About Higher Education in India

India has one of the largest Higher Education system in the world. There are a large number of Indian as well as foreign students who a pply every year to Indian universities and colleges. For all those who wish to study in India, it is very important to get prior and correct information about the courses that you would like to undertake, the university you want to apply to and how to go about the application procedure. For an international student, it is also important to know the accommodation facilities, weather conditions, food habits and cost of living in the city in which he or she intends to study.

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

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.

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 of Technical Education (AICTE)
• Medical Council of India (MCI)
• Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR)
• National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)
• Dental Council of India (DCI)
• Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)
• Indian Nursing Council (INC)
• Bar Council of India (BCI)
• Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH)
• Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM)
• Council of Architecture
• Distance Education Council
• Rehabilitation Council

Advantages of Studying in India

India is fast becoming a major economic power in the world today. And if its growth trend continues for some more years, it would soon be playing a major role in the world economy along with China. This itself has been a major cause of attraction for many international students. Moreover, India’s successful stint with democracy has also been a major magnetic force for scholars around the world. However, apart from knowing India well, there are some other advantages that are attracting students to study in India. Some of these are –

Low Cost:
The cost of education in India is quite low as compared to many other countries of the world.

Quality Education:
Government of India established statutory bodies to ensure quality of education in India. There are some educational institutes in India that provide world class education. Indian institute of technology, Indian institutes of management, Indian Institutes of Science, National Law Schools, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University are some such Institutes. The government of India is also speeding up the efforts to establish more such institutes that can offer quality education in India.

Consultation Service:
The government of India provides consultation service to the interested international students through Education Consultants of India (Ed.CIL). Thus one can get all the information about the Indian education system, cost of education, duration, visa, accommodation facilities even before landing up in India.

Unique Courses:
Apart from above mentioned advantages, one can also study some unique courses that were discovered and developed by the traditional knowledge system of India. Ayurveda, Sankrit, Yoga, Hindi are some such courses that enthuse many international sudents.

Structure of higher education in India

In the Indian system, higher education includes the education imparted after the 10+2 stage – ten years of primary and secondary education followed by two years of higher secondary education. The first degree, the Bachelor’s degrees, is obtained after three years study in the case of liberal arts, and four years in the case of most professional degrees (four and half in case of medicine and five/six years in case of law}. The Master’s program is usually of two years duration. The research degrees (M.Phil and Ph.D) take variable time depending upon the individual student.

The postgraduate degree programs involve 2 years of study after first degree. These include M.Tech, MD, MS and MDS programs that take 2 years after B.Tech and MBBS/BDS respectively.

The M.Phil. program, is of one and-half year duration. It is a preparatory program for doctoral level studies. PhD program is research study for 2 years and can take several years while D.Sc. and D.Litt. are awarded by some universities after PhD for original contributions.

In addition to the degree programs, a number of diploma and certificate programs are also available in universities. Their range is wide and they cover anything from poetics to computers. Some of them are undergraduate diploma programs and others postgraduate programs. The duration varies from one year to three years.

Universities, deemed universities and institutions of national importance are largely autonomous institutions entitled by law to design, develop and offer programs which they consider relevant and appropriate for the national needs. Colleges and other institutes in turn, are expected to be regulated by the Universities with which they are affiliated or associated. Given the wide reach and variety of institutions and programs of higher education, a number of professional, regulatory bodies and councils have been established to ensure proper development of higher education in the country in a coordinated manner.

Technical Education Overview

Technical Education plays a vital role in human resource development of the country by creating skilled manpower, enhancing industrial productivity and improving the quality of life. Technical Education covers courses and programmes in engineering, technology, management, architecture, town planning, pharmacy and applied arts & crafts, hotel management and catering technology.

The technical education system in the country can be broadly classified into three categories – Central Government funded institutions, State Government/State-funded institutions & Self-financed institutions. The 65 Centrally funded institution of technical and science education are as under:
• IITs – 15
• IIMs – 7
• IISc, Bangalore – 1
• IISERs – 5
• NITs – 20
• IIITs – 4
• NITTTRs – 4
• Total – 65

Besides the above, there are four Boards of Apprenticeship Training (BOATs).

The Central Government is also implementing the following schemes/programmes: –

(i) Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) assisted by the World Bank.

(ii) Indian National Digital Library for Science & Technology (INDEST).

There is one Public Sector Undertaking, namely, Educational Consultants India Ltd. (Ed.CIL) under the Ministry. There are also Apex Councils, namely the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Council of Architecture (COA).

Living in India

Living in India is very inexpensive. Most international students have a very comfortable and safe living experience for as low as US $ 150 per month. Like in any society, India offeres many cost options. There are 7 star, deluxe, newly built condominium complexes that cost a bundle and then there are safe, decent apartments in better neighbourhoods that rent for a reasonable amount. You can choose your option depending on your budget and your desired lifestyle.

Many of the colleges have a hostel or dormitory facility for their students. Most of these hostels are intended for Indian students who are on a budget and looking for economical housing. While they offer safe and comfortable living quarters, they may impose several restrictions on the lifestyles that some international students may be accustomed to. This option is recommended for those international students on a budget, and who are willing to sacrifice a bit on their lifestyle.

Students have the option of renting housing on their own. Students can rent an apartment on their own or share an apartment with other students.

Climate of India

The climate of India defies easy generalisation, comprising a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale and varied topography.

India’s unique geography and geology strongly influence its climate; this is particularly true of the Himalayas in the north and the Thar Desert in the northwest. The Himalayas act as a barrier to the frigid katabatic winds flowing down from Central Asia. Thus, North India is kept warm or only mildly cold during winter; in summer, the same phenomenon makes India relatively hot. Although the Tropic of Cancer—the boundary between the tropics and subtropics—passes through the middle of India, the whole country is considered to be tropical.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) designates four official seasons

Winter, occurring from December to early April. The year’s coldest months are December and January, when temperatures average around 10–15 °C (50–59 °F) in the northwest; temperatures rise as one proceeds towards the equator, peaking around 20–25 °C (68–77 °F) in mainland India’s southeast.

Summer or pre-monsoon season, lasting from April to June (April to July in northwestern India). In western and southern regions, the hottest month is April; for northern regions, May is the hottest month. Temperatures average around 32–40 °C (90–104 °F) in most of the interior.

Monsoon or rainy season, lasting from June to September. The season is dominated by the humid southwest summer monsoon, which slowly sweeps across the country beginning in late May or early June. Monsoon rains begin to recede from North India at the beginning of October. South India typically receives more precipitation.

Post-monsoon season, lasting from October to December. In northwestern India, October and November are usually cloudless. Tamilnadu receives most of its annual precipitation in the northeast monsoon season. The Himalayan states, being more temperate, experience an additional two seasons: autumn and spring. Traditionally, Indians note six seasons, each about two months long. These are the spring, summer, monsoon season, early autumn, late autumn, and winter. These are based on the astronomical division of the twelve months into six parts. The ancient Hindu calendar also reflects these seasons in its arrangement of months.

Languages in India

Language being the most important medium of communication and education, their development occupies and important place in the National Policy on Education and Programme of Action. Therefore, promotion and development of Hindi and other 22 languages listed in the schedule VIII of the Constitution including Sanskrit and Urdu on the one hand and English as well as the foreign languages on the other hand have received due attention. In fulfilling the constitutional responsibility, the Department of Higher Education is assisted by autonomous organization and subordinate offices.

Modern India, as per the 1961 Census, has more than 1652 mother tongues, genetically belonging to five different language families. The 1991 Census had 10,400 raw returns of mother tongues and they were rationalized into 1576 mother tongues. They are further rationalized into 216 mother tongues, and grouped under 114 languages: Austro-Asiatic (14 languages, with a total population of 1.13%), Dravidian (17 languages, with a total population of 22.53%), Indo-European (Indo-Aryan, 19 languages, with a total population of 75.28%, and Germanic, 1 language, with a total population of 0.02%), Semito-Harmitic (1 language, with a total population of 0.01%), and Tibeto-Burman (62 languages with a total population of 0.97%).It may be noted that mother tongues having a population of less than 10000 on all India basis or not possible to identify on the basis of available linguistic information have gone under ‘others’.

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