UNDERSTANDING THE INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
India today is the second largest higher education network in the world. Universities in India are set up by the Central or State Governments by means of legislation, while colleges are established by either the State Governments or private bodies / trusts. All colleges are affiliated to some university.
Central or State Universities -- while the former are funded directly by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the latter are set up and funded by the various state governments.
which enjoy the same academic status and privileges as a university. Examples are the Deccan College of Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore; etc.
are university-level institutions that are established or designated by Acts of Parliament and funded by the Central Government. These include the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, etc. Most universities are 'affiliating universities', which prescribe to the affiliated colleges the admission criteria and courses of study, hold examinations and award degrees. University departments impart postgraduate education and conduct and promote research in a variety of disciplines. Undergraduate and, to some extent, postgraduate instruction is imparted by the colleges affiliated to a particular university.
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).
These colleges are managed by the university itself and situated mostly in the university campus.
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.
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.
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 colleges.
Indian Universities offer various courses in the following disciplines. Engineering and Technology Computer Sciences, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Bio-informatics. Medical, Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy and Paramedical. Agriculture / Veterinary Sciences, Dairy Technology and Fisheries. Arts & Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Commerce, Science and Management. Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Travel and Tourism. Fashion Design & Technology. The academic programmes are offered at Vocational Diploma, Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctoral levels.
In India, there are 66 distance education institutions functioning in 60 universities besides, 11 open universities offering distance education programmes. India Gandhi 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 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.
Undergraduate Courses:- Undergraduate courses, in general, are of three years leading to Bachelor degrees. The universities and higher education institutes award Bachelor's degree in Arts, Science, Commerce, etc. However, undergraduate courses leading to a first degree in professional subjects like Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy are of a longer duration ranging from four to five and a half years. Most of the engineering courses are for a duration of four years, while the medical courses are for a duration of about five and a half years. Postgraduate Courses:- Postgraduate Courses in Arts, Science, Engineering and Medicine are usually for two years ending with the award of a Master's degree. In some specialized fields for instance, for a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree, the possession of a Bachelor's degree in any discipline is required before admission can be obtained. Some universities and higher institutes offer a diploma or a certificate course of shorter duration courses in disciplines like Engineering, Agricultural Sciences and Computer Technology. However the duration of these courses varies from university to university. Doctoral Courses:- Doctoral courses like M Phil and PhD are available only at the university colleges. These courses involve research work under a chosen/allotted guide, leading to thesis submission and viva-voce. Successful completion of PhD course designates the title of 'Doctor' to the individual.