Children in school

The Facts of Education System in India


The Indian school system is composed of five levels:




-Upper primary


All five levels have the status of a legal right for all Indian citizens under the 86th Amendment (2002) of the Constitution.


Pre-school kid in class

Pre-school kid in class


Students enter the school system between the ages of 2 and 5 at the pre-nursery level.  At this level, they receive a very basic, and necessary, education.  They then continue to the kindergarten level between the ages of 3 to 6.  This level is divided into LKG (lower kindergarten) and UKG (upper kindergarten).  At this level, the students build upon their foundation in preparation for primary school.

See Also:

The Problems Within Education in India

Everything You Need to Know About Education in India

Next, the students enter their 10-year compulsory education.  During this stage, they receive an iron foundation of education that will prepare them for anything they wish to tackle in life.  These ten years consist of five years of primary education, three years of upper primary education, and two years of high school.  After this level, there are the higher secondary (2 years), undergraduate (3 or more years), and graduate/postgraduate levels.


Children in a Primary Education School

Children in a Primary Education School


Schools within the system are generally categorized as falling under the control of SSLC (a state government board), CBSE ( the central board of secondary education), CISC (the council for Indian school certificate examinations board), a national open school, or an international school.

Indian schools have similar key components within their curriculum, but each has their own unique goals, approach, and facilities.  Some of the ways they differ are in areas like the language of instruction for specific subjects, breadth, teaching styles, extracurricular activities, and more.  International schools are those purported to follow a “western” model, which is interesting because that cannot be defined.


Canadian International School Building

Canadian International School Building


International schools are also much more expensive than Indian schools.  It is fair to say that international schools exist primarily for foreigners (or Indians of foreign blood who refuse to assimilate) working  in India who do not want to send their children to Indian schools.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is India’s official government statistics body.  It consists of two wings: the National Statistics Office (NSO) wing and the Programme Implementation wing.  Statistics are compiled utilizing the offices of each wing and the National Statistical Commission.


National Statistics Office in Manila

National Statistics Office in Manila


The information below was culled from the publication, “Educational Statistics At a Glance” from the Ministry of Human Resources Development Bureau of Planning, Monitoring, and Statistics, New Delhi.  All information is current as of June 2015.


 Public Expenditure on Education by Education and Other


Departments by Sector – 2010-2011


Sector Expenditure on Education Expenditure as Percentage of
States/UTs Centre Total State/UTs Centre Total
Elementary 92337.49 31213.32 123550.81 1.27 0.43 1.7
Secondary 64220.73 7137.63 71358.36 0.89 0.1 0.98
Uni & Higher 38489.77 24164.41 62654.18 0.53 0.33 0.86
Adult 361.85 470.53 832.38 0 0.01 0.01
Technical 17407.67 17674.85 35082.52 0.24 0.24 0.48
Total 212817.51 80660.74 293478.25 2.94 1.11 4.05


Public Expenditure on Education by Education and Other


Departments by Sector – 2012-2013


Sector Expenditure on Education Expenditure as Percentage of
States/UTs Centre Total State/UTs Centre Total
Elementary 128228.1 41022.25 169250.35 1.37 0.44 1.8
Secondary 88376.15 10468.61 98844.76 0.94 0.11 1.05
Uni & Higher 50820.02 32739.21 83559.23 0.54 0.35 0.89
Adult 479.05 709.42 1188.47 0.01 0.01 0.01
Technical 26109.87 24283.82 50393.69 0.28 0.26 0.54
Total 294013.19 109223.31 403236.5 3.13 1.16 4.29


The tables above detail government spending on education in India across all levels.  The table indicates a substantial increase in spending in each area in the space of just a few years.  This suggests that the governing bodies of education are aware of the issues and needs within education and are actively working to resolve them, which includes increased spending.

Literacy Rates


Census Year Persons Males Females
1951 18.3 27.2 8.9
1961 28.3 40.4 15.4
1971 34.5 46 22
1981 43.6 56.4 29.8
1991 52.2 64.1 39.3
2001 64.8 75.3 53.7
2011 73 80.9 64.6


The table above tracks literacy rates by decade.  It shows that literacy rates have more than tripled since 1951.  It suggests that reforms, initiatives, and spending on education in India have supported effective programs.

As Kartikeya Sharma iTV aptly points out, this also shows that governing bodies must devote more attention to the issue of gender in education because there are problematic differences between literacy rates of women and men, however, there is obvious improvement in this area and the gains among females in each decade are quite similar to the gains among males.


Number of Recognised Educational Institutions


Level/Year Primary Upper Primary Secondary Senior Secondary Colleges University
1950-51 2097 136 N/A 74 578 27
1960-61 3304 497 N/A 173 1819 45
1970-71 4084 906 N/A 371 3277 82
1980-81 4945 1186 N/A 516 6963 110
1990-91 5609 1515 N/A 798 5748 184
2000-01 6387 2063 877 384 10152 254
2005-06 7726 2885 1060 536 16982 350
2006-07 7849 3056 1122 574 19812 371
2007-08 7878 3252 1138 592 23099 406
2008-09 7788 3656 1221 642 27882 440
2009-10 8199 3941 1222 716.8 25938 436
2010-11 7485 4476 1312 720.46 32974 621
2011-12 7143 4788 1283 841.33 34852 642
2012-13 8359 4103 1036 1195.8 35829 665


The table above details the quantity of educational institutions across all levels.  It indicates that there have been dramatic and consistent increases in the numbers of various institutions with the exception of  senior secondary institutions, which have apparently experienced reform and a reevaluation of their viability.

It also appears that though those institutions were apparently questionable fifteen years ago, they have come to be viewed as viable, and have received the same investment as other institutions.  Dramatic increases in institutions suggest that government bodies and private investors are working to satisfy the demands of students and that students consider the institutions to be sound.

Data collected over many decades has shown that private investors and government bodies are aggressively improving the quality and accessibility of education in India with a clear focus on the specific needs of India culturally, economically, and socially.


V-Excel Educational Trust headquartered in Chennai

V-Excel Educational Trust headquartered in Chennai


The tangible gains of education in India are apparent to investors all over the world, and the education market is quickly becoming private worldwide.  Indians are a global professional force and are some of the most sought after talent in the world, and this is a result of hard work and the quality and nature of Indian education.

This reality will result in even more dramatic gains within the Indian education market and in the development of students in the coming decades because investors know that Indian education is a safe bet.


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