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Higher education in India

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Title: Higher education in India  
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Subject: Education in India, Higher education in India, Central University, India, Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, National Board of Accreditation
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Higher education in India

IIM Calcutta's Auditorium
The Auditorium at Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, in the city of Kolkata (West Bengal).

Institute Main Building of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT K) in the city of Kharagpur (West Bengal)

India's higher education system is the third largest in the world, next to the United States and China.[1] The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission, which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state.[2] Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.[3]

Indian higher education system has expanded at a fast pace by adding nearly 20,000 colleges and more than 8 million students in a decade from 2000-01 to 2010-11.[4] As of 2011, India has 42 central universities, 275 state universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 Institutes of National Importance.[2][5][6][7][8][9] Other institutions include 33,000 colleges as Government Degree Colleges and Private Degree Colleges, including 1800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions as reported by the UGC in 2012. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology.[10] Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes.[11] Distance learning and open education is also a feature of the Indian higher education system, and is looked after by the Distance Education Council.[11] Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest university in the world by number of students, having approximately 3.5 million students across the globe.[12][13][14]

Some institutions of India, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institute of Technology (NITs), International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H), University of Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru University have been globally acclaimed for their standard of education.[11][15][16][17] The IITs enroll about 8000 students annually and the alumni have contributed to both the growth of the private sector and the public sectors of India.[18] However, India still lacks internationally prestigious universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford.[19]


Universities in India have evolved in divergent streams with each stream monitored by an apex body, indirectly controlled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and funded jointly by the state governments. Most universities are administered by the States, however, there are 18 important universities called Central Universities, which are maintained by the Union Government. The increased funding of the central universities give them an advantage over their state competitors.

Apart from the several hundred state universities, there is a network of research institutions that provide opportunities for advanced learning and research leading up to a PhD in branches of science, technology and agriculture. Several have won international recognition. 25 of these institutions come under the umbrella of the CSIR - Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and over 60 fall under the ICAR - Indian Council of Agricultural Research. In addition, the DAE - Department of Atomic Energy, and other ministries support various research laboratories.

The Indian Institutes of Technology are among the most prestigious institutions within the hard sciences. Indian Institute of Science is the premier research institute in the field of science and engineering. There are several thousand colleges (affiliated to different universities) that provide undergraduate science, agriculture, commerce and humanities courses in India. Amongst these, the best also offer post graduate courses while some also offer facilities for research and PhD studies.

Technical education has grown rapidly in recent years. With recent capacity additions, it now appears that the nation has the capability to graduate over 500,000 engineers (with 4-yr undergraduate degrees) annually, and there is also a corresponding increase in the graduation of computer scientists (roughly 50,000 with post-graduate degree). In addition, the nation graduates over 1.2 million scientists. Furthermore, each year, the nation is enrolling at least 350,000 in its engineering diploma programs (with plans to increase this by about 50,000). Thus, India's annual enrollment of scientists, engineers and technicians now exceeds 2 million.

2008 data from Maharashtra's Higher Secondary Board reveals that .87 million passed the school leaving exam and enrolled in college for undergraduate studies. Adding enrolment in polytechnic programs and graduates from other boards puts Maharashtra's total at close to a million and its college enrolment ratio at roughly 39%. States like Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Kerala also have comparably high tertiary enrollment ratios. In Andhra Pradesh, the tertiary enrolment rate is now approaching 25%.

Across the country, tertiary enrollment rates have been increasing at a rate between 5-10% in the last decade, which has led to a doubling of the tertiary enrolment rate to near 20%. (However, outdated government data does not yet capture this trend, which can be seen from analyzing individual state data.)[20]

International league tables produced in 2006 by the London-based Times Higher Education Supplement(THES) confirmed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)'s place among the world's top 200 universities.[21] Likewise, THES 2006 ranked JNU's School of Social Sciences[22] at the 57th position among the world's top 100 institutes for social sciences.

The University of Calcutta was the first multi-disciplinary university of modern India. According to The Times Higher Education Supplement's survey of the world's top arts and humanities universities, dated November 10, 2005, this university, ranked 39, was the only Indian university to make it to the top 50 list in that year. Other research institutes are the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, the Asiatic Society, and the Indian Statistical Institute.

The National Law School of India University is highly regarded, with some of its students being awarded Rhodes Scholarships to Oxford University, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is consistently rated the top medical school in the country.[23] Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are the top management institutes in India.[24]

The private sector is strong in Indian higher education. This has been partly as a result of the decision by the Government to divert spending to the goal of universalisation of elementary education. Within a decade different state assemblies has passed bills for private universities, including Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Amity University, Xavier Labour Relations Institute and many more.


Indian law requires that universities be accredited unless created through an act of Parliament. Without accreditation, the government notes, "These fake institutions have no legal entity to call themselves as University/Vishwvidyalaya and to award ‘degree’ which are not treated as valid for academic/employment purposes."[25] The University Grants Commission Act 1956 explains,

"the right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act carlo bon tempo, or a State Act, or an Institution deemed to be University or an institution specially empowered by an Act of the Parliament to confer or grant degrees. Thus, any institution which has not been created by an enactment of Parliament or a State Legislature or has not been granted the status of a Deemed to be University, is not entitled to award a degree."[25]

Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission:[26]

Graduation market

This is a chart of[27] India as per Census 2001.
Degree Holders
Total 37,670,147
Post-graduate degree other than technical degree 6,949,707
Graduate degree other than technical degree 25,666,044
Engineering and technology 2,588,405
Teaching 1,547,671
Medicine 768,964****
Agriculture and dairying 100,126
Veterinary 99,999
Other 22,588

Rashtriya Uchattar Shiksha Abhiyan

A total of 316 state public universities and 13,024 colleges will be covered under the Rashtriya Uchattar Shiksha Abhiyan, a plan to manage funding for higher education.[28]


The University of Mumbai was ranked 41 among the Top 50 Engineering Schools of the world by America's news broadcasting firm Business Insider in 2012 and was the only university in the list from the five emerging BRICS nations viz Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.[29] It was ranked at 62 in the QS BRICS University rankings for 2013 [16] and was India's 3rd best Multi Disciplinary University in the QS University ranking of Indian Universities after University of Calcutta and Delhi University.[17] Three Indian universities were listed in the Times Higher Education list of the world’s top 200 universities — Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, and Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2005 and 2006.[30] Six Indian Institutes of Technology and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science - Pilani were listed among the top 20 science and technology schools in Asia by Asiaweek.[31] The Indian School of Business situated in Hyderabad was ranked number 12 in global MBA rankings by the Financial Times of London in 2010[32] while the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been recognized as a global leader in medical research and treatment.[33] The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings published in 2013 ranked IIT Delhi at number 222 with a 49.4% score, IIT Bombay at 233, and IIT Kanpur at 295. No Indian universities appear in the top 200 worldwide.[34]

=== Latest Ranking of Indian Central Universities == [35]
SI.No. Name of University
01. University of Delhi
02. Jawaharlal Nehru University
03. Aligarh Muslim University
04. Pondicherry University
05. University of Hyderabad
06. North Eastern Hill University
07. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
08. Assam University
09. Tezpur University
10. Visva Bharati
11. Nagaland University
12. Jamia Millia Islamia
13. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University
14. Manipur University
15. Mizoram University
16. Rajiv Gandhi University
17. Sikkim University
18. Tripura University
19. Indira Gandhi National Tribal University
20. Central University of Bihar
21. Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya
22. Central University of Gujarat
23. Central University of Haryana
24. Central University of Himachal Pradesh
25. Central University of Kashmir
26. Central University of Jharkhand
27. Central University of Karnataka
28. Central University of Kerala
29. Dr. Harisingh Gaur Vishwa Vidyalaya
30. Central University of Orissa
31. Central University of Punjab
32. Central University of Tamil Nadu
33. Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University
34. Central University of Jammu
35. Maulana Azad National Urdu University
36. Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya * Hindi Vishwavidyalaya
37. The English and Foreign Languages University


Driven by market opportunities and entrepreneurial zeal, many institutions are taking advantage of the lax regulatory environment to offer 'degrees' not approved by Indian authorities, and many institutions are functioning as pseudo non-profit organisations, developing sophisticated financial methods to siphon off the 'profits'.[37][38] Regulatory authorities like UGC and AICTE have been trying to extirpate private universities that run courses with no affiliation or recognition. Students from rural and semi urban background often fall prey to these institutes and colleges.[39] One the fundamental weaknesses of the system is lack of transparency and recommendations have been made to mandate high standards of data disclosures by institutions on performance.[40]

See also


  1. ^ "India Country Summary of Higher Education". World Bank. 
  2. ^ a b India 2009: A Reference Annual (53rd edition), 237
  3. ^ 'Higher Education'', National Informatics Centre, Government of India"'". Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  4. ^ "Latest Statistics on Indian Higher Education". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  5. ^ "Central Universities". Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "List of State Universities" (PDF). 27 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  7. ^ ":::Deemed University - University Grants Commission :::". 23 June 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  8. ^ ":::Private Universities - University Grants Commission :::". 1 August 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "The Institutes of National Importance" (PDF). 
  10. ^ Blackwell, 95–96
  11. ^ a b c Blackwell, 96
  12. ^ National Network of Education (2008-10-06). "‘Mobile Study Centres have increased student participation’ - IGNOU VC, Universities News - By". Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  13. ^ "» Ignou :: Education, Careers & Professional News". Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  14. ^ "Profile of IGNOU - Preamble". Retrieved 2011-05-03. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ Vrat, 230-231
  19. ^ India doesn't figure in world top-100 universities, Press Trust of India via, 2010-09-12
  20. ^
  21. ^ THES, "The World's Top 200 Universities", The Times Higher Education Supplement, 6 October 2006. (Subscription is necessary to get access to much of THES content)
  22. ^ THES, "Top 100 in Social Sciences", The Times Higher Education Supplement, 27 October 2006.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b Central Universities
  26. ^ Higher Education
  27. ^ Indian Census
  28. ^ "Govt launches Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan for bouldering Higher Education". Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Times Higher Education". Times Higher Education. 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  31. ^ "Asia's Best Science and Technology Schools". 2000-06-22. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  32. ^ "MBA global Top 100 rankings - FT". Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  33. ^ "Medical Meccas: An Oasis for India's Poorest | Newsweek Health for Life |". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  34. ^ "A study in apathy". September 11, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Ranking of Higher Educational Institution: Guidelines and parameters". July 29, 2014. 
  36. ^ Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "PM’s address at the 150th Anniversary Function of University of Mumbai". 
  37. ^ "A crisis of confidence in higher education?". 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  38. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica
  39. ^ , Think Ahead.Fake and Cheat Universities in India
  40. ^ "Transparency for a Change in Higher Education". 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
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