Takshasila was the earliest recorded centre of higher learning in India from at least 5th century BCE and it is debatable whether it could be regarded a university or not. The Nalanda University was the oldest university-system of education in the world in the modern sense of university.  Western education became ingrained into Indian society with the establishment of the British Raj. Overall System Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: central,state, and local.
Education in India falls under the control of both the Union Government and the State Governments, with some responsibilities lying with the Union and the states having autonomy for others. The various articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right. Most universities in India are controlled by the Union or the State Government. The National Policy on Education (NPE) is a policy formulated by the Government of India to promote education amongst India’s people.
The policy covers elementary education to colleges in both rural and urban India. The first NEP was promulgated in 1968 by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and the second by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986. It emphasizes three aspects in relation to elementary education: * universal access and enrolment, * universal retention of children up to 14 years of age, and * a substantial improvement in the quality of education to enable all children to achieve * Revival of Sanskrit and other classical languages for contemporary use.
Today education system in India can be divided into many stages. * Pre- Primary – It consists of children of 3-5 years of age studying in nursery, lower kindergarten and upper kindergarten. At this stage student is given knowledge about school life and is taught to read and write some basic words. * Primary – It includes the age group of children of 6-11 years studying in classes from first to fifth. * Middle – It consists of children studying in classes from sixth to eighth. * Secondary – it includes students studying in classes ninth and tenth.
* Higher Secondary – Includes students studying in eleventh and twelfth classes. * Undergraduate – Here, a student goes through higher education, which is completed in college. This course may vary according to the subject pursued by the student. For medical student this stage is of four and a half years plus one year of compulsory internship, while a simple graduate degree can be attained in three years. * Postgraduate – After completing graduation a student may opt for post graduation to further add to his qualifications. 10+2+3 pattern [.
* The central and most state boards uniformly follows the “10+2+3” pattern of education. :3 In this pattern, 10 years of primary and secondary education is followed by 2 years of higher secondary (usually in schools having the higher secondary facility, or in colleges),:44 and then 3 years of college education for bachelor’s degree.  Distant Education * National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi is one of the mega open universities in the world and caters to around 1 million students around the world. Vocational Education.
Vocational Education at Certificate level are offered by 1500 vocational institutions in the country in the areas of agriculture, business, commerce, health and para-medical, home science and humanities in addition to engineering trades. Primary Education in India The World Education Forum, held in 2000 set an ambitious goal: universal primary education by the year 2015. Schooling all children until they reach young adulthood is recognized as important because it leads to many substantial positive effects: better family health, lower birth rate, higher productivity, higher earnings, and improved economics of the country as a whole.
Globally, however, more than 115 million children of primary school age do not attend school. The Indian government lays emphasis on primary education up to the age of fourteen years, referred to as elementary education in India.  The Indian government has also banned child labour in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions. Further, education has been made free for children for 6 to 14 years of age or up to class VIII under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
 Current status of primary education in IndiaAbout 20% of Indian children between the ages of six and 14 are not enrolled in school. Even among enrolled children, attendance rates are low and 26% of pupils enrolled in primary school drop out before Grade 5. The situation is worse in certain sectors of the population Despite a vibrant emerging economy and a string of excellent colleges that produce high caliber professionals, India has not made the grade yet on primary education. Hurdles in primary education (double it as general problems as well) Shortage of resources and lack of political will.
High pupil to teacher ratios,(shortage of teachers –one teacher schools) Shortage of infrastructure and poor levels of teacher training. (toilet for girls etc. ) The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education of 2009 recommended longer preparation for teachers, but the B. Ed curriculum structure continued to be for a single year. There is also a lack of enough skilled trainers and preparation to develop skills, abilities and attitudes to teach students. Poverty and illiteracy of the parent Gender Issues(girls cannot study).
Social Issues like caste system (some castes are not allowed) Several efforts to enhance quality made by the government. (primary education) The District Education Revitalization Programme (DERP) was launched in 1994 with an aim to universalize primary education in India by reforming and vitalizing the existing primary education system.  85% of the DERP was funded by the central government and the remaining 15 percent was funded by the states.  The DERP, which had opened 160000 new schools including 84000 alternative education schools delivering alternative education to approximately 3.
5 million children, was also supported by UNICEF and other international programmes.  .  Significant improvement in staffing and enrollment of girls has also been made as a part of this scheme.  The current scheme for universalization of Education for All is the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which is one of the largest education initiatives in the world. Enrollment has been enhanced, but the levels of quality HERE first Write to improve all the above negative issues. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)/Right to Education (RTE).
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Movement) is a programme by the Government of India aimed at the universalization of elementary education “in a time bound manner”, as mandated by the 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free education to children aged 6–14 (estimated to be 205 million in number in 2001) a fundamental right. The programme was pioneered by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments to cover the entire country and address the needs of 192 million children in 1. 1 million habitations. In FY 2009-10,60% of SSA funds came from GOI. This has now been revised to 65%.
The programme is looking to open new schools in those habitations without schooling facilities and to strengthen existing school infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grants. SSA is now the primary vehicle for implementing the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE). National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) The National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL), is a focused intervention of Government of India, to reach the “Hardest to Reach” girls, especially those not in school.
Launched in July 2003, it is an important component of SSA, which provides additional support for enhancing girl’s education over and above the investments for girl’s education through normal SSA interventions. The programme provides for development of a “model school” in every cluster with more intense community mobilization and supervision of girls enrolment in schools. Gender sensitization of teachers, development of gender-sensitive learning materials, and provision of need-based incentives like escorts, stationery, workbooks and uniforms are some of the endeavors under the programme.
The future of primary education in India The importance of universal primary education has now been widely recognized by everyone involved. Policies and pledges are easy to make but implementation can be difficult and goals hard to achieve, especially in a vast and populous country such as India. International agencies, the government of India, and the numerous NGOs will have to work together with will, wisdom and tremendous energy to make their desire for universal primary education by 2015 a reality in India. Secondary education.
For several decades, it has been argued in the literature that secondary education needs to be expanded both as a response to increased social demand and as a feeder cadre for higher education, giving little emphasis to its other important functions. It is also argued that investment in secondary education yields considerable social and economic returns, making it crucial for national development India is following a service-led growth model and striving hard to survive the global competition, in these conditions it is being increasingly recognised that secondary education, is the most critical segment of the education chain.
Apart from the bottom-up pressure (i. e. arising from the growth of primary schooling) and the top-down pressure (as the source of potential intakes for higher education) for its expansion, there is a need to pay greater attention to secondary education as it caters to the needs of the most important segment of the population – adolescents and youth, the source of the future human and social capital of a nation. Secondary education covers children 14–18 which covers 88.
5 million children according to the Census, 2001. Features * A significant feature of India’s secondary school system is the emphasis on inclusion of the disadvantaged sections of the society. * Professionals from established institutes are often called to support in vocational training. * Another feature of India’s secondary school system is its emphasis on profession based vocational training to help students attain skills for finding a vocation of his/her choosing.
 * A significant new feature has been the extension of SSA to secondary education in the form of the Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) programme was started in 1974 with a focus on primary education.  but which was converted into Inclusive Education at Secondary Stage The government started the Kendriya Vidyalaya project in 1965 for the employees of the central government of India to provide uniform education in institutions following the same syllabus at the same pace regardless of the location to which the employee’s family has been transferred.
 Policy Initiatives in secondary education After independence, the first step towards improving policy planning for development of secondary education was the setting up of the Secondary Education Commission in 1952(also known as the Mudaliar Commission). The primary objective of the Commission was todiagnose the growth pattern and suggest measures for reorganisation and improvement ofsecondary education. The commission’s major recommendation was to develop a 3-yearnational system of secondary education after 8-years of elementary education (8 + 3 systemof school education) to make it a complete stage.
The commission also recommended thereconstruction of the syllabus to provide a wider and more balanced course and adopt mother tongue as the medium of instruction (Kabir, 1955). Nearly one-and-a-half decades after the Mudaliar Commission, the Kothari Commission(1964-66), while articulating goals and objectives at all stages of education in the context ofnational development priorities, recommended for a 4-year secondary education system anddiscontinuing the practice of ‘streaming’ up to Grade X.
It may be noted that, ten years afterthe commission submitted its report; education was placed in the Concurrent List States and the centre responsible for its development. This changed the policy context fordevelopment of secondary education.
The National Policy on Education (NPE), of 1986 subsequently reiterated the views of the Education Commission to implement a 4-year secondary education system across the states and UTs. 23 The NPE emphasised improving equitable access to secondary education and the enrolment of girls, SCs and STs, particularly in science, commerce and vocational streams (Para 5.
13 of the NPE, 1986). The NPE and the Programme of Action (POA), 1992 while recognising secondary education as a critical instrument for social change, called for its planned expansion. The NPE, (as modified in 1992) specifically laid emphasis again on increasing access to secondary education with particular focus on participation of girls, SCs and STs; increased autonomy of Boards ofSecondary Education to enhance their ability to improve quality; introduction of ICT inschool curriculum for coping with globalisation; renewed emphasis on work ethos and valuesof a humane and composite culture in the curricula;
And vocationalisation through specialisedinstitutions or through the refashioning of secondary education to meet the manpower requirements of the growing Indian economy Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) This scheme was launched in March, 2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality. The implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10. It is envisaged to achieve an enrolment rate of 75% from 52.
26% in 2005-06 at secondary stage within 5 years of implementation of the scheme by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation. The other objectives include improving quality of education imparted at secondary level through making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers, providing universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i. e. , by the end of 12th Five Year Plan and achieving universal retention by 2020.
Inclusive Education for the Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) The Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) has been launched from the year 2009-10. This Scheme replaces the earlier scheme of Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) and would provide assistance for the inclusive education of the disabled children in classes IX-XIITo enable all students with disabilities, after completing eight years of elementary schooling, to pursue further four years of secondary schooling in an inclusive and enabling environment.
Higher education India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States.  The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission (India), which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state.  Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.  In India, education system is reformed.
In future, India will be one of the largest education hub. After passing the Higher Secondary Examination (the grade 12 examination), students may enroll in general degree programmes such as bachelor’s degreein arts, commerce or science, or professional degree programmes such as engineering, law or medicine.  As of 2009, India has 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 institutes which are of national importance.
 Other institutions include 16,000 colleges, including 1,800 exclusive women’s colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions.  The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology.  Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes.  Distance learning is also a feature of the Indian higher education system.  Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), have been globally acclaimed for their standard of undergraduate education in engineering.
 The IITs enroll about 10,000 students annually and the alumni have contributed to both the growth of the private sector and the public sectors of India.  Several other institutes of fundamental research such as the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Indian Institute of Science IISC), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Harishchandra Research Institute (HRI), are acclaimed for their standard of research in basic sciences and mathematics. Government programs on Education Rashtriya Uchattar Shiksha Abhiyan[.
The Rashtriya Uchattar Shiksha Abhiyan is a centrally sponsored flagship umbrella scheme aimed at providing strategic funding to State higher and technical institutions. States will develop comprehensive state higher education plans that utilize an interconnected strategy to address issues of expansion, equity and excellence together. Central funding will be linked to academic, administrative and financial reforms of state higher education. The Rashtriya Uchattar Shiksha Abhiyan proposes to put a ceiling of maximum number of colleges to be affiliated to any university at two hundred .
 Higher Education and Eleventh Plan (2007-2012) With the objectives and proposals of the Plan as the basis, the report mentions that the private sector has played an instrumental role in the growth of the sector. Private institutions now account for 64% of the total number of institutions and 59% of enrollment in the country, as compared to 43% and 33%, respectively, a decade ago. The Government has also given the required thrust to the sector in its Five Year Plans. During the Eleventh Plan period (2007–2012), India achieved a Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of 17.
9%, up from 12. 3% at the beginning of the Plan period. India’s higher education system faces challenges on three fronts: Expansion:India’s GER of16% was much below the world average of 27%, as well as that of other emerging countries such as China (26%) and Brazil (36%) in 2010. Excellence:Faculty shortage – there is 40% and 35% shortage of faculty in state and central universities, respectively. Accredited institutions – 62% of universities and 90% of colleges were average or below average in 2010, on the basis of their NAAC accreditation.
Low citation impact – India’s relative citation impact is half the world average. Equity – There is wide disparity in the GER of higher education across states and the Gross Attendance Ratio (GAR) in urban and rural areas, and gender- and community-wise Drawbacks of Indian Higher Education System * Besides top rated universities which provide highly competitive world class education to their pupils, India is also home to many universities which have been founded with the sole objective of making easy money.
* Regulatory authorities like UGC and AICTE have been trying very hard to extirpate the menace of private universities which are running courses without any affiliation or recognition. Indian Government has failed to check on these education shops, which are run by big businessmen & politicians. * Many private colleges and universities do not fulfill the required criterion by the Government and central bodies (UGC, AICTE, MCI, BCI etc. ) and take students for a ride.
* Quality assurance mechanism has failed to stop misrepresentations and malpractices in higher education. At the same time regulatory bodies have been accused of corruption, specifically in the case of deemed-universities.  Road Ahead in Higher Education * Merit-based student financing: This should ensure admissions to meritorious students independent of financial background * Internationalization of education: This would entail aligning different aspects of education (curriculum, faculty, etc) to international standards * Enabling a research environment.
This would involve creating adequate means of research funding and practical application of research * High quality faculty: The need of the hour is to create a conducive environment and provide incentives to attract and retain high quality faculty.
* Improved technology for education delivery: Leveraging technology for enhancing the teaching-learning experience will ensure better outcomes * Employability: Making education-industry relevant and practical would be the right way to ensure a highly employable talent pool India’s higher education system can be expected to be better aligned to industry and global practices, and be more transparent and inclusive by the end of Twelfth Plan period, provided the Government is able to create an enabling regulatory environment and put in place robust implementation, monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms.
* Legislative support. One of the most talked about bill is Foreign Universities Bill, which is supposed to facilitate entry of foreign universities to establish campuses in India. * Private Sector-The private sector can be expected to play an instrumental role in the achievement of these outcomes through the creation of knowledge networks, research and innovation centers, corporate-backed institutions, and support for faculty development. Saakshar Bharat (Saakshar Bharat)/Adult Education.
The Prime Minister of India launched Saakshar Bharat, a centrally sponsored scheme of Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GOI), on the International Literacy Day, 8th September, 2009. It aims to further promote and strengthen Adult Education, specially of women, Education Governing Bodies he Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE):
This is the main governing body of education system in India. It has control over the central education system. It conducts exam and looks after the functioning of schools accredited to central education system. * The Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE): It is a board for Anglo Indian Studies in India. It conducts two examinations ‘Indian Certificate of Secondary Education’ and ‘Indian School Certificate’.
Indian Certificate of secondary education is a k-10 examination for those Indian students who have just completed class 10th and Indian school certificate is a k-12 public examination conducted for those studying in class 12th. * The State Government Boards: Apart from CBSE and CISCE each state in India has its own State Board of education, which looks after the educational issues. * The National Open School: It is also known as National Institute of Open Schooling. It was established by the Government Of India in 1989. It is a ray of hope for those students who cannot attend formal schools. * The International School: It controls the schools, which are accredited to curriculum of international standard. * Classification of Colleges.
Colleges in India come under four different categories. This categorization is done on the basis of the kind of courses offered by them (professional/ vocational) / their ownership status( Private/ Government) or their relationship with the university (affiliated/university owned). University Colleges These colleges are managed by the university itself and situated mostly in the university campus. Government Colleges The government colleges are few, only about 15-20 percent of the total. They are managed by state governments. As in case of other colleges, the university to which these colleges are affiliated, conducts their examination, lays down the courses of studies and awards the degrees.
Professional Colleges The professional colleges are mostly in the disciplines of medicine, engineering and management. There are few for other disciplines too. They are sponsored and managed either by the government or by private initiative. Privately Managed colleges About 70% of the colleges are founded by the privately owned trusts or societies. But these institutes are also governed by the rules and regulations of the university they are affiliated to. Though initially started up as a private initiative, the state government also funds these college Private Education What is it? What is the need for it ? What are benefits? What are problems with it?
What can be done to streamline it? India saw the largest increase in literacy rate in the decadeof 1991–2001 — from about 52 per cent to 65 per cent. From 2001 to 2011, the literacy rate increased by 9 per cent to 74 per cent (Planning Commission 2011). The 13 per cent increase in 1991–2001 has been the largest for any 10-year period in the history of the country. Private investments and the emergence of budget private schools was the main cause for this.! As parents began to earn more in the post-reform era, they began to invest in their children. As better employment opportunities arose, the value of education became more apparent to parents.
This increased demand for education was met by a rapid expansion of budget private schools The biggest success story of literacy in India has been written withprivate initiative — parents’ willingness to pay and the edupreneur innovation of an aff ordable school. In post-liberalisation India, the importance of the private sector in economic growth is well understood and appreciated.
For economic growth, the state’s role is primarily to enable the private sector as a facilitator, prudent regulator, impartial enforcer of contracts, and at times as a financier Incentives for efficiency are also weak. Government employees have little incentive to minimise costs, fi nd and correct mistakes, innovate, and acquire necessary information about resources and consumer demand. The high teacher absenteeism in government schools is just one indicator of poor incentives. .
High prices in terms of tuition fees, donations andlong queues for admissions are signs of the shortage of quality educational institutions. The same paucity of supply existed for consumer goods before the 1991 liberalisation. The license-permit-quota raj still exists in our education system. Schools and colleges need to be made accountable not to education bureaucrats (licensors) but to parents and students (customers). The government policy should be to increase choice and competition in education as it has been done in many areas of the economy — facilitate, not control.
The core competency of the private and public sectors should be combined. The private sector should be allowed to produce education — manage schools and colleges — and provide it to all who can aff ord to pay.
For those who cannot aff ord to pay, the government should finance their education through scholarships, education vouchers and loans. Instead of focusing on the inputs to education, the government ensures the output — meaningful, high quality learning. This approach combines the efficiency and accountability of the private sector with the equity and independent supervision of the public sector. .
Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) should evaluate schools and colleges and publish the results so that parents can make informed decisions. One key goal of global reformers is to increase the accountability of schools towards parents — restructure the system so that schools are at least as much accountable to parents as they are to the education offi cials.
There are many ways to achieve this goal: put parents on school boards or district education councils, give powers to parent-teacher associations, create something like our village education committees . One new idea in this bucket is that of school vouchers. Several countries have undertaken pilot projects. The voucher is a tool to change the way governments finance education, particularly of the poor. It is a coupon off ered by the government that covers full or partial cost of education at the school of the student’s choice. The schools collect vouchers from the students, deposit them in their bank accounts and the banks then credit the school accounts with equivalent money while debiting the account of the government.
Section 12 of the RTE requires private unaided schools to reserve 25 per cent seats in the entry-level class (nursery or Class I) for socially disadvantaged and economically weaker sections. The government would provide private schools with reimbursements equal to their fees or the per student cost in government schools, whichever is lower. EDUCATION REFORM Just as in economic reforms, the list of education reform ideas could be quite long. This paper suggests that two principles should be the focus of reforms in the education ecosystem — effi cient use of public funds and the promotion of equity and quality through choice and competition. Achieve Efficient Use of Public Funds.
(a) Fund students, not schools (school vouchers, charter schools, conditional cash transfers); (b) Convert state funding to per student basis and link it to performance; (d) Give poorly performing state schools to private parties on learning outcome contracts; (e) Hire teachers at the school level, not at the state level; Promote Equity and Quality through Choice and Competition: (i) Apply the same standards to both private as well as government schools; (ii) Annual independent learning outcome assessment across all schools; (iii) Decentralise and depoliticise syllabi and textbooks; (iv) Open Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and state board exams to all students, not only for students who study in CBSE or state board affiliated schools.