Levels or Stages of Education in India today
Education in India follows a uniform structure of school education which is known as the 10+2 system. This system is being followed by all Indian States and Union Territories. But not all of them follow a distinct pattern as per the system.
1. Pre Primary Stage – Pre primary education in India is provided to children between 3–6 years by Kindergarten, Playway or Play Schools. These schools have varying terminology for different levels of classes, beginning from – Pre-Nursery, Nursery, KG, LKG (Lower Kindergarten) and UKG (Upper Kindergarten). Most of the pre-primary education in India is provided by private schools.
2. The Primary Stage – Primary education in India offered by both private and government schools usually consist of students aged between 5 to 12 years. The duration of study in this stage is 4-5 years. Common subjects include English, Hindi, Mathematics, Environmental Science and General Knowledge. Sometimes also termed as Elementary Education, it is free in government schools but it is paid in the private schools. The Government has made elementary education compulsory for children between the age group of years 6 and 14. Most of the primary education provided by primary schools in India is imparted from class 1st to class 4th or 5th. Some of the states/UTs which follow 1st to 5th class of primary education are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Karaikal and Yanam regions of Pondicherry etc. Some of the states/UTs which follow 1st to 4th classes of primary education are Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Mahe region of Pondicherry
3) The Middle Stage – Middle stage of education covering 3-4 years of academic study is formed by 5th-8thclass consisting of students aged between 12 to 14 years. The schools which impart education up till 8th class are known with various names like – High School, Senior School. Some of the states/UTs which follow 5th -7th class of middle stage are Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep etc. Some of the states/UTs which follow 6th -8th class of middle stage are Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi etc.
4) The Secondary Stage – Secondary Stage of education covering 2-3 years of academic study starts with classes 8th-10th. consisting of students aged between 14-16 years. The schools which impart education up till 10th class are known as Secondary Schools, High Schools, Senior Schools etc. Some of the states/UTs which follow 8th -10th class of secondary stage are Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep etc. Some of the states/UTs which follow 9th -10th class of secondary stage are Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi, Karaikal region of Pondicherry etc.
5) Senior Secondary Stage – Senior Secondary Education in India is of only 2 years. There is uniformity on this level of education in terms of duration and classes i.e. all the States/UTs follow this 10+2 pattern. Senior Secondary Schools in India include classes 11th to 12th. consisting students aged between 16-18 years. At this level of education students have the freedom to choose their preferred stream and subjects. They can pursue Arts, Commerce, Science (medical & non medical). The schools which provide education up till 12th class are commonly known as Senior Secondary Schools or Higher Secondary Schools. Some universities and colleges also offer the education of these classes.
6) Undergraduate Stage – Undergraduate education in India is of 3-4 years. Undergraduate stage of education is also known as higher education in India. Students studying in this level, generally begin their education from 18 onwards. As per one estimate 88% of undergraduate education is provided by Colleges in India. Majority of the undergraduate courses of 3 years duration belong to field of arts, humanities, science etc. and majority of 4 years of duration belong to the field of agriculture, engineering, pharmaceutical sciences technology. However, there are courses belonging to fields of architecture, law and medicine whose duration is 5 years.
7) Postgraduate Stage – Postgraduate education in India is of 2-3 years. Postgraduate stages of courses are known as Masters courses or Doctorate courses. Masters course are usually of 2 years duration and doctorate (research) courses are of 3 years duration. Also referred as higher education, 56% of post-graduate education is imparted through colleges. PG education in India is largely provided by universities in India. PG education caters largely to a specific field or sub field of any preferred discipline. Thus, one can specialise in any of preferred subjects at this level. Those who are interested in conducting large amount of research work pursue these courses.
Adult Education in India – Adult Education in India comes under the purview of the Department of School Education and Literacy. The Bureau of Adult Education and National Literacy Mission under the Department functions as the Secretariat of the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA). National Literacy Mission was set up on 5th May,1988 to impart a new sense of urgency and seriousness to adult education. The Directorate of Adult Education provides necessary technical and resource support to the NLMA.
Distance Education in India – Distance education provided by institutes is controlled by the Distance Education Council of India. Distance education is helpful to those who cannot join regular schools or colleges. At the school level, National Institute of Open Schooling offers education through distance learning. While, at the college or university level, Open universities provides distance education. Distance education can also be pursued online via internet. Some like the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) provides online education through – BITS Virtual University.
Homeschooling in India – Homeschooling isn’t widespread in India and neither it is widely accepted. This type of alternative education It is considered for handicapped or those who are unable to attend regular school due to various factors. While some use Montessori method, Unschooling, Radical Unschooling, Waldorf education or School-at-home. Others prefer CBSE, NIOS or NOS and IGCSE prescribed syllabus.