have been caused by deficiencies in staff and the inability of the state educational framework to draw in and retain good educators. Despite the abundance of job opportunities in advanced education, a large number of NET/PhD competitors are unemployed. Due to market opportunities and pioneering enthusiasm, numerous establishments are utilizing the carelessness of the administrative climate to offer ‘degrees’ not verified by Indian specialists, and a lot of foundations are obtaining funds by creating fake NGOs. Understudies from rural and semi-urban foundations regularly enroll in these organizations and universities.

However, in India, numerous colleges and schools have not met the UGC’s low standards. Consequently, we are not in position to place among the top universities in the world. Furthermore, reduced administrative financial assistance negatively impacts small and rural educational institutions. Thus, only a small number of first-class students can attend advanced education, reducing general access.

Higher Education as an agent of change

Higher education’s mission is to address large challenges and lead exploration in areas that are in need throughout the world, thereby supporting social values like welfare and social commitment. It is possible to be surprised to discover you are naturally talented in a certain area of math, to have a particular preference for moving, or to find a particular creator you enjoy more than others. Their time should be managed well, they should step up, and they should stay on top of things. It is these skills that can be applied to everyday concerns, from maintaining one’s living space to being a strong person to dominating at one’s job.

Today’s marketplace requires business people to have administration skills, progressive theoretical aptitudes, and development-improved learning abilities. Not just a couple of high school and college graduates are required. By doing this, it will enable schools to make the changes in curricular content, instructional methods, and task plans needed to ensure an undeniably strong link between what students in their institutions are learning and what graduates are reasonably expected to do. As a result, all understudies will have a better educational experience and prepare to function as managers with their multicultural smoothness.

Ideally, the new hire will possess the relevant experience, knowledge, and affiliations; this will allow him/her to stay on the cutting edge of the industry and interface such cutting edge practices to the development of the association. Aware of complex authoritative construction and implementing that information with discernment abilities and higher-request thinking, the hiring manager additionally expects that the new hire will develop a strong, encompassing, and flexible grasp of the organization.

Importance of Higher Education

Institutions today provide their students with various programs that prepare them to enter different economic areas, assist them with remaining in the work market for long, and keep pace with the changes in the worldwide economy and changes in technological advancements. Innovation and development are driven by advanced education. The majority of enormous universities suggest that students not settle on a space of focus until after their first year, or maybe even their sophomore year. While you might not be sure which employment you are interested in pursuing, you should remain mindful that academic environments are probably the best grounds to examine your options and settle on your choice.

Having the ability to distinguish and deal with issues in an appropriate way is beneficial for both personal and professional activities. This course teaches you basic reasoning skills no matter what you’re learning, from how to approach a scholarly thesis to how to operate a motor.

Higher Education in India needs to be emphasized in a good way. The matter is that it should not be limited to only getting a degree and getting a job. Institutes providing higher education should ensure that focusing on practical and skill based knowledge are quite important in the field. If this can be achieved then we won’t be having corporate slaves, rather than we would be having great leaders and productive candidates who would be delivering their best in their respective fields.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Ans. GB Pant University is the biggest university in India.

Ans. Jawaharlal Nehru University was the first to receive A++ NAAC.

Ans. UGC stands for University Grants Commission.

Ans. Nalanda is considered to be the first University in the world.

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Essay on Privatization of Higher Education in India

August 3, 2019 by Sandeep

500+ Words Essay on Privatization of Higher Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world.” This beautiful thought had been voiced out by Nelson Mandela, and is so true in fact, that it still strikes a chord within us now.

The world cannot progress or change in any way unless the people make a step to do so, and they would not know what step to take or how to take it unless they were educated.

On the basis of size, India has the third largest higher educational system in the world, next to China and to United States. It has grown rapidly after achieving independence.

In terms of the number of educational institutes, India has an upper rank in the world. Even the Constitution of India , under various articles, commands that free and compulsory education be provided to children between the ages of 6 and 14 as a fundamental right.

The Education system in India consists of three phases as funding, philanthropic to public and then to private financing. The changing patterns have altered the regulations, equity, efficiency and quality of higher education. This has led to privatization of education on a large scale.

What is privatization of education?

In India, there are two types of schools – the government owned and aided ones, and the privately owned and managed schools. The government owned schools are not known to provide the standard of education and the excellent facilities available at and offered by the privately owned schools to the students.

Another drawback of the government owned schools is that most wards drop out after just a few years of education. One of the most important causes of this phenomenon is because of the paucity and lack of employment opportunities for the educated youth of India, especially from the rural areas.

Even after receiving a postgraduate degree, most youth must sit at home without a job. If this has to be the case, and the youth get only menial occupation opportunities in spite of being educated, then it is thought to be better to spend school time working instead in that sector and gaining some experience. Education is such a situation becomes more of a method of wasting time and is not given much importance.

Advantages of Privatizing Higher Education

Due to structural adjustment program going on globally, many countries are trying to explore alternative sources other than the public treasury for various development programmes. In the context of higher education, advocacy of private financing has become increasingly common.

It cannot be denied that most private institutes provide much better schooling facilities in comparison to the government owned institutes. In fact, most privately owned institutes specialize in a variety of boards, including ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), or even IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education).

Government schools as a rule specialize only in SSC (Secondary School Certificate). As a result, government owned schools focus on simplified portion, that too often rote learned whereas the latter focuses on practical applications, laboratory experiments and real life skills.

Another reason why government schools are not preferred over private institutes is because of the teachers employed. Most teachers at public schools are given a pittance of a salary and are hence, hardly motivated to work well. When teachers do not report to school, or even stay home from work often, students fail to show up too, learning by example, or simply wasting away their day.

On the other hand, since a lot of students drop out for reasons mentioned before, some teachers feel disillusioned and leave their jobs as well. This leaves the students who are actually willing to learn and motivated to get a true education, in the lurch. In this way, the whole process of education is devalued and reduced to nothing more than a farce.

Another major advantage that private institutes have is that it will end reservations and minority quota forever. At most government owned institutes, more than 50 % of the seats were for minority quota. This seems unfair in several ways.

Disadvantages of Privatizing Higher Education

Although there are a lot of pros to privatizing higher education, it has its fair share of cons too. Most of the higher education institutes in the country are already owned by private individuals. There are very few higher education institutes owned by government.

These private institutes charge inexplicably high amount of fees and only a few of them justify with the amount charged by providing quality education whereas in government institutes fess is low and there are limited number of seats.

Also, admissions in government institutes take place on merit basis but this is not so in private institutes, where admissions are often on the basis of donations to the school.

They are often more professional and profit driven than inclined to be a good place for studying. Privatization of education simply means that government is having less control over the higher education sector and letting the private organizations work with complete autonomy.

Although the quality of education can be more refined, however it still limits the check on these organizations, whose primary aim is not education but simply business that comes at the cost of high-end fees, commercialisation of education and even misuse of power. There is also financial unaccountability, as these centres can then become places for illicit trading of money.

The concept of privatization of higher education is completely against the constitution of India which promises to give everyone equal opportunities without any discrimination. This is true because of the scenario in private institutions where one handful of money buys better access to education.

Somehow, it gives the impression that a son of a farmer cannot dream high or rather, can only stay a farmer. Only the one with an affluent family backing him up and more connections can carve out their path in fields involving higher studies. It leaves the poor with nothing more than unfulfilled dreams. Hence, there will be a degradation in the quantity of graduates.

To quote Bill Gates, “Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”

Education is a task which should consider all around development of alumni whereas private owned educational institutes are only concerned with high standards of behaviour more than moral, ethical, and emotional values. In the real world, there is a greater need for the ethically concerned ones in order to make ourselves comfortable.

Education is not a business as most of the privatized universities seem to practice. It should be all-inclusive, not exclusive. If one has the skills, he/she should be able to pursue their dreams no matter what status he or she belongs to.

Over the past six decades, India made considerable efforts in the field of higher education. Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management have emerged as the institutes of excellence although they are government owned universities.

In order for the higher education of students to improve further, the best way would be for the public and private sector to work together.

Only then they will be able to take in more students and also obtain more funding from the government, which will make their facilities less expensive.

The important task in present scenario is to impart better and quality education. Children are the nation builders of the future and it is necessary to mould them into the good citizens. We need to provide them with the proper tools of education so that they can become the pillar of the nation’s growth.

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Higher Education in India and its Issues Essay (Critical Writing)

Introduction, goals and objectives of the research, methodology, research findings, areas of further study.

The initial project paper provided a basic understanding of some important issues about higher education in India in comparison to the United States, in addition to recommendations for future tertiary education within the country (Singh, 2004). Having done the project, this paper, therefore, provides a summary of the entire project. With this summary, there are some of the methodologies that were applied in the research and an analysis of the research study to evaluate whether the major objectives of the study were met. The research findings were to be used as future measures to ensure that there was better delivery of high education to the Indian population.

The research problem was in line with strengthening of higher education in India. The research study was aimed at providing the basic understanding of some of the important issues about higher education in India in comparison to that of the United States. This research was a comparative study between the education system of the United States and that one of India in order to determine some of the occurring differences and establish the recommendations to be adopted into the Indian situation. This in the long run would be appropriate in improving the quality of education and its deliverance to society (Agarwal, 2006). The major goals of the research were to determine the situation of India’s higher education in general, and how it compares with the higher education system in the United States. The objectives of the research were to determine the provision of education to society and the percentage number of people who have been able to access education. With this general information, the project to be initiated will help in deriving appropriate recommendations and measures that can be undertaken in improving the education to enable economic sustenance in India (Behar, 1992).

In order to ensure that the necessary information collected was of much importance in coming up with appropriate results, the research study adopted a workable methodology. This involved the use of questionnaires that were open-ended in nature. The questionnaires were distributed evenly to different populations to ensure that the information obtained was not biased. Also, a number of education officials in higher institutions of learning were interviewed in order to provide the relevant information on the population that had been able to acquire education through the institution (Mukherjee, 2008). More information was obtained from the country’s higher education websites in order to understand the population’s ratios of those people who had accessed higher education. There was also an objective of establishing which level the people had attained as far as university education was concerned. Using the information obtained from the National Statistics Board, it was possible to understand the education levels of the Indian Population. Information was collected through interviews, from past published information, and also from American and Indian Ministry of Education websites.

From the research, we were able to determine that only less than 10 percent of the 90 million youths have been in a position of accessing higher education in India (Sanat, 2006). The study was also able to give the nature and system of the education system, the number of institutions in the country, how these institutions are run, and how everything compares with that of United States Higher Education. Just to conclude, the country was found to have dubious distinction as one of the highest levels of illiteracy in the world and so it is justifiable to put appropriate measures in place to reduce illiteracy in India (Behar, 1992).

In terms of uniqueness, the study would expose the higher education system in India so that the necessary interventions can be adopted in ensuring that the increased illiteracy levels could be addressed. Having such a big population, India would require a well-managed higher education system that will ensure more and more students are encouraged and provided with higher education since that is the only way through which better lives and economic advancements can be achieved (Neelakantan, 2008). This study, will help me understand some of the major structures and methodologies through which I can comfortably handle any problem through research, and especially in my area of study.

With the study, I would hope to ensure that the truth about the system of Indian higher education is understood so that the necessary measures can be adopted in addressing some of the flaws and weaknesses of the system (India, 2008). With very high illiteracy levels, the study would make the country more focused on ensuring that more and more people are provided with higher education through change of the current policies to do with management and admission into these institutions. This will make education affordable to the largest percentage of the population (Agarwal, 2006). Having successfully finished the research study, it has been able to achieve the goals and objectives that had been initially formulated prior to the study.

If I were to carry out this study again, there would be no much difference with the study since I had applied my very best in all the research strategies which resulted in relevant data. However, should any other individual be willing to undertake a similar study, it would be advised that he or she should adopt a course framework that would ensure that more information is obtained so that all the states of the country are implicated in the final result (Sharma, 2007). There should also be the inclusion of more time so that good results can be obtained (Harman, 1994). Also, it would be necessary that more resources and finances are allocated for the study and be able to come up with the necessary recommendations.

Agarwal, P. (2006) Higher education in India: The need for change. ICRIER Working Paper , 180.

Agarwal, P. (2007). Higher education in India: Growth, concerns, and change agenda. Higher Education Quarterly , 61, 197-207.

Behar, S.C. (1992). India. In Clark, B.R., and Neave, G. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Higher Education . Oxford: Pergamon Press, 304-321.

Harman, G. (1994). Student selection and admission to higher education: policies and practices in the Asian region. Higher Education , 27, 313-334.

Hasan, R. & Mehta, A. (2006). Under-representation of disadvantaged classes in colleges: What do the data tell us? Economic and Political Weekly , 3791-3796.

India, J. (2008). In Encyclopedia Britannica . Web.

Mukherjee, R. (2008). Higher education in India: An overview and opportunities for foreign participation . Centre for Policy Research: India.

Neelakantan, S. (2008). In India: No foreign colleges need apply. The Chronicle of Higher Education , 54, 22.

Sanat, K. (2006). Higher education in India: Seizing the opportunity. Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations .

Singh, A. (2004). Fifty years of higher education in India: The role of the University Grants Commission . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.

Sharma, V. (2007). Indian higher education: Commodification and foreign direct investment. The Marxist , 13(2), 11.

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IvyPanda. (2021, December 10). Higher Education in India and its Issues.

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Higher Education in India: Vision 2047 - The Changing Education Landscape in India

Higher Education in India: Vision 2047 - The Changing Education Landscape in India

  • May 09, 2023, 17:30

India has one of the world's largest higher education systems, ranking second in terms of higher education networks. In India, the word "higher education" refers to the tertiary level education that is provided after 12 years of schooling (10 years of primary education and 2 years of secondary education). The Indian higher education system has expanded significantly, with over 1,000 universities and 42,000+ colleges offering top-notch education. The Indian higher education system is the world's third largest, providing education and training in almost every discipline. From 3.85 crore in 2019–20, the total number of students enrolled in higher education has climbed to about 4.14 crore in 2020–21. The number of students enrolled has increased significantly by almost 72 lakh (21%) from 2014–15.  The top 6 States according to the number of students registered are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. Moreover, the total number of graduates has increased from 94 lakh in 2019–20 to 95.4 lakh in 2020–21. The various infrastructure facilities that are accessible in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in 2020–21 are Libraries (97%), Laboratories (88), Computer Centres (91%, 86% in 2019-20), Skill Development Centres (61%, 58% in 2019-20), and Connection to National Knowledge Network (56%, from 34% in 2019-20). An average of 59 universities were added per year from 2014–15 through 2020–21. During 2007-08 and 2014-15, this number was around 50. Over the next ten years, India will have the highest proportion of young people in the entire world. Our capacity to provide high-quality educational opportunities to our youngsters will determine the destiny of the country. India's public expenditure in the education sector has been 3% of GDP, with the government aiming to boost it to 6%. In order to retain Indian talent and foster economic development in the nation, the government of India is inviting foreign universities to establish campuses in India.

The Landscape of Indian Higher Education The higher education (HE) ecosystem is a driving force in the development of intellectual and social capital in the country as it fosters knowledge, capability, and expertise and nurtures the values essential for a growing economy.  Approximately 79.06% of all students are enrolled in undergraduate-level courses, while 11.5% are enrolled in postgraduate-level courses. At the undergraduate level, enrolment is highest in the arts (33.5%), followed by science (15.5%), commerce (13.9%), and engineering & technology (11.9%). Most of the postgraduate students are enrolled in social science (20.56%), followed by science (14.83%). Moreover, approximately 79.06% of all students are enrolled in undergraduate-level courses, while 11.5% are enrolled in postgraduate-level courses. At the undergraduate level, enrolment is highest in the arts (33.5%), followed by science (15.5%), commerce (13.9%), and engineering & technology (11.9%). The majority of postgraduate students are enrolled in social science (20.56%), followed by science (14.83%). The top 8 States in terms of the highest number of colleges are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat. There are 17 universities (14 of which are state public) and 4,375 colleges that are solely for women. There are 15,51,070 faculty/teachers in total. 61.4% colleges and 43% universities are situated in rural areas. At the undergraduate level, enrolment is highest in the arts (33.5%), followed by science (15.5%), commerce (13.9%), and engineering & technology (11.9%). The majority of postgraduate students are enrolled in social science (20.56%), followed by science (14.83%). Additionally, approximately 79.06% of all students are enrolled in undergraduate-level courses, while 11.5% are enrolled in postgraduate-level courses.

essay on higher education in india

After the pandemic hit in 2020, it paralysed the conventional learning methods including in-person instruction, fundamentally changing the higher education industry. Furthermore, broader trends in the education industry have accelerated, such as shifting student choices, increased need for digital skills, the rise of the educational technology (EdTech) sector, and a widening digital gap.

Types  of HEIs

  • Central Universities

They are established by an Act of Parliament. The Union Government provides funding for the establishment and its operations.

  • State Universities

They are established by a State Assembly Act. The state government largely funds and manages the state universities.

  • Private Universities

They are established by a State Assembly Act. It consists of specialist institutions as well as multidisciplinary research universities.

  • Deemed Universities

These are high-performing institutes that the Central Government has deemed to be of equivalent standing as universities on the advice of the Union Grants Commission (UGC).

  • Institutes of National Importance (INI)

These are famous Indian colleges that are noted for producing highly skilled persons. These are supported by the Government of India and include all IITs, NITs, and AIIMs institutes.

Types  of courses

  • STEM Courses STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. It is a broad phrase referring to all of the courses that provide knowledge in these fields. The goal of STEM courses involves integrated learning and focuses on the actual application of the subjects rather than teaching the four disciplines individually. Successful STEM education includes both theoretical and experimental and research-based learning in addition to classroom instruction. The same is made possible by the well-equipped laboratories of Indian academic institutions, which aid in instilling innovative, competent, and problem-solving abilities in the students.
  • Non- STEM Courses Non-STEM courses are offered in disciplines such as Commerce, Arts, Business Management, Humanities, and Social Affairs. Indian colleges are well equipped to deliver instruction in various fields, where students can obtain competence in the subject of their choice. Non-STEM disciplines, such as humanities, open up a wide range of job prospects where the skills, knowledge, and deeper understanding can be applied. Similarly, degrees in education, accountancy, marketing, English, journalism, language studies, and other fields have a wide range of opportunities. Career opportunities in non-STEM degrees include counsellors, education administrators, teachers, clinical psychologists, art or creative directors, and so on.

 Opportunities and Trends It is crucial to change the educational system (especially higher education) and adapt it to the demands of the constantly changing workplace given how competitive the global market is becoming and the Indian higher education system is stepping up.

  • Anticipating job market trends and identifying learning opportunities Jobs from ten years ago are suddenly becoming obsolete as automation grows. And the jobs that exist today will inevitably change or be entirely replaced by better options. As a result, it becomes imperative to predict industry trends and identify the talents required for them. The Indian higher education system is aiming to provide a hybrid learning environment that combines classroom and online education, better preparing students to learn more on the job and on-site.

essay on higher education in india

  • Creating an engaging and updated curriculum The higher education sector in India is reinventing conventional educational practices by encouraging and promoting classroom digitization along with online learning. With the introduction of tech-enabled learning techniques like smart boards, gaming interventions, and podcasts, curriculums are updated while simultaneously improving accessibility, engagement, and immersion. India is now recognised as the world's ed-tech powerhouse, and digital learning solutions are an essential component of the Indian education ecosystem. Presently, an increasing number of students prefer academic freedom, learning at their own speed, and quick acquisition of skills using on-demand learning materials.
  • Demand for digital skills and non-conventional courses The Indian higher education system has the resources to facilitate the development of digital skill sets, which are essential for being well-prepared for a competitive global market. From the fundamental understanding of productivity applications such as Microsoft Office and Google Workspace to complicated programming, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data processing, students can adapt and prosper in a professional setting.
  • Improving overall GER Education accessibility in any country is often measured in terms of the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). GER assesses educational access by calculating the ratio of people in all age groups enrolled in various programmes to the total population aged 18 to 23 years. Since independence, India has shown massive progress in higher education covering a journey from only 25 universities and 700 colleges in 1947 to over 1000 universities and 40,000 colleges in 2022. Indian higher education institutions must continue to promote higher education by offering scholarships, ease of access, quality, and industry-accepted education to attract students, resulting in more enrolments.


  • High proportion of seats reserved in central universities In Indian central universities, 49.5% of seats are reserved for historically underprivileged communities. The majority of central institutions, however, are unable to fill every seat. While it is critical to provide quality education to all students, regardless of their backgrounds, reserved seats that are vacant should be made available to all students.
  • Focus on quantity over quality Notwithstanding the fact that the number of HEIs in India has more than doubled since independence, 600 (out of 1,043) universities and 25K (out of 40K+) colleges are not accredited.
  • High student-teacher ratio in Indian higher education In Indian universities and colleges, the current student-teacher ratio is 28:11. In other major economies, like China and South Korea, have a higher student-teacher ratio of 18:22.
  • Lack of professional development opportunities Soft-skill development is lacking in both public and private HEIs. Due to a lack of industry collaboration, there is a scarcity of industry expertise and understanding of industry requirements.
  • Limited supply of skilled faculty As of 2020, central universities in states such as Haryana, Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, and Bihar were operating with only 52% of the faculty strength that had been sanctioned.
  • Limited international student inflow and students moving abroad for higher education While just 49K foreign students came to India in 2020, more than 500K Indian students travelled overseas to pursue higher education. The majority of overseas students in India come from nations like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Sudan.

Recent Government Initiatives

  • National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 calls for a variety of initiatives, including fostering research/teaching collaborations and faculty/student exchange with high-quality international higher educational institutions (HEI) and signing of relevant mutually advantageous MOUs with foreign nations; and establishing International Student Office at each HEI to welcome and support students from other countries.
  • IFSCA (International Financial Services Centres Authority) GIFT City (Gujarat International Financial Tech) has permitted top global universities with QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) 500 rankings to establish offline centres in GIFT City, Gujarat, in selected disciplines.
  • Twinning, Joint, and Dual Degree Programs are available by collaboration between Indian and foreign universities under University Grant Commission (UGC) Regulation.
  • Foreign universities will be able to operate physical campuses in India under upcoming regulations from UGC (Setting up and Operating Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Draft Regulations, 2023 (ongoing Public Consultation). These regulations will give foreign universities the freedom to determine their own admissions criteria and tuition rates.
  • The Program for Promotion of Academic and Research Cooperation welcomes talented international academics to help the Indian education system become more competitive.
  • The Global Initiative of Academic Networks seeks to boost the presence of reputable foreign faculty in Indian academic institutions and to further welcome the best minds from around the world to teach there.
  • The Leadership for Academicians Program makes it easier to form alliances with foreign universities to train Indian academics.

Road Ahead The first step in achieving India's HEI targets by 2047 is to restructure higher education institutions (HEI) architecture for a resilient and student-centric ecosystem. The average Indian no longer wants to be confined by old time-bound degrees, and the new regulations must close this gap. In order to give students, the freedom to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, HEI must make skill development a central component of the curriculum. India has been working on a structure that might serve as a gateway for overseas students seeking higher education in the country. Simultaneously, India is also attempting to open avenues for Indian students and scholars to gain foreign exposure. For the next two decades, India's focus will be on expanding education infrastructure and implementing more favourable rules, which might transform India into one of the world's most favoured higher education destinations.

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Continuous efforts are being made to make India a global hub for higher education. Over the last 6 years many structural efforts have been made in higher education. PM Modi on Monday said that several higher education institutes like IITs, IIMs and AIIMS have been established in recent times. The prime minister also lauded the increased participation of girls in higher education.

Indian higher education system :

  • India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, next to the United States and China.
  • Higher Education sector has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of Universities/University level Institutions & Colleges since Independence.
  • Some institutions of India, such as IITs, NITs, IIMs have been globally acclaimed for their standard of education.
  • However Indian higher education is in need of radical reforms.
  • India’s focus on expanding the higher education sector to provide access has led to a situation where research and scholarship have been neglected.
  • The Central government’s slant toward premier institutions has continued ever since the Eleventh Five Year Plan where in spite of a nine-fold increase in Budget allocation State institutions have been left to fend for themselves with funding mainly directed towards starting more premier institutes.
  • Investment by State governments has been also dwindling each year as higher education is a low-priority area . The University Grant Commission’s system of direct releases to State institutions which bypasses State governments also leads to their sense of alienation.
  • There has been a demand to take spending on education to 6% of gross domestic product for decades.
  • The gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education is 24.5 meaning out of every 100 youths eligible for higher education, less than 25 are pursuing tertiary education.
  • Desired levels of research and internationalization of Indian campuses remain weak points
  • Only 1.7% colleges run PhD programmes and a mere 33% colleges run postgraduate-level programmes.
  • The country has a poor record with both the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) being seen more as controllers of education than facilitators.
  • As a regulator of India’s higher education, coordinator of vastly different kinds of institutions, and custodian of standards, the UGC had begun to look ill-equipped.
  • Regulatory bodies with licensing powers hurt the autonomy of professional higher education, leading to serious imbalance in the diarchy they were under, and partitioning general from professional higher education in several crucial areas of knowledge.
  • Privately set-up institutions in medicine, engineering, and other fields created the ground conditions in which strict regulation acquired justification. The power to license led to corruption.
  • The existing model is based on deep and pervasive distrust among regulators over the possibility of universities doing things on their own, and doing it well. The current framework that require universities to be constantly regulated by laws, rules, regulations, guidelines and policies set by the government and the regulatory bodies have not produced the best results.
  • All aspects of academic life, including admission norms, syllabus design, and examination were controlled by the affiliating university.
  • In colleges set up and run by the government, recruitment of faculty was the state government’s prerogative.
  • When certain state governments stopped fresh recruitment altogether and moved over to the practice of hiring contractual or ad hoc teachers, no college could practise autonomy to alleviate its suffering.
  • Autonomy to function through their own structures of governance first began to diminish in many provincial or state universities in the sphere of appointment of vice chancellors. State universities could not resist the imposition by those with political power of poorly qualified and unsuitable individuals as vice chancellors.
  • The vacancy crisis broke the sense of professional community among teachers and their organisations. Even teacher quality was abysmal
  • Additional autonomy granted on the basis of NAAC rating and status in NIRF begs questions about these systems of evaluation. They are neither authentic nor valid. The reason they lack authenticity lies in the processes through which they are derived.
  • The NAAC is based on an inspectorial process. Its reliability suffers from both ends involved in any inspectorial system in our ethos.
  • NIRF’s need arose from India’s poor performance in global ranking systems but the question is if Indian institutions of higher learning were found to be generally too poor to be noticed globally, how would they get any better if ranked among themselves
  • Currently there is a dominant ideology of commercialisation of knowledge and teaching.
  • Higher education is not leading to graduates entering the work sector as the education is not in sync with the needs of the companies.

Measures needed to improve innovation in universities :-

  • Research cannot be improved merely by regulating universities, instead they need efforts to create enabling atmosphere for which it is imperative to grant more autonomy, better funding and new instruments to regulate work ethic.
  • New initiatives like Hackathon, curriculum reform, anytime anywhere learning through SWAYAM, teacher training are all aimed at improving quality. These need to be effectively implemented.
  • As India wants to transform its universities into world class institutions, it must safeguard the interests of young researchers and thousands of temporary faculty members by expediting the permanent appointments in a time-bound framework and transparent manner.
  • Establish world-class multidisciplinary research universities
  • Create a master plan for every state and union territory
  • Each state must establish an integrated higher education master plan to provide an excellent education for all its residents.
  • Attract the best and the brightest talent to be faculty members
  • One of the fundamental changes India must institutionalize is a radically new compensation and incentive structure for faculty members. A flexibility to pay differential salaries based on market forces and merit must be part of this transformation.


  • Thus a complete revamp is needed to meet the present demand and address the future challenge that India is about to face.
  • To reap the diverse culture demographic dividend and to maintain peace and social harmony among them quality education with values are the necessary area to focus.
  • The higher education is facing many challenges as pointed above, most the challenges are difficult but are not impossible to resolve.
  • Our goal to be a world power, the resolving and restructuring of higher education is must, then only we will be able to harness the human potential and resources of nation to the fullest and channelize it for the growth of the
  • Youth is the most important asset for a country their future is the future of the Nation. So, the government must be compelled to provide basic education and skills.

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Education in India – A Detailed Analysis

Last updated on April 21, 2024 by ClearIAS Team


This article is a detailed analysis of the Education System of India.

The post covers various aspects of the problems faced by the Indian Education sector, the Constitutional provisions related to education, and the education policies adopted by modern India.

Also read: Learning Poverty

Table of Contents

History of Education in India

India has a rich tradition of imparting knowledge.

The ‘gurukul’ was a type of education system in ancient India with shishya (students) living with the guru in the same house. Nalanda has the oldest university system of education in the world. Students from across the world were attracted to Indian knowledge systems.

Many branches of the knowledge system had their origin in India. Education was considered a higher virtue in ancient India.

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However, the renaissance and scientific thinking as happened in Europe didn’t happen in India at that time.

The British who took control of the Indian affairs by that time had different priorities. Education in British India initially lagged a lot.

However, later, the British established the modern education system still followed in India. They replaced age-old systems of education in the country with English ways . 

Still, the education system in India needs a lot of reforms.

Also read: Examination System in India

Current Status of Education in India: Data from Census 2011

Literacy Rate Trend in India

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  • Literacy rate in India as per Census 2011:  74%.
  • Literacy rate: Male: 82.1%; Female: 65.5%
  • Kerala tops the rankings, followed by Delhi, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Bihar is the lowest among states, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, etc., however, they are improving their position.
  • Bihar has a literacy rate of 63.8%, and that of women is 53.3%.
  • Literacy rates for both adults as well as youths have increased, still, the absolute number of illiterates in India is as much as India’s population was at the time of independence.
  • The gender gap in terms of literacy began to narrow first in 1991 and the pace has accelerated, however still lags far behind the global female literacy rate of 7% (UNESCO 2015).
  • There are large state variations in the gender gap.
  • However, during 2001 – 2011, the male literacy rate increased by 6 percentage points but female literacy increased by nearly 12 percentage points. Achievement in female literacy in Bihar is noteworthy: from 33% in 2001 to 53% in 2011.
  • Be that as it may, India is still lagging behind the world  literacy rate of 86.3%(UNESCO 2015).  A major group of states lies in the average rank i.e. just above the national level of 64.8 percent.  

Indian Education System: The Present Pyramidal Structure

The Indian education system can broadly be considered as a pyramidal structure:

  • Pre-primary level: 5-6 years of age.
  • Primary (elementary) level: 6-14 years of age. Elementary-level education is guaranteed by our constitution under Article 21 A . For this level, the government has introduced Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) under the Right To Education(RTE) Act.
  • Secondary level: Age group between 14-18. For this level, the government has extended SSA to secondary education in the form of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan .
  • Higher education: generally of three levels: UG→ PG→ MPhil/PhD. To cater to the requirements of higher education, the government has introduced Rashtriya Uchhattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).

Read: Examination System in India

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) related to Education

Goal 4 of SDG : Education for all – ensures equitable, inclusive, and quality education along with the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.

Provisions in the Indian Constitution related to Education

  • Under  Article 45 in DPSP , it was mentioned that the government should provide free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years within 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution. As this was not achieved, Article 21A was introduced by  the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002 , making elementary education a fundamental right rather than a directive principle. Article 45 was amended to provide for early childhood care and education to children below the age of six years.
  • To implement Article 21A, the government legislated the RTE Act. Under this act, SSA – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – got a further impetus. SSA aims to provide Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time-bound manner.
  • SSA has been operational since 2000-2001. Its roots go back to 1993-1994 when the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was launched. However, under the RTE Act, it got legal backing.

RTE Act 2009

  • 86th Amendment Act 2002 introduced Article 21-A, which provides for free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right.
  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act was enacted to implement this fundamental right.

Provisions of the RTE Act

  • ‘Compulsory education’ means an obligation of the government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance, and completion of  elementary education.
  • Provision for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age-appropriate class.
  • Rational deployment of teachers, ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in their postings.
  • Prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than services like decennial census, elections, etc.
  • It prohibits (a) physical punishment and mental harassment (b) screening procedures for admission of children (c) capitation fees (d) private tuition by teachers (e) running of schools without recognition.
  • Development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the constitution, ensuring all-around development of the child, building a system of child-friendly and child-centered learning.
  • To further inclusiveness, 25% reservation is provided for disadvantaged students in private schools.

Criticisms of the RTE Act

  • Even though the RTE + SSA have increased access to schools, resulting in a high enrollment rate, dropout rates increased in tandem. However, there is inadequate attention given to this scenario.
  • There is a fear of financial burden on the government for teacher recruitment and training.
  • The grey area of teacher transfer is also not helping the cause.
  • Since all state holidays are not relevant for all localities, such a calendar preparation by local authorities can increase attendance and can also encourage local panchayats to take ownership of schools.
  • RTE students in private schools are paying extra fees as the schools claim that the government fund provided for the same is not adequate.
  • Most private schools treat RTE as charity and demand that the onus of universalizing education should be on the government’s head rather than putting pressure on them.
  • 70% of students are in government schools. So it must be fixed in priority, by providing infrastructure , teacher quality , and targeted   learning  for children from  disadvantaged  groups to provide an equitable education system.
  • Under the RTE Act, till class 8, students should not be failed in exams. This is called the No detention policy. It had reduced dropout rates.
  • There is growing criticism of the policy resulting in reducing the quality of elementary education. Hence the RTE Act was amended to scrap the policy.
  • RTE Act prioritized schooling of children only from the age of 6, thus ignoring pre-school education. Kothari Commission had recommended the establishment of a center for the development of pre-primary education in each district.
  • District Information System for Education (DISE) report states that 30% of primary and 15% of upper primary schools have higher PTRs.
  • According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, the PTR at the national level for primary schools is 23 and 27 for secondary schools. Thus PTR appears to be satisfactory, as there are sufficient teachers. However, the main issue is a balanced deployment of teachers based on student strength.
  • Even though the Student-Classroom ratio (SCR) improved in almost all of the States, there is disparity across the country.

Modern Education in India: The Evolution of the System through various policies

The British government had introduced modern education in India. From Macaulay’s minutes to Wood’s dispatch to several commissions like the Sadler Commission, 1904 Indian education policy, etc. built the foundation of the Indian education system during the colonial period.

Radhakrishnan committee

In 1948-49, the University Education Commission was constituted under Radhakrishnan . It molded the education system based on the needs of an independent India. The pre-Independent Indian education value system was catering to colonial masters. There was a need to replace Macaulayism  with the Indian value system.  ( Macaulayism is the policy of eliminating indigenous culture through the planned substitution of the alien culture of a colonizing power via the education system). Some of the values mentioned in the commission were:

  • Wisdom and Knowledge 
  • Aims of the Social Order : the desired social order for which youths are being educated.
  • Love for higher values in life
  • Training for Leadership

The Independent Indian education system developed along the lines of this value framework. In the present times, where there are imminent threats of political ideologies hijacking the pedagogy of education and commercialization of education eroding value systems, it is appreciable to dust off the values promulgated by the commission. A recent controversial circular by the Central University of Kerala (CUK), directing that research topics for Ph.D. students must be by ‘national priorities’, and research in ‘irrelevant topics’ and ‘privilege areas’ must be discouraged, is a case in point.

Kothari commission

If the Radhakrishnan committee charted out the value system of the Indian education system, it was the Kothari Commission that provided the basic framework of the same. The commission provided for:

  • Standardization of educational system on 10+2+3 pattern.
  • Emphasized the need to make work experience and social/national service an integral part of education.
  • Linking of colleges to several schools in the neighborhood.
  • Equalization of opportunities to all and to achieve social and national integration .
  • Neighborhood school system without social or religious segregation and a s chool complex system integrating  primary and secondary levels of education.
  • Establishment of Indian Education Service.
  • On-the-job training of the teaching staff and efforts to raise the status of the teachers to attract talents into the profession.
  • To raise expenditure on education from 2.9% of the GDP to 6% by 1985.

This committee report paved the way for the National Educational Policy 1968 which provided the base and roadmap for further development of the education system in India.

National Educational Policy 1968

  • The policy provided for “radical restructuring” and  equalization of educational opportunities to achieve national integration and greater cultural and economic development.
  • Increase public expenditure on education to 6% of GDP.
  • Provide for better training and qualification of teachers.
  • Three-language formula : state governments should implement the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi-speaking states, and of Hindi along with the regional language and English in the non-Hindi-speaking states. Hindi was encouraged uniformly to promote a common language for all Indians.

National Educational Policy 1985

  • The policy aimed at the removal of disparities and to equalize educational opportunities, especially for women, SC and ST.
  • Launching of “Operation Blackboard”  to improve primary schools nationwide.
  • IGNOU, the Open University, was formed.
  • Adoption of the “rural university” model , based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote economic and social development at the grassroots level in rural India.

T.S.R.Subramanium committee report

  • ECCE is inconsistent across states. So all government schools should have facilities for pre-primary education, which would facilitate pre-school education by the government instead of the private sector.
  • The policy of no detention should be upheld only till class five and not till class eight.
  • There is a steep rise in teacher shortage, absenteeism, and grievances.
  • Need to constitute an Autonomous Teacher Recruitment Board.
  • Four years integrated B.Ed. the course should be introduced.
  • There is an inadequate integration of information technology (IT) and the education sector.
  • The National Skills Qualification Framework should be scaled up.
  • The choice of vocational courses should be in line with local opportunities and resources . 
  • Bringing formal certification for vocational education at par with conventional education certificates.
  • All India Education Service.
  • Existing separate laws governing individual regulators in higher education should be replaced by the said act.
  • The role of existing regulatory bodies like UGC and AICTE should be revised.
  • National Accreditation Board (NAB) subsuming the existing accreditation bodies.

Kasturirangan Report On School Education (Draft National Education Policy)

For restructuring the education system in India, the government is preparing to roll out a New Education Policy that will cater to Indian needs in the 4th Industrial Revolution by making use of its demographic dividend. Committee for Draft National Education Policy (chaired by Dr. K. Kasturirangan) submitted its report on May 31, 2019.

You can read about the National Education Policy 2020 in detail here .

School Education: 

  • Low accessibility.
  • The curriculum doesn’t meet the developmental needs of children.
  • Lack of qualified and trained teachers.
  • Substandard pedagogy.
  • Currently, most early childhood education is delivered through anganwadis and private preschools. However, there has been less focus on the educational aspects of early childhood.
  • Guidelines for up to three-year-old children.
  • Educational framework for three to eight-year-old children.
  • This would be implemented by improving and expanding the Anganwadi system and co-locating anganwadis with primary schools.
  • Expanding the ambit of the Act to all children between the ages of three to 18 years, thus including early childhood education and secondary school education.
  • There should be no detention of children till class eight. Instead, schools must ensure that children are achieving age-appropriate learning levels.
  • The current structure of school education is to be restructured based on the development needs of students.
  • 10+2+3 structure to be replaced by 5-3-3-4 design comprising: (i) five years of foundational stage (three years of pre-primary school and classes one and two), (ii) three years of preparatory stage (classes three to five), (iii) three years of middle stage (classes six to eight), and (iv) four years of secondary stage (classes nine to 12).
  • The current education system solely focuses on rote learning. The curriculum load should be reduced to its essential core content.
  • Force students to concentrate only on a few subjects.
  • Do not test learning in a formative manner.
  • Cause stress among students.
  • To track students’ progress throughout their school experience, State Census Examinations in classes three, five, and eight should be established.
  • Restructure the board examinations to test only the core concept. These board examinations will be on a range of subjects. The students can choose their subjects and the semester when they want to take these board exams. The in-school final examinations may be replaced by these board examinations.
  • Although establishing primary schools in every habitation has increased access to education, it has led to the development of very small schools making it operationally complex. Hence the multiple public schools should be brought together to form a school complex .
  • A complex will consist of one secondary school (classes nine to twelve) and all the public schools in its neighborhood that offer education from pre-primary to class eight.
  • These will also include anganwadis, vocational education facilities, and an adult education center.
  • Each school complex will be a semi-autonomous unit providing integrated education across all stages from early childhood to secondary education.
  • This will ensure that resources such as infrastructure and trained teachers can be efficiently shared across a school complex.
  • A steep rise in a teacher shortage, lack of professionally qualified teachers, and deployment of teachers for non-educational purposes have plagued the system.
  • Teachers should be deployed with a particular school complex for at least five to seven years.
  • They will not be allowed to participate in any non-teaching activities during school hours.
  • Existing B.Ed. the program will be replaced by a four-year integrated B.Ed. program that combines high-quality content, pedagogy, and practical training. An integrated continuous professional development will also be developed for all subjects.
  • Separating the regulation of schools from aspects such as policymaking, school operations, and academic development.
  • Independent State School Regulatory Authority for each state will prescribe basic uniform standards for public and private schools.
  • The Department of Education of the State will formulate policy and conduct monitoring and supervision.

Higher Education

  • According to the All India Survey on Higher Education , the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India has increased from 20.8% in 2011-12 to 25.8% in 2017-18. Lack of access is a major reason behind the low intake of higher education. The policy aims to increase GER to 50% by 2035.
  • Multiple regulators with overlapping mandates reduce the autonomy of higher educational institutions and create an environment of dependency and centralized decision-making.
  • The National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA) should replace the existing individual regulators in higher education. Thus the role of all professional councils such as AICTE would be limited to setting standards for professional practice. The role of the UGC will be limited to providing grants.
  • Separate the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) from the UGC into an independent and autonomous body. It will function as the top-level accreditor and will issue licenses to different accreditation institutions. All existing higher education institutions should be accredited by 2030.
  • Replacing the current system of establishing higher educational institutions by Parliament or state legislatures. Instead, institutions can be set up through a Higher Education Institution Charter from NHERA.
  • Research universities focus equally on research and teaching.
  • Universities focus primarily on teaching.
  • Colleges focus only on teaching at undergraduate levels.
  • All such institutions will gradually move towards full autonomy.
  • Total investment in research and innovation in India has declined from 0.84% of GDP in 2008 to 0.69% in 2014. India also lags behind many nations in the number of researchers, patents, and publications.
  • NRF will act as an autonomous body for funding, mentoring, and building the capacity for quality research.
  • Undergraduate programs should be made interdisciplinary by redesigning their curriculum to include: a common core curriculum; and one/two area(s) of specialization.
  • Introduce four-year undergraduate programs in Liberal Arts.
  • By the next five years, five Indian Institutes of Liberal Arts must be set up as model multidisciplinary liberal arts institutions.
  • Poor service conditions and heavy teaching loads, augmented by a lack of autonomy and no clear career progression system, have resulted in low faculty motivation.
  • Introduction of a Continuous Professional Development program and permanent employment track system for faculty in all higher education institutions by 2030.
  • The student-teacher ratio of not more than 30:1 must be ensured.
  • All higher education institutions must have complete autonomy on curricular, pedagogical, and resource-related matters.

Read: Institutions of Eminence Scheme

Additional Key Focus Areas:

Additional key focus areas are (1) Technology in Education (2) Vocational Education (3) Adult Education and (4) the Promotion of Indian Languages.

Technology in Education

  • Improving the classroom process of teaching, learning, and evaluation
  • Aiding teacher training.
  • Improving access to education.
  • Improving the overall planning, administration, and management of the entire education system.
  • Electrification of all educational institutions paves the way for technology induction.
  • An autonomous body, the National Education Technology Forum, set up under the Mission, will facilitate decision-making on the use of technology.
  • Single online digital repository to make available copyright-free educational resources in multiple languages.

Vocational Education

  • Less than 5% of the workforce in the age group of 19-24 receives vocational education in India, in contrast to 52% in the USA, 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea.
  • Vocational courses : All school students must receive vocational education in at least one vocation in grades 9 to 12.
  • Higher Education Institutions must offer vocational courses that are integrated into undergraduate education programs.
  • The draft Policy targets to offer vocational education to up to 50% of the total enrolment in higher education institutions by 2025, up from the present level of enrolment of below 10%.
  • National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education for charting out plans for the above objectives.

Adult Education

As per Census 2011, India had a total of 26.5 crore adult non-literate (15 years and above).

  • Establishing an autonomous  Central Institute of Adult Education as a constituent unit of NCERT. It will develop a National Curriculum Framework for adult education.
  • Adult Education Centers will be included within the school complexes.
  • Relevant courses are made available at the National Institute of Open Schooling.
  • National Adult Tutors Programme to build a cadre of adult education instructors and managers.

Education and Indian Languages

  • The medium of instruction must be the mother tongue until grade 5, and preferably until grade 8.
  • 3 language formula be continued and flexibility in the implementation of the formula should be provided. Implementation of the formula needs to be strengthened, particularly in Hindi-speaking states. Schools in Hindi-speaking areas should also teach Indian languages from other parts of India for national integration.
  • To promote Indian languages, a National Institute for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit will be set up.
  • The mandate of the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology will be expanded to include all fields and disciplines to strengthen vocabulary in Indian languages.

Transforming Education

The policy talked about the synergistic functioning of India’s education system, to deliver equity and excellence at all levels, from vision to implementation, led by a new Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog.

Education Governance

Revitalize education governance by bringing in synergy and coordination among the different ministries, departments, and agencies.

  • Constitute the National Education Commission or Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog, as an apex body for education headed by the Prime Minister. It would be responsible for developing, implementing, evaluating, and revising the vision of education and overseeing the implementation and functioning of bodies including the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Higher Education Regulatory Authority, and National Research Foundation.
  • The Ministry of Human Resources and Development must be renamed the Ministry of Education to bring the focus back on education.

Financing Education

  • The Draft Policy reaffirmed the commitment to spending 6% of GDP as a public investment in education.
  • The draft Policy seeks to double the public investment in education from the current 10% of total public expenditure to 20% in the next 10 years. 5% will be utilized for higher education, 2% in school education, and 1.4% for early childhood care and education.
  • There should be optimal and timely utilization of funds through the institutional development plans and by plugging loopholes in the disbursement of funds.

Criticism of the New Education Policy of India

  • The New Education Policy lacks operational details.
  • It is not clear from where the funding will be sourced.
  • Enough importance is not given to innovation, startup culture or economic principles to be added to the curriculum.
  • One-size-fits for all states can’t be a solution as each state in India is diverse in its educational needs. Controversy on NEET has shown this.
  • With technological advancement and the democratization of knowledge, the policy should have focused more on how to teach rather than what to teach.
  • Economic Survey 2017-18 mentioned the perils of the distinction between research institutions and universities in higher education. The policy recommendation of three distinct higher education institutions of research universities, teaching universities, and teaching colleges will further augment the gap between research and universities.
  • The draft policy is silent on the Institutions of Eminence and agencies like the Higher Education Funding Agency.
  • The role of Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog should be defined clearly. What would be its role vis-a-vis existing regulators? Also, there are criticisms from some quarters that RSA will open the door to the politicization of education.
  • Earlier the 3-language formula proposed by the draft policy made Hindi compulsory in non-Hindi speaking states. However, after the furor, the proposal was removed.
  • Even though the policy talks about bringing “unrepresented groups” into school and focusing on educationally lagging “ special education zones” , it doesn’t comprehensively address the inequalities prevalent in the system. It misses methods to bridge the gaps between rich and poor children.
  • The policy proposes to remove the provision mandating that primary schools be within stipulated distance from students’ homes and common minimum infrastructure and facility standards that should be met by all schools. If a common minimum standard is not specified, it will create an environment where quality in some schools will fall further thus augmenting the inequalities between schools across the country.

India’s education history is rich with ambitious policies failing at the altar of inadequate implementation of the same. In the absence of a handholding mechanism for states to embark on the path-breaking reforms mentioned in the policy and that too in a short time, will be too much to ask.

Funding requirements and governance architecture pose major challenges in the implementation of the policy. Political commitment is required to increase funding. RTE Act expansion to include preschool should keep in mind the present infrastructure inadequacies and teacher vacancies.

Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog may face administrative problems and turf battles. Also, it will raise questions on the role of new bodies like the National Medical Council.

The recent controversy on 3 language formula shows the sensitivity of language education in India and care should be taken to appreciate the emotional overtures while implementing the same.

Politically acceptability, social desirability, technological feasibility, financial viability, administratively doability, and judicially tenability are 6 pillars that will impact the implementation of the policy.

Be that as it may, the new education policy aims to address the challenges of (i) access, (ii) equity, (iii) quality, (iv) affordability, and (v) accountability faced by the current education system. It aims to revitalize and equip the education system to meet the challenges of the 21st century and 4th industrial revolution rather than catering to 19th and 20th century needs of industrialization. Also, India is on the cusp of a demographic dividend, rather than entered into this phase. So the education system catering to these needs is not a luxury that we hope for but rather a dire need at this moment in Indian history.

The Problems associated with the Education System in India

HRD ministry: Over 1.4 million schools and 50,000 higher educational institutions are operating in India. Out of 907 universities, there are 399 state universities, 126 deemed-to-be universities, 48 central and 334 private universities.

  • Even after more than a hundred years of “ Gokhale’s Bill”1911, where universal primary education was originally mooted, India is yet to achieve this goal.
  • China had achieved it in the 1970s. As per Census 2011, over 26% of India’s population is still illiterate, compared to 4% in China. About 50% of India’s population has only primary education or less, compared to 38% in China. The 13% of the population with tertiary education at the upper end in India is comparable with China.
  • Progress has been made in respect of female participation up to secondary level and GER for girls has exceeded that of boys.
  • But the girl’s enrollment rate is lower than that of boys at the higher education level.
  • A gap is visible across social categories in terms of enrollment rate at the higher education level.
  • According to NSSO’s 71st round (2014), drop-out rates are very high for boys at the secondary school level. Reasons for the same are economic activities, lack of interest in education, and financial constraints.
  • The transition rate from secondary school to senior secondary and further to higher education is very low.

Despite these highly ambitious education policies and elaborate deliberations on the same, the outcomes are rather shaky. Major criticisms and shortcomings of these policies and their implementations are:

  • Half the population is crowded at the bottom, either illiterate or with only primary education. Meanwhile, a disproportionately large segment is at the upper end with tertiary education.
  • The 2015 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) reflects this deteriorating quality. The report opines that deficits in foundational reading and arithmetic skills are   cumulative, which leaves students grossly   handicapped for further education .
  • India had fared poorly in the Programme for International Student Assessment  (PISA) test in 2008, and 09.
  • Education policies in India are focused on inputs rather than on learning outcomes.
  • Teacher shortages.
  • Local politics.
  • Corruption in teacher appointment.
  • Defects in teacher training.
  • Socio-cultural factors like caste division, and cynical attitude towards the teaching profession.
  • There is no accountability, as there is a guaranteed lifetime job independent of performance.
  • From 1952-2012 , education expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure increased from 7.92 to 11.7, and as a percentage of GDP increased from 0.64 to 3.31. But it has still not reached 6% of GDP, as was recommended by the Kothari Commission way back in 1964.
  • Expenditure by the government on elementary education is more than tertiary level, but expenditure per student is more in tertiary. So there is a need to increase expenditure in all segments.
  • All India survey on higher education has shown that in West Bengal Muslim students in universities are very low. Lack of education at the primary and secondary levels is said to be the main reason.
  • Even though Article 15(4),(5) provides reservations for SC, ST, and OBC in higher education institutions , the Economic Survey 2018-19 points out their inadequate representation in these institutions.
  • The suicide of Rohit Vemula, a Ph.D. scholar at the University of Hyderabad, in 2016 had brought forward the discrimination still existing in these institutions.
  • Also, the representation of teachers at these levels is skewed against the backward class in spite of reservations. Article 16(4) provides for reservations of backward class in jobs.
  • At the school level, poor children are primarily concentrated in government schools. The poor quality of government schools thus disproportionately affects these children and creates a vicious cycle of illiteracy.
  • At the higher education level, the situation is more critical. One reason for the introduction of the National Medical Commission Bill is to curb the exorbitant fees charged by medical colleges.
  • Youths coming out of the higher education system in India are not employable, as they lack relevant industry-level skills.
  • India’s long-standing neglect of primary and secondary education has limited access to quality basic education. No skill development program can succeed without an underlying foundation of basic education.
  • National Policy on  Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 (PMKVY) has shown disappointing results.
  • Budget 2019-20  stated that the government enables about 10 million youth to take up industry-relevant skill training through the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). The  Budget has also increased focus on  ‘new-age skills’  like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, and Robotic.
  • Currently, B Tech courses in AI are offered mostly in premier institutions only.
  • The budget 2019-20 proposed the National Sports Education Board for the development of sportspersons under the  Khelo India program (2017).

Now we will look at each rung of the education ladder in India.

Early childhood education

  • Early childhood education (ECE) is needed for  cognitive development in the early stage.
  • Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)  has a component for providing ECE through Anganwadis . But lack of effective regulation in this sector is eroding the quality of ECE.
  • There is a National Early Childhood Care and Education Policy 2013 . However, the policy has not been properly implemented.
  • There are multiple service providers but there is no clarity in the types of services provided.
  • The sprawling of an unregulated private channel, both organized and unorganized, which is also spreading to rural areas, has led to inequitable access, uneven quality, and commercialization of ECE.
  • Both Anganwadis and private schools focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic rather than cognitive and conceptual development.
  • There is a decline in the quality and training of teachers.
  • S.R. Subramanian’s committee report has brought focus to the quality deterioration in this sector.

Primary level

  • There is an increasing trend of parents choosing private schools for the primary level. However, there is variable quality in private schools. Also, fees vary from school to school and are on the higher side.
  • Eschew rigid curricula and make them more cognitive and flexible. There should be a broader cognitive approach than rote learning.
  • There is a need for activity-based learning. Teachers should teach at the right level, rather than teaching for the average learner.
  • The government has launched Padhe Bharat Bade Bharat –  targeting early reading and writing. The twin-track  approach of comprehension and math is the main focus.
  • There is a supply-side problem . The government is pumping funds through government schools thus increasing the number of schools and thus enrollment. However, quality and inclusiveness have dropped and dropout rates increased. These lead to poor learning outcomes.

School Complex

  • RTE and SSA have resulted in over-access but low-quality primary-level education. Now the aim should be to integrate these into school complexes, as mentioned by the Kasturirangan committee report, thus rationalizing the number of schools in an area.
  • The ‘Adarsh’ integrated school system of Rajasthan is an example of a school complex system . Here one school provides classes from l to XII under one principal. There is one such school in every gram panchayat.
  • This is an efficient way to solve teacher shortages and also to address the shortages of secondary schools. It can also address the problem of resource scarcity by integrating and rationalizing resources.
  • Inclusive learning can be furthered through school.
  • Also, these complexes can act as a pivot around which new reforms in education can be implemented.

Secondary level

ASER Rural 2017: In 2017, ASER changed the age group of the survey from primary level to secondary level. The report mentions the following:

  • Enrollment is low in this age group. There is a high digital divide at this level. Low quality also persists at this level. There is a high amount of absenteeism as well.
  • There is a need to expand RTE to cover the 14-18 age groups.
  • To realize the demographic dividend, skill education for these groups is necessary.

Economic Survey 2018-19 points out that Indian demography is changing and it requires more quality secondary education system rather than merely an increasing number of primary-level schools.

Private fees

  • The vagueness in the judgment regarding ‘reasonable surplus’ and ‘commercialization’ of education has watered down the outcome of the judgment.
  • There are state laws for capping fees. However, implementation problems and litigation make them ineffective.
  • CAG report mentioned misreporting and mismanagement by private schools. So laws should address this problem through stricter inspection, penalties, etc.

Higher education

There is an increasing number of higher education institutions but their quality is questionable, effectively making ‘islands of excellence amidst the sea of mediocrity. Increased accessibility to a low-quality higher education system has made democratization of mediocrity.

Raghuram Rajan, the ex-RBI governor, argued that India needs idea factories and universities by leveraging India’s inherent strengths like tolerance, diversity, etc. He said that there is a need for strong accreditation agencies and continuing education.

Problems of the higher education system in India

  • There is a dual problem of both quality and quantity. The gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education is only 24.5.
  • Even though education policy had an elitist bias in favor of higher education, the state of the same is much worse than the state of school education. Unlike school education, there is no national survey of the learning levels of college students.
  • The desired levels of research and internationalization of Indian campuses remain weak points.
  • Also, there is a low philanthropic investment in this sector. This creates an exclusive dependency on government funding by universities. This, in turn, reduces the autonomy and vision of these universities.
  • Privatization of higher education has not been led by philanthropy but the commercial interest that does not have a symbiotic relationship with the vision of universities.
  • These have led to inadequate human capacity, shoddy infrastructure, and weak institutions. Recommendations of the Narayana Murthy committee,  on the role of the corporate sector in higher education, have not been implemented and thus channeling of CSR funds to higher education remains inadequate.
  • Banks and financial institutions are not giving adequate attention to this area. Giving PSL status to these institutions can be considered.
  • Indian higher education system is of a linear model with very little focus on specialization.
  • UGC and AICTE act more as controllers of education than facilitators.
  • Due to the mushrooming of colleges at a higher rate since the 1980s , there is a regulatory sprawl in higher education.
  • Poor governance , with mindless  over-regulation , is widespread in this sector. Educational institutions responded to this with claims of academic and institutional autonomy for themselves, which was mostly a smokescreen for a culture of sloth in these institutions.
  • There is a concentration of powers, as these regulatory institutions control all aspects like accreditation, curriculum setting, professional standard-setting, funding, etc.
  • Compartmentalization and fragmentation of the knowledge system.
  • Disconnect with society.
  • Overemphasis on entrance tests.
  • Absence of innovation in learning methods.
  • Corrosion of autonomy of universities.
  • For long basic disciplines across the physical and social sciences and humanities were ignored.
  • However, the Economic Survey 2017-18 mentioned that there is an increase in Ph.D. enrolment in India in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) due to efforts by the government to increase the number and quantum of fellowships. However, there are still fewer researchers in India in comparison to other countries.
  • Budget 2019-20 proposes ‘Study in India’  with a focus on bringing foreign students to higher educational institutions in India to make India a “hub of higher education.”
  • Higher education institutions are used as rewards for loyalists and channels of graft by political parties in power.
  • Indian higher education system is plagued by unregulated and shoddy coaching institutions. The coaching industry makes around Rs. 24000 crores a year in India. Proper regulation of the same is required.

Research and development (R&D)

Economic Survey 2017-18 stated: “To transform from net consumer to net producer of knowledge, India should invest in educating its youth in science and mathematics, reform the way R&D is conducted, engage the private sector and the Indian diaspora, and take a more mission-driven approach in areas such as dark matter, genomics, energy storage, agriculture, and mathematics and cyber-physical systems”.

  • Although Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) is consistently increasing, as a fraction of GDP it has been stagnant between 0.6-0.7  percent of GDP over the past two decades.
  • The universities play a relatively small role in the research activities in India. There is a disconnection between research institutes and universities. This results in the compartmentalization of research activities and teaching into two separate silos.
  • The  separation of research from teaching leads to a situation where universities  have students but need additional faculty support, while research institutes have qualified faculty but are starved of young students.
  • India was, at one point, spending more on R&D as a percentage of GDP than countries like China – but currently, India under-spends on R&D.
  • Doubling of R&D spending is necessary and much of the increase should come from the private sector and universities.

The need of the hour

  • It is imperative to improve math and cognitive skills at the school level to make a difference at a higher level.
  • There is a need to expand R&D in India and to go beyond paper presentations and patents to a broader contribution of providing value for society.
  • There is also a need to encourage Investigator-led Research for funding science research.  Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) 2008,  a statutory body of DST, is a step in the right direction.
  • 50:50 partnerships with SERB for industry-relevant research under the Ucchatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) is the right way to go forward.
  • It would strengthen state universities and provide knowledge in areas specific to a state.
  • National Research Foundation,  to fund, coordinate, and promote research at the college level, is proposed by the Kasturirangan report. It is reiterated in Budget 2019-20 : NRF will ensure the overall research ecosystem in the country is strengthened with a focus on areas relevant to national priorities without duplication of effort and expenditure. The funds available with all Ministries will be integrated into NRF.
  • Link national labs to universities and create new knowledge ecosystems. Together they can link up with the commercial sectors and help develop industrial clusters.
  • National Mission on Dark Matter
  • National Mission on Genomics
  • National Mission on Energy Storage Systems
  • National Mission on Mathematics
  • National Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems
  • National Mission on Agriculture
  • Ramanujan Fellowship Scheme.
  • Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research ( INSPIRE ) Faculty Scheme.
  • Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship.
  • Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty Scheme ( VAJRA ).
  • Improve the culture of research thus ‘ ease of doing research’. There is a need for less hierarchical governance systems that encourage risk-taking and curiosity in the pursuit of excellence.
  • Greater public engagement of the science and research establishment is needed. A greater effort at science communication  is needed.

Government initiatives on higher education

The government is trying to revitalize the Indian higher education system and for this many initiatives have been launched. Let’s discuss the importance of them.

National Testing Agency (NTA) 2017

  • NTA was set up for conducting entrance exams in higher educational institutions. It is based on the recommendations of the Ashok Mishra committee on IIT entrance 2015.
  • It will conduct JEE, NEET, National Eligibility Test (NET), Common Management Admission Test (CMAT), and Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT).
  • It will provide diversity and plurality in higher education. It will also ensure independence and transparency in conducting the exams.
  • However, it should be ensured that the computer-based test should not lead to further exploitation of rural students.
  • NEET stands for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test . It is for admissions in medical courses by replacing a plethora of medical entrance tests with one national-level test.
  • Supreme Court had said that NEET should be the sole basis for admission to medical courses.
  • There is a controversy about whether urban and CBSE students will dominate NEET. The government should pay heed to this criticism.
  • In Tamil Nadu doctors serving in rural areas get weightage in PG admission. NEET will effectively dislodge this system.
  • This controversy brought forward the conflict between the fair and transparent system of admission to curb the commercialization of medical education and the socioeconomic goals of the state, which in the case of Tamil Nadu includes ensuring enough doctors for rural areas.
  • Controversy on NEET has brought the following question to the limelight: should uniformity be thrust upon a country with such vast disparity and diversity? The political leadership should iron out the differences and produce a suitable admission policy. This task should not be left to the judiciary.
  • Be that as it may, states can’t remain insulated from the need to upgrade their education standard.

RUSA: Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan 2013

  • About 94 % of students in higher education study in 369 State universities, whereas less than 6% of students study in 150 Centrally-funded institutions.
  • 11th 5-year plan  (2007-12) opined that the center’s bias towards premier central institutions had skewed funding for these institutions mainly and thus neglected state-level institutions.
  • State investment in higher education was declining. UGC’s system of direct release of funds to State institutions bypassing State governments also leads to a sense of alienation for the states.
  • RUSA tried to correct this bias. The scheme aims at financing state institutions concerning their governance and performance.
  • RUSA has shown the result in increasing the performance of state institutions and changing the way regulators function for the good. State Higher Education Council(SHEC)  made medium-long-term state perspective plans.
  • Cabinet in 2018 decided to continue the scheme. A renewed focus by the center on RUSA will be a success only if it is impartially administered and states are willing to heed the advice of SHEC.

HECI: Higher Education Commission of India bill

  • On the recommendation of the Yashpal Committee 2010 for renovation and rejuvenation of higher education, the National Commission on Higher Education and Research bill was introduced but was not passed.
  • HECI was proposed to act as an overarching regulator of higher education by replacing UGC, which will maintain academic standards, approve new educational institutions, etc. but with no funding powers.
  • Draft Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill, 2018 was introduced in 2018. Budget 2019-20 proposed to bring a bill on HECI this year.
  • The draft bill had separated funding and placed it under MHRD. This was criticized for the fear of increasing political control and reducing the autonomy of universities.

IoE: Institutions of Eminence 2017

  • Around 2005, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings started, and in 2009 the Academic Ranking of World Universities started. From India, only the Indian Institute of Science was included in the top 500 every year. This prompted the government to introduce NIRF and IoE.
  • Under IoE, UGC was tasked to select 10 government universities and 10 private ones as IoE. These would be given autonomy in operations.
  • Selected government institutions would be provided with ₹1,000 crore over five years.
  • The IoE tag is expected to help them achieve the world’s top 500 higher education institutions in a decade and later into the top 100.
  • Institutes among the top 50 in the National Institute Ranking Framework rankings or in the top 500 in international ratings were eligible.
  • The model for the sector remains dependent on state patronage.
  • Entry into the global education race could now become an overriding concern when many systemic issues are plaguing the sector.
  • Funding only for public institutions is discriminatory.
  • Humanities institutions were neglected.
  • Transparency in the selection process, and the public sharing of benchmarks and guidelines. The furor over the selection of Jio Institute, even before it functioned, had attracted many eyeballs and criticisms.
  • Separate category to include sectoral institutions like IIM.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2015

NIRF is a methodology adopted by the MHRD to rank higher education institutions in India.

  • NIRF is common for public and private institutions as well as state and central institutions. Comparison of state-level colleges with central and private colleges may lead to a vicious cycle of low funding, poor performance, and low ranks among state-level institutions because of the resource gap.
  • So performance index values should be normalized concerning investments and resources that have gone into that institution. Also should consider making another ranking system for state-level institutions.

HEFA: Higher Education Financing Agency 2018

Introduced in Budget 2018-19, HEFA is a joint venture of MHRD and Canara Bank

  • With an initial capital base of Rs 1,000 crores, it will act as a not-for-profit organization that will leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations and CSR funds. These funds will be used to finance improvement in infrastructure in top institutions.
  • It has been tasked with raising ₹1 lakh crore to finance infrastructure improvements in higher education by 2022.

 Foreign Education Providers Bill 2013 

  • There is no account of programs delivered by foreign universities in India. Inadequate regulation has led to low-quality courses offered in this sector.
  • The foreign Institution bill was not been able to pass in Parliament. However,

EQUIP report has mentioned the revival of this bill.

There are many other schemes and initiatives like SWAYAM, which offers open online courses from Class IX to post-graduation free of cost, GIAN and IMPRINT which are primarily focused on elite institutes like IITs and IISc.

APAAR: One Nation One Student ID Card

The Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry (APAAR) is a transformative initiative introduced in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 and the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCrF).

It aims to provide a unified and accessible academic experience for students across India by assigning a unique and permanent 12-digit ID to every student, consolidating their academic achievements in one place.

Other Major Issues connected with the Education sector in India

The Indian education sector is also affected by other issues like the politicization of campuses, gender parity problems, poor-quality standards, etc.

Politicization of campuses

  • JP movement had provided an impetus to the politicization of students.
  • In Indian higher education institutions, university politics has become a launchpad for political ambitions.
  • Though campus politics is vital for democracy, as it makes students better citizens, the negative side of the politicization of campuses has been visible across Indian campuses. Recent incidents at Kerala University are a case in point.
  • One of the most important problems of student politics in India is that it acts as an appendage to political parties without having an independent identity or autonomy.

Gender Parity

  • By parents → who send boys to private and girls to government schools. Economic Survey 2018-19: enrollment of girls is higher than that of boys in government schools but the pattern gets reversed in private schools. The gender gap in enrollment in private schools has consistently increased across age groups.
  • By teachers → who reinforced the belief that boys are quick learners.
  • Girls are eased out of school to work on home chores or get married.
  • Economic Survey 2018-19 opines that BBBP has been a success and proposes to extend the cause of Gender equality by coining the slogan of BADLAV (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay-Lakshmi) to enhance the contribution of women in the workforce and the economy.
  • For ranking states based on gender disparity, Digital Gender Atlas for Advancing Girl’s Education was launched by MHRD.
  • In higher education, gender disparities still prevail in enrollment.
  • Efforts by the Government through programs like Beti Padhao, and Beti Bachao, the GPI has improved substantially at the primary and secondary levels of enrolment.

Quality of education

Learning outcomes are not assessed in India as numerical outcomes. The 12th Five-Year Plan noted the need for measuring and improving learning outcomes.

  • Children of illiterate parents can’t supplement school studies at home and also can’t afford expensive tuition, leading to a vicious cycle of illiteracy.
  • From 2014 to 2018, there was a gradual improvement in both basic literacy and numeracy for Class III students but only a quarter of them are at grade level (ability to read and do basic operations like subtraction of Class II level).
  • The report also shows that 1 out of 4 children leaving Class VIII are without basic reading skills (ability to read at least a Class II level).

Government initiatives

  • Central Rules under the RTE Act were amended in February 2017 to include the defined class-wise and subject-wise learning outcomes.
  • Nationwide sub-program of SSA to improve comprehensive early reading, writing, and early mathematics programs for children in Classes I and II.

Teacher Training

  • Teachers play the most critical role in a student’s achievement.
  • The need is for better incentives for teachers, investments in teacher capacity through stronger training programs, and addressing the problems in the teaching-learning process.
  • However, teachers in India, especially in government schools, are considered a cog in the way to efficient governance. There is an inadequate focus on their motivation and skill updation.
  • NCERT study shows that there is no systematic incorporation of teacher feedback into designing pieces of training. Also, there is no mechanism to check whether this training is translated into classroom performance.
  • These results in de-professionalizing the teaching profession and curb a teacher’s “internal responsibility” — the sense of duty to the job.
  • World Development Report on Education (2018) opined that both teaching skills and motivation matter. Individually targeted continued training is important. In line with this, MHRD and the National Council for Teacher Education launched the National Teacher Platform, or Diksha in 2017 . It is a one-stop solution to address teacher competency gaps.
  • However, the current training through Diksha follows a one-size-fits-all approach. Even though the platform is designed to democratize both access to and creation of content by teachers, its real benefits are in the ability to provide continuous professional development which complements existing physical training.
  • This technology-enabled platform allows training to become a continuous activity rather than an annual event and also creates a feedback loop ensuring the effectiveness of the material.
  • Diksha has the potential to re-engineer in-service teacher training in India. It is important to create good content and also to ensure technology consumption by teachers, the role of headmasters in promoting teachers’ professional development, etc.

As India participates in the PISA in 2021, it is to be made sure that we recognize the importance of teachers and their role in education outcomes.

Private Schools vs Public Schools: The Big Debate in Education

At least 30% of students between the 6-14 age groups are in the private sector.

  • There is an increasing perception that the quality of teaching in private schools is better than that of public schools. Thus there is a clamour for increasing the number of private schools and simultaneously limiting public spending on government schools.
  • However, the claim on the quality of private schools is debatable as there is a wide disparity of the same among these schools.

Research paper by Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, professor of education and international development at the Institute of Education, London, offers insights into private-public school education in India:

  • The paper points out that between 2010-11 and 2015-16, the average enrolment in government schools declined from 122 to 108 students per school, while in private schools it rose from 202 to 208.
  • Nevertheless, according to the District Information System for Education (DISE), 65% of all school-going children, 113 million, get their education from government schools.
  • The study points out that the migration to private schools is due to the belief among parents that these schools offer better value for money in terms of quality.
  • IndiaSpend, in 2016, reported that despite the Rs 1.16 lakh crore spent on SSA, the quality of learning declined between 2009 and 2014. It also points out that less than one in five elementary school teachers in India are trained. Also, the contractual teachers, who are high in number in government schools, are likely to be less motivated and accountable.
  • Preference for private school tutoring is there.
  • The quality of schools varies between states. In 2016, in Kerala, the proportion of children enrolled in primary government schools increased from 40.6% in 2014 to 49.9% according to ASER 2016.
  • States with better-functioning government schools have more expensive private schools as there is no market for the ‘low-fee’ budget private schools. Around 80% of private schools in India are ‘low’ fee schools.
  • ASER 2016 has shown small improvements in learning outcomes in government schools.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2015-16, the number of private schools grew by 35% – to 0.30 million. On the other hand, the number of government schools grew only by 1%, to 1.04 million. The migration out of government schools has left many of these economically unviable.
  • Government teachers in India earn four times that of China but don’t perform as well. Up to 80% of India’s public expenditure on education is spent on teachers. There is a need to link teacher salaries to their accountability.
  • However, the salary of private teachers is very low compared to their government counterparts. This is due to the “bureaucratically-set high ‘minimum wage’, which is being influenced by strong unions of government school teachers.
  • Another reason for the low salary of private school teachers is that the private education sector offers salaries based on market factors of demand and supply. Since 10.5% of graduates are unemployed in India, there is a high supply of teachers.
  • Rather than merely increasing the budget outlay for education, the need is to revise the Education policy for better accountability and monitoring mechanisms.
  • Gandhi argued that a Public-private partnership (PPP) model may be the solution, with public sector funding and private resources for education, since reforming the present system may not be politically feasible.

Rather than debating about private versus public schools, the focus should be to  enable the private sector to set up more schools under the scrutiny of regulatory authorities. There is no point in driving off the private initiative in schooling given the limited resources of the states. Private investment should be encouraged but made accountable for quality and conduct.

The above discussion showed the challenges of the Indian education system. A workforce that India wants to create in this digital age requires reforms in education at all levels. UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report 2016 opined that India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050. India is 50 years late in achieving its global education commitments. If the nation wants fundamental changes in the education system, it has to meet the 2030 SDG targets on education. There is an urgent requirement for greater evolution in education in India.

Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP): How to transform Education in India?

EQUIP is a  five-year vision plan on education, released by MHRD, by  the Prime Minister’s decision to create a five-year vision plan for each Ministry.

The EQUIP project is crafted by ten expert groups led by experts within and outside the government:

  • Group 1: Strategies for expanding access
  • Group 2: Towards global best teaching/learning process
  • Group 3: Promoting Excellence
  • Group 4: Governance reforms
  • Group 5: Assessment, Accreditation, and Ranking Systems
  • Group 6: Promotion of research and innovation
  • Group 7: Employability and Entrepreneurship
  • Group 8: Using Technology for Better Reach
  • Group 9: Internationalisation
  • Group 10: Financing Higher Education

The groups have suggested initiatives to transform the education system completely. The goals set by the groups are:

  • Double GER in higher education and resolve the geographically and socially skewed access to higher education institutions.
  • Upgrade the quality of education to global standards.
  • Position at least 50 Indian institutions among the top 1000 global universities.
  • Introduce governance reforms in higher education for well-administered campuses.
  • Accreditation of all institutions as an assurance of quality.
  • Promote Research and Innovation ecosystems for positioning India in the top three countries in the world in matters of knowledge creation.
  • Double the employability of the students passing out of higher education.
  • Harness education technology for expanding the reach and improving pedagogy.
  • Promote India as a global study destination.
  • Achieve a quantum increase in investment in higher education.

We can see that each of the above goals has been known to us for a long time. The problem is its implementation. The political class and all other stakeholders should come together to achieve these goals. The plethora of government initiatives on higher education is a sure sign of the importance given by the political class in the reform of the education system of India. Let’s hope that a new dawn of Indian education is around the corner which will bring back the glory of ancient times when India was the centre of knowledge production.

As the Economic Survey 2016-17 points out, lack of health, malnourishment, etc. affects the cognitive ability of children. This will, in turn, have a detrimental effect on their future educational prospects. This leads to a vicious cycle of inter-generational illiteracy, poor health, and ultimately poverty. So education and health are complementary to each other and reforms in one sector should invariably be preceded and followed by reforms in other sectors. Human development as a whole can be considered as a wholesome development and we must appreciate the interlinkages of each section of human capital formation, be it health, education, digital literacy, skills, etc.

Also read: PM-USHA

In the larger domain of human capital , education, and skill development have a big role.

Census 2011 data on literacy gives us a quick perspective on the current status of education. However, education is not just about literacy.

RTE act acts as a cornerstone for Indian education. Nevertheless, it is the various education policies, charted out since Independence, which led to the historical evolution of the education system in India.

The results of these policies can be said to be mixed. There is still a lot of room for improvement.

There are various government initiatives targeting each level of the education system in India. The higher Education System is given a greater focus these days.

The latest update in the education sector is the Kasturirangan report or draft new education policy . It captures the need of the hour for reforming education.

Essay on Indian Education System for Students and Children

500+ words essay on indian education system for students and children.

The Indian education system is quite an old education system that still exists. It has produced so many genius minds that are making India proud all over the world. However, while it is one of the oldest systems, it is still not that developed when compared to others, which are in fact newer. This is so as the other countries have gone through growth and advancement, but the Indian education system is still stuck in old age. It faces a lot of problems that need to be sorted to let it reach its full potential.

Essay on Indian Education System

Problems with Indian Education System

Our Indian education system faces a lot of problems that do not let it prosper and help other children succeed in life . The biggest problem which it has to face is the poor grading system. It judges the intelligence of a student on the basis of academics which is in the form of exam papers. That is very unfair to students who are good in their overall performance but not that good at specific subjects.

Moreover, they only strive to get good marks not paying attention to understanding what is taught. In other words, this encourages getting good marks through mugging up and not actually grasping the concept efficiently.

Furthermore, we see how the Indian education system focuses on theory more. Only a little percentage is given for practical. This makes them run after the bookish knowledge and not actually applying it to the real world. This practice makes them perplexed when they go out in the real world due to lack of practical knowledge.

Most importantly, the Indian education system does not emphasize enough on the importance of sports and arts. Students are always asked to study all the time where they get no time for other activities like sports and arts.

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How Can We Improve Indian Education System?

As the Indian Education System is facing so many problems, we need to come up with effective solutions so it improves and creates a brighter future for students . We can start by focusing on the skill development of the students. The schools and colleges must not only focus on the ranks and grades but on the analytical and creative skills of children.

In addition, subjects must not be merely taught theoretically but with practical. This will help in a better understanding of the subject without them having to mug up the whole thing due to lack of practical knowledge. Also, the syllabus must be updated with the changing times and not follow the old age pattern.

Other than that, the government and private colleges must now increase the payroll of teachers. As they clearly deserve more than what they offer. To save money, the schools hire teachers who are not qualified enough. This creates a very bad classroom environment and learning. They must be hired if they are fit for the job and not because they are working at a lesser salary.

In conclusion, the Indian education system must change for the better. It must give the students equal opportunities to shine better in the future. We need to let go of the old and traditional ways and enhance the teaching standards so our youth can get create a better world.

FAQs on Indian Education System

Q.1 What problems does the Indian Education System face?

A.1 Indian education is very old and outdated. It judges students on the basis of marks and grades ignoring the overall performance of the student. It focuses on academics side-lining arts and sports.

Q.2 How can we improve the Indian education system?

A.2 The colleges and schools must hire well and qualified teachers. They must help students to understand the concept instead of merely mugging up the whole subject.

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Essay on Indian Education System

Education is like a key that opens doors to a world of knowledge, opportunities, and growth. In India, a vast and diverse country, the education system plays a crucial role in shaping the future of millions of students. In this essay, I will argue that the Indian education system has its strengths and challenges, and it is continually evolving to provide quality education to its youth.

The Foundation of the Indian Education System

The roots of the Indian education system can be traced back to ancient times, where gurus (teachers) imparted knowledge to their students. This rich history forms the foundation of modern Indian education. Today, the system is a blend of traditional values and contemporary approaches.

The Structure of Indian Education

The Indian education system is divided into several stages, including primary, secondary, and higher education. It is governed by various boards and councils, such as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). These boards set standards and conduct examinations.

Strengths of the Indian Education System

One of the strengths of the Indian education system is its emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects. India has produced many successful scientists, engineers, and IT professionals who have made significant contributions worldwide.

Furthermore, the Indian education system places importance on rote learning, which helps students develop strong memory and discipline. It also fosters a competitive spirit, motivating students to excel academically.

Challenges Faced by the Indian Education System

Despite its strengths, the Indian education system faces several challenges. One significant challenge is the disparity in access to quality education between urban and rural areas. Many rural schools lack proper infrastructure and trained teachers, hindering the education of countless students.

Another challenge is the pressure of examinations and competition. High-stakes exams can create stress and anxiety among students, which may not always be conducive to their overall development.

The Importance of Vocational Education

Recognizing the need for practical skills, the Indian education system has been gradually incorporating vocational education. Vocational courses provide students with skills that are directly applicable to various industries, making them job-ready upon graduation. This is a positive step towards reducing unemployment and enhancing employability.

The Role of Technology in Indian Education

In recent years, technology has played a significant role in transforming Indian education. E-learning platforms and digital classrooms have made education more accessible and interactive. These innovations bridge the gap between urban and rural students, providing them with valuable resources.

Expert Opinions on Indian Education

Experts in education, such as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, have stressed the importance of holistic education. They advocate for a system that not only focuses on academics but also nurtures creativity, critical thinking, and ethical values.

The Journey Towards Educational Reforms

The Indian government has been working on several educational reforms to address the challenges faced by the system. Initiatives like the National Education Policy 2020 aim to provide quality education, promote research and innovation, and reduce the burden of exams.

Conclusion of Essay on Indian Education System

In conclusion, the Indian education system is a complex and evolving landscape. It has its strengths, including its emphasis on STEM subjects and rote learning, and its challenges, such as the rural-urban education divide and exam pressure. However, with ongoing reforms and a focus on holistic education, India is working towards nurturing well-rounded individuals who can contribute to the nation’s growth and prosperity. The Indian education system continues to shape the minds and futures of millions, guided by the vision of a brighter tomorrow.

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