The history of education in India is very rich and interesting. One can trace the ancient India education to the 3rd century BC. Research shows that in the ancient days, sages and scholars imparted education orally, but after the development of letters, it took the form of writing. Palm leaves and barks of trees were used for education, and this in turn helped spread the written literature. Temples and community centers often took the role of schools. When Buddhism spread in India, education became available to everyone and this led to the establishment of some world famous educational institutions Nalanda, Vikramshila and Takshashila. These educational institutes in fact arose from the monasteries. History has taken special care to give Nalanda University, which flourished from the fifth to 13th century AD, full credit for its excellence. This university had around 10,000 resident students and teachers on its roll at one time. These students included Chinese, Sri Lankan, Korean and other international scholars. It was in the 11th century that the Muslims established elementary and secondary schools. This led to the forming of few universities too at cities like Delhi, Lucknow and Allahabad. Medieval period saw excellent interaction between Indian and Islamic traditions in all fields of knowledge like theology, religion, philosophy, fine arts, painting, architecture, mathematics, medicine and astronomy. Later, when the British arrived in India, English education came into being with the help of the European missionaries. Since then, Western education has made steady advances in the country. With hundreds of universities and thousands of colleges affiliated to them, in fact scores of colleges in every discipline, India has positioned itself comfortably as a country that provides quality higher education to its people in specific and to the world in general.
Elementary education in India
Education is important not only for the full development of one's personality, but also for the sustained growth of the nation. Elementary education in India, therefore, is the foundation on which the development of every citizen and the nation as a whole hinges. But making primary education available for all in India has also been one of the major challenges for the government. Moreover, the quality of elementary education in India has also been a major cause of worry for the government. In fact, making elementary education in India accessible, universal and relevant Has been a goal since the eighth five-year plan. Elementary education in India means eight years of schooling from the age of six. The government has made elementary education compulsory and free. But, the goal of universal and elementary education in India has been very difficult to achieve till now. Therefore it has introduced innovative ways of universalizing elementary education in India. After the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) of 1994, the govt. has now launched the "Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan" or SSA. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in 2001 to universalize and improve the quality of elementary education in India through community ownership of elementary education. It has set 2007 as the deadline for providing primary education in India and 2010 as the deadline for providing useful and relevant elementary education to all children in the 6 to 14 age group. In order to improve the quality of elementary education in India, the SSA has emphasized on improving the student teacher ratio, teachers training, academic support, facilitating development of teaching learning material and providing textbooks to children from special focus groups etc. Despite all the efforts of the government of India, universalization of elementary education in India remains a distant dream. This is because of the persistent poverty and various prejudices prevailing in the Indian society. While the growth in female literacy is increasing at a faster rate than male literacy, the gap in the male female literacy has been a major hindrance in the universalization of elementary education in India. While the total literacy rate is 65.38% according to 2001 census, the female literacy rate is only 54.16%. Another area of concern is to reduce the gap between the rural and urban literacy rate. While 80. 3% urban people are literate, only 59.4% of the rural population is literate according to 2001 census data.
Higher Education system in India
Higher Education in India is one of the most developed in the entire world. There has in fact been considerable improvement in the higher education scenario of India in both quantitative and qualitative terms. In technical education, the IITs, and in management, the IIMs have already marked their names among the top higher educational institutes of the world. Moreover the Jawaharlal University and Delhi University are also regarded as good higher educational institutes for doing postgraduates courses and research in science, humanities and social sciences. As a result, students from various parts of the world are coming today for higher education in India. Higher education in India starts after the higher Secondary or 12th standard. While it takes 3 years for completing a B.A., B.Sc or B.Com pass or honors degree from a college in India, pursuing an engineering course would take four years and five years (with six months of additional compulsory internship) for completing a bachelor of medicine or bachelor of law degree. Postgraduate courses generally are of two years duration. But there are some courses like Master of Computer Application (MCA) that are of three years duration. For those who cannot afford to attend regular classes for various preoccupations can pursue correspondence courses from various Open Universities and distance learning institutes in India. The University Grant Commission of India is not only the lone grant giving agency in the country, but also responsible for coordinating, determining and maintaining the standards in institutions of higher education. Apart from the UGC here are various professional councils that are responsible for recognizing courses, promoting professional institutes and providing grants to undergraduate programmes. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Distance Education Council (DEC), Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), Bar Council of India (BCI), National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), Medical Council of India (MCI), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), Indian Nursing Council (INC), Dentist Council of India (DCI), Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH) and the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) are the statutory professional councils of India.
Women Education In India
Women constitute almost half of the population in the world. But the hegemonic masculine ideology made them suffer a lot as they were denied equal opportunities in different parts of the world. The rise of feminist ideas have, however, led to the tremendous improvement of women's condition through out the world in recent times. Access to education has been one of the most pressing demands of theses women's rights movements. Women's education in India has also been a major preoccupation of both the government and civil society as educated women can play a very important role in the development of the country. Although in the Vedic period women had access to education in India, they had gradually lost this right. However, in the British period there was revival of interest in women's education in India. During this period, various socio religious movements led by eminent persons like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar emphasized on women's education in India. Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Periyar and Baba Saheb Ambedkar were leaders of the lower castes in India who took various initiatives to make education available to the women of India. However women's education got a fillip after the country got independence in 1947 and the government has taken various measures to provide education to all Indian women. As a result women's literacy rate has grown over the three decades and the growth of female literacy has in fact been higher than that of male literacy rate. While in 1971 only 22% of Indian women were literate, by the end of 2001 54.16% female were literate. The growth of female literacy rate is 14.87% as compared to 11.72 % of that of male literacy rate. Women's education in India plays a very important role in the overall development of the country. It not only helps in the development of half of the human resources, but in improving the quality of life at home and outside. Educated women not only tend to promote education of their girl children, but also can provide better guidance to all their children. Moreover educated women can also help in the reduction of infant mortality rate and growth of the population. Gender discrimination still persists in India and lot more needs to be done in the field of women's education in India. The gap in the male-female literacy rate is just a simple indicator. While the male literary rate is more than 75% according to the 2001 census, the female literacy rate is just 54.16%. Prevailing prejudices, low enrollment of girl child in the schools, engagements of girl children in domestic works and high drop out rate are major obstacles in the path of making all Indian women educated.
Montessori Method of Education In India
The Montessori method of education in India is today accepted as one of the most effective ways of developing the cognitive capabilities of the children. From a very modest beginning in the early 20th century, the Montessori system of education has come a long way in influencing child pedagogy. The philosophy of Montessori education is that a child can learn most from its experiences and not from mugging up textbooks or listening only to the teacher. The role of the teacher under this system of education is that of an enabler. As Maria Montessori, the person behind the innovation of this fantastic method of education herself says in her Education for a New World, "The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference". Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy and went to become the first women in the country to earn a medical degree. Her ideas were first implemented in Rome in 1913 when an international course was started. During the World War II, Maria was forced into exile from Italy and she had come to India. It was during her stay in India that Maria had developed most of her ideas and gave some concrete shape to them. Montessori's views are today accepted not only for elementary education but also for infancy education and middle and high school education. Montessori had firmly believed that the children and adolescents should be given an opportunity to learn from the environment and nature rather than coercing them in classrooms. The schools that follow the Montessori method in India allow the children to do anything that interest them and the role of the teacher is to help them accomplish their tasks whenever approached. Children of different ages may be allowed to work in the same room. The primary aim of all the Montessori schools in India has been to develop the child physically, mentally and socially so that they can eventually become responsible persons. Montessori Preschools all over the world use identical equipments with which the children work. This system of education today has attained maturity and the Montessori education in India is now quite developed. The number of schools following the Montessori method is continuously increasing through the length and breath of the country. The Indian Montessori Centre has also started providing Indian Montessori Training Courses and the online Montessori Training Courses to train the adults in the Montessori method of education in India.
Technical Education In India
The history of imparting formal technical education in India can be traced back to mid 19th century, although it got momentum in 20th century with the set up of Constitution of Technical Education Committee of the Central University Board of Education (CABE) in 1943; Preparation of Sergeant Report in 1944 and Formation of All India Council of technical Education (AICTE) in 1945. With the country gaining independence in 1947, the development of technical education had become a major concern for the government of India to face the new challenges and move the country forward. The set up of Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Science was a major step in the development of technical education in the country. The quality of education of these institutes have managed to change the outlook of India so much that this ancient country which was earlier known for yoga and mediation is now known for computer engineers. However, it does not mean that the challenge of making technical education accessible to the rural populace and other under developed sections of the society has been overcome. In order to maintain the standard of technical education, a statutory authority- The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)- was set up in 1945. AICTE is responsible for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through accreditation, funding in priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards and ensuring coordinated and integrated development and management of technical education in the country. The courses, which are known as 'technical' in India and therefore come under the purview of All India Council of Technical Education are - degree and diploma courses in Engineering, Master degree Courses in Engineering, Master of Computer Application (MCA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Pharmacy Courses, Courses in Architecture and Applied Arts and Hotel Management and Catering Technology Courses. Likewise the AICTE also approves institutes from time to time institutes that offer MBA courses, M.E./M.Tech, Architecture and Applied Arts Courses, Hotel Management and catering Technology course.
Facilities for International Students in India
Surprises are always waiting as you enter any new place. One may take time adjusting him/ her in the new environment. It is normal to feel excited, confused and even overwhelmed. The international students mainly face these problems when they arrive in India. They may face problems like language problem, accommodation problem and food problem and so on. But international student’s offices at most of the institutes provide facilities for International Students in India that can ease their woes. Moreover the Government of India has also set up the Education Consultants of India to cater to the needs of the growing number of International Students in India. Colleges and institutes The international students are required to carry the necessary documents along with them such as admission letter, passport, residence permit etc. The international students can avail the residential permit after registering themselves at the Foreigner’s Registration Office (F.R.O) within a period of seven days from their arrival. All over the country offer different courses for the international students. International students can apply for medical courses, engineering courses, applied arts courses etc. The government has reserved some seats for foreign students and students from other developing countries. International students can get admission through this reserved quota. For more information related to these admissions, the students can contact the Indian High Commission located in their countries. Self-financing international students looking for admission to postgraduate courses can also choose from the various courses that are offered by the Indian universities. Apart from the Government of India, there are some private educational institutes that provide various facilities for international students in India. The Government of India offers various scholarships annually to international students. These scholarships are offered to those who are interested in pursuing their studies in India. Some of the scholarships offered by the government are Cultural Exchange Program, Commonwealth Scheme, SAARC Scholarship Scheme and ICCR Scholarship Scheme.
Madrassa education in India
Madrassa education in India aims at educating Muslim children living in this country. Madrassas were originally established to spread the message of Islam and impart religious teaching on its followers. The Ulamas, a group of religious specialists used to perform the role of teachers in Madrassa to spread Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula. A Madrassa was as treated as a high school or college earlier. In the Islamic era, there were thousands of Madrassas, which were as big as some universities today. They were full with exhibit museums, libraries and visiting scholar programs. Great scholars and professors dedicated their lives in the Madrassas for learning the philosophy of Islam, the Farsi language, and more significantly, to broaden knowledge among ordinary public. Monarchs as well as masses were educated in the Madrassas in the yesteryears. And even today Madrassa education in India has played a vital role in educating thousands of Muslim children. The importance of Madrassas lies in its potential to make education available to the poorer section of the society. The central as well as the state government of India provide various facilities to make easy the Madrassa education in India. To help Muslim students get higher education, the Central government is trying to permit Madrassa students to join conventional courses in various colleges and universities. Institutes such as Aligarh Muslim University , Jamia Milia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard grant equality of qualifications from Madrassas. Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia have a correspondence commission that evaluates the degrees of students from Madrassas. The Madrassas apply to the committee regarding their courses and the committee recommends the levels of formal education systems comparing to the Madrassa education. The government thinks that the equality system may help conquer the educational backwardness of Muslims. The equality system would help them to offer better job chances. Most of the Madrassa students face the lack of knowledge of science and mathematics. The only option for the Madrassa students is to learn subjects like Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Islamic studies along with Yunani medicine. Some Madrassas teach subjects such as information technology and journalism. The aim of the government is to bring all Madrassas under the roof of the Central Madrassa Board to increase the quality of education provided. However the need of the hour is to impart education that are relevant and help the Muslim children in building up capabilities so that they can compete on an equal footing with other students of the country.
Special education in India
Providing access to basic education is a duty the Indian state that has taken upon itself. Thus the differently able children are provided special education in India so that they can seriously engage in improving the quality of their life. With the advancement of technology, Special education in India for physically disabled or mentally challenged is also fast improving. But some recent research has thrown fresh insights on Special education in India was present since the pre independence time, with very few schools or NGOs helping intellectually impaired children. However over the years many scholars have questioned the importance of special education in India as they feel that it leads to segregation and isolation of the differently abled children. They argue that by segregating the children at young age the very purpose bringing all children to the mainstream of, the purpose of special education is defeated. Therefore, to keep the special education at par with regular education, vocational courses are also initiated. Also, there has been a National Policy of Education, in which government has declared that education of children with gentle disabilities will be in regular schools. Due to such reforms and regulations, the quality and reach of special education in India has increased over the years giving new hopes and bright future for disabled.
Distance education council In India
In a huge country like India where fruits of development are not equally distributed, the importance of distance education is tremendous. It can significantly improve the quality of life of the people by making technology-mediated education accessible to the remotest corner of the country and all those who cannot afford to attend regular classes. But maintaining the quality of distance education is a hilarious task. Therefore the Distance Education Council or DEC, as it is now popularly known, was established under the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 primarily to determine the standards of distance education in India. It is also responsible for promotion and co-ordination of the distance education system. Approval of the Distance Education Council is mandatory for all the degrees awarded through distance education in India. Therefore it would be good for the students to pursue distance-learning courses from institutes that are recognized by the Distance Education Council. Distance education council provides the guiding principles of education to support excellence, promotes use of modern technology, and permits a union of all educational systems. The council allocates funds through a joint networking for access of education, by providing training to all. The council works for the harmonization, resolves the standards of teaching, valuation, and investigation in such systems. This council encourages a mixture of accessibility and novelty in education at the University level. To fulfill this purpose the council makes use of the current scientific knowledge and new technology. It tries to make more collaboration among the various Universities across India. The distance education council also encourages state government to open more universities and some distance education courses to make an association of such institutions. The council offers support and grants with educational guidelines about open and distance education. The distance education council creates rules and measures in reverence of admission, certification and valuation. The distance education council consults with the state governments and other agencies to find out primary areas in which the distance education programs could be arranged. To support such programs is an important duty of the council. The council finds out the specific customer groups and various programs that can be arranged for them. The council promotes some novel education systems of University level education that are stretchy and open. The distance education council decides the eligibility criteria for enrolment, age level for admission and manner of exam. The distance education council promotes the arrangement of programs of human resource development for the distance education system. The council collects and distributes information concerning to the different programs provided by various open universities. One of the major responsibilities of the council is to assign Review Committees at the proper time to study and evaluate the performance of distance education institutes.
Medical Council of India
Medical Council of India, which is responsible for maintaining uniform standards of both undergraduate and postgraduate studies of medicine in India, was established under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933 in the year 1934. However, in order to meet the new challenges of medical education in India, the earlier act was repealed and a new Indian medical Council Act 1956 was enacted. It has been modified in 1964, 1993 and 2001 since then. Thus the primary responsibilities of the Medical Council of India are to maintain the uniform standards of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, recognition of the medical institutions in our country or abroad, permanent or provisional registration of the qualified doctors and reciprocality with foreign countries in case of mutual recognition of medical qualifications. Constitution of Medical Council of India Under Section 3(1) of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, Medical Council of India contains following members- one member from every state having the nomination by the Central Government, one member elected by the Senate of University who is one of the members of University’s medical faculty, one member from every state of India where the State Medical Register is maintained. Persons inscribed in the medical register should elect the members. They should have the medical qualifications included in Part-II of the Third Schedule or in the First and Second Schedule. There are 7 members having the medical qualifications included in Part I of the Third Schedule. There are 8 members that are nominated by the Central Government. The members of Council from amongst themselves elect the President and Vice-President. Functions of Medical Council of India. The Medical Council of India performs various important functions including maintenance of standards of medical education in India, offering permission to start new medical colleges, some new courses and increasing number of seats in the colleges, recognition and de-recognition of Indian and Foreign qualifications, maintenance of All India Medical Register, permanent and provisional registration of qualified doctors, registration of additional qualifications etc.