Just like the country boasts of a diverse culture and one of the largest democratic entities, the Indian Education system is equally vast and compelling. Having contributions from both public and private sector players, the system is complex, and in many an aspect, superficial. And as in our culture, the Indian system of education dates back many a century.
History of Indian Education
In true sense an ancient system, the system of education in India dates back to a time when Brahmins, the priest class who occupied a high position in the Indian Caste System (a different subject in itself), imparted education to the masses in gurukuls and paathshaalas, and were called gurus by their pupils. Education was also imparted on the basis of one's caste "“ Brahmins taught the ways of religion and rituals; Kshatriyas, the warrior class, made able in the ways of warfare and politics; the business class, Vaishyas, were enlightened in the matters of trade and the lowest of the castes, the Shudras, were kept deprived of any form of education. Apart from the Hindus, the Buddhists also formed institutions to impart education to the masses.
Education in Post-Independent and Modern India
In the post-independence era, the education system in India was divided into the following subsystems - pre-primary, primary, elementary, secondary, undergraduate and postgraduate. The reins of the system were handled by both the central and the state governments. A central educational body, known as the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) was formed to act as the chief entity to decide on matters related to the educational content to be taught in the various educational institutions unto the secondary level. Also, different educational boards with independent curriculum were set-up at national levels to overlook the impartment of education in schools. Some of the prominent boards among them are as follows:
- Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
- Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE)
- National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
Extensive foray into the educational system from the private sector has also inculcated many foreign boards such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Examinations etc. into the Indian Educational System.
Graduate and PG Level Education
In regard to education after the School Level, India has many public as well as private universities which offer education in many streams any subjects pertaining to Medicine, Engineering & Technology, Business Administration, Pure Science, Commerce, Arts etc. and many other fields where students have the chance to excel and pave their way towards a successful carrier. Many bodies such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) etc. have been set-up at the national level to overlook the higher educational system. Premier institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), National Institute of Technology (NIT) have set-up their branches in the different cities of the country, to attract students and train them towards a glorious carrier. Many private universities are also gaining recognition and becoming popular among the masses.
The Indian Educational System has also drawn flak from many quarters due to its procedures of imparting education and mainly, the examination structure prevalent across the country. Many believe that the current system encourages mainly theoretical knowledge with little scope for practical application in the real world.
Also, the progress that the Indian Education system has achieved has mainly been centred on urban India; much remains to be achieved on the matter in rural India and among the backward classes, who in many aspects are still devoid of even proper primary education
Indian Education has come a long way from the Gurukuls and Paathshaalas to the glamour and glitz of international standard schooling and visual-aided education. But still, many a thing remains to be achieved to take education to each and every citizen, and much remains to be done to accomplish the mission of eradicating illiteracy from the country.