India has been a major seat of learning for thousands of years, dating back to ancient seats of learning like Nalanda. India, being a developing nation, struggles with challenges in its primary education and strives to reach 100% literacy. All levels of education in India, from primary to higher education, are overseen by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Higher Education (India) and Department of School Education and Literacy), and heavily subsidized by the Indian government.
There are broadly four stages of school education in India, namely primary, upper primary, secondary and Senior secondary. Overall, schooling lasts 12 years. Upper Primary and Secondary school pupils aged eleven through fifteen are organized into classes six through ten, and higher secondary school students ages sixteen through seventeen are enrolled in classes eleven through twelve. In some places there is a concept called Middle/Upper Primary schools for classes between six to eight. The government is committed to ensuring universal elementary education (primary and upper primary) education for all children aged 6-14 years of age. Primary school includes children of ages six to eleven, organized into classes one through five.
Primary school in the remote Kanji village of the Kargil district.
Elementary education is divided into three broad parameters: Universal Access, Universal Retention and Universal Achievement. Which in broad sense of terms means, making education accessible to children, making sure that they continue education and finally, achieving the set quality goals. In 2006-7, an estimated 93% of children in the age group of 6-14 were enrolled in school. The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act was passed by the parliament to make the Right to Elementary Education a fundamental right and a fundamental duty.
There are a number of private schools providing secondary education. These schools usually either follow the State or national curriculum. Some top schools provide international qualifications and offer an alternative international qualification. These schools are usually taught in the regional language, however urban and suburban schools usually teach in English. These institutions are heavily subsidized. In the past decades, there has also been an effort to increase attendance in vocational high schools and raise standards at the nation's ITIs - Industrial Training Institutes.
Higher education in India has evolved in distinct and divergent streams with each stream monitored by an apex body, indirectly controlled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and funded jointly by the state governments. Most universities are administered by the States, however, there are 18 important universities called Central Universities, which are maintained by the Union Government. The increased funding of the central universities give them an advantage over their state competitors. Apart from the several hundred state universities, there is a network of research institutions that provide opportunities for advanced learning in various branches of science, technology and agriculture.
Owing to the autonomy of the IITs, these institutes are among those few institutes (the other institutes being NITs) in India that offer degrees in technology (B. Tech.) at the undergraduate level as opposed to the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degrees awarded by most other Indian universities. The success of the IITs led to the creation of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) in the late 1990s and in the 2000s. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), are a group of thirteen autonomous engineering and technology-oriented institutes of higher education established and declared as Institutes of National Importance by the Parliament of India. The IITs were created in 1947. In order of establishment they are located in Kharagpur (1950; as IIT 1951), Mumbai (1958), Chennai (1959), Kanpur (1959), Delhi (1961; as IIT 1963), Guwahati (1994), Roorkee (1847; as IIT 2001), Bhubaneswar (2008), Gandhi agar (2008), Hyderabad (2008), Patna (2008), Punjab (2008) and Rajasthan (2008). Each IIT is an autonomous university, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. They have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, using the Joint Entrance Examination (popularly known as IIT-JEE) to select around 4,000 undergraduate candidates a year.
The Main Building of IIT Kharagpur
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a premier post-graduate institution of research and higher learning located in Bengaluru, India. It offers postgraduate and doctoral research programmes to over 2,000 students working under the supervision of more than 400 faculty members in 48 departments ranging from aerospace engineering to molecular biophysics to management. According to the journal Current Science IISc currently ranks first in India in terms of research output (citation and impact factor). Campus The IISc campus is full of greenery. The campus harbors both exotic and indigenous plant species with about 110 species of woody plants, including quite a number of Jackfruit trees. The campus houses more than 40 departments, six canteens, a gym, three dining halls, one multi cuisine family restaurant, nine men's and five women's hostels, an air strip, a library, two shopping centers and residence areas for faculties and other staff members. The Institute was the first to introduce (i) Masters programs in engineering; (ii) more recently, the Integrated Ph. D. Programs in Biological, Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences for science graduates; (iii) the new IISc Young Fellowship program for the first 20 rank holders at the + 2 level.