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India - Overview


India has one of the largest 'Higher Education System' in the world. It has
  • 237           Universities
  • 10600        Colleges
  • 41             Deemed Universities
  • 70.78         Lakh Students
  • 3.31           Lakh Teachers

Main players in the higher education system in the country are:

  • University Grants Commission (UGC) is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards, release of grants.Professional Councils are responsible for recognition of courses, promotion of professional institutions and providing grants to undergraduate programmes and various awards. The statutory professional councils are:

    • 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)
    • Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM)

  • Central Government is responsible for major policy relating to higher education in the country. It provides grants to the UGC and establishes central universities in the country. The Central Government is also responsible for declaration of Educational Institutions as 'Deemed to be University' on the recommendation of the UGC.

    Presently there are sixteen (16) Central Universities in the country. In pursuance of the Mizoram Accord, another Central University in the State of Mizoram is planned. There are 37 Institutions that have been declared as Deemed to be Universities by the Govt. of India as per Section of the UGC Act, 1956.

  • State Governments are responsible for establishment of State Universities and colleges, and provide plan grants for their development and non-plan grants for their maintenance.

    The coordination and cooperation between the Union and the States is brought about in the field of education through the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).

    Special Constitutional responsibility of the Central Government: Education is on the 'Concurrent list' subject to Entry 66 in the Union List of the Constitution. This gives exclusive Legislative Power to the Central Govt. for co-ordination and determination of standards in Institutions of higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.

Academic Qualification Framework - Degree Structure

There are three principle levels of qualifications within the higher education system in the country. These are:

  • Bachelor / Undergraduate level
  • Master's / Post-graduate level
  • Doctoral / Pre-doctoral level

Diploma courses are also available at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. At the undergraduate level, it varies between one to three years in length, postgraduate diplomas are normally awarded after one year's study. Bachelor's degree in arts, commerce and sciences is three years of education (after 12 years of school education). In some places there are honours and special courses available. These are not necessarily longer in duration but indicate greater depth of study. Bachelor degree in professional field of study in agriculture, dentistry, engineering, pharmacy, technology and veterinary medicine generally take four years, while architecture and medicine, it takes five and five and a half years respectively. There are other bachelor degrees in education, journalism and librarian-ship that are second degrees. Bachelor's degree in law can either be taken as an integrated degree lasting five years or three-year course as a second degree.

Master's degree is normally of two-year duration. It could be coursework based without thesis or research alone. Admission to postgraduate programmes in engineering and technology is done on the basis of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering or Combined Medical Test respectively.

A pre-doctoral programme - Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) is taken after completion of the Master's Degree. This can either be completely research based or can include course work as well. Ph.D. is awarded two year after the M.Phil. or three years after the Master's degree. Students are expected to write a substantial thesis based on original research generally takes longer.

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