Education in India is a fundamental right and is mandatory for children.
The following is an overview of the education system in India, but please keep in mind that specifics vary from school to school.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the main organization for curriculum. NCERT supports Indian schools and enforces education policies. The National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) manage the education system and teacher accreditation.
Schools in India follow the standards set forth by a range of educational boards. The leading curriculum boards are:
- The state government boards – the majority of students are enrolled in schools controlled by state government boards.
- The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
- The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE)
- The National Institute of Open Schooling Board (NIOS)
- The International Baccalaureate Program or the Cambridge International Examinations
The vast majority of schools in India are funded and controlled by the public sector, on either federal, state, or local levels. This leaves only 5% of the schools to the private sector, which has an estimated worth of over $40 billion despite its small slice of the education market.
The Indian government focuses on the importance of elementary education. 80% of elementary schools are either government run or supported.
In recent years, initiatives to improve the education system has lead to higher school enrollment, partially due to a law that deems education free for children from age 6 to 14, but the quality of education is still problematic. There are serious issues with the Indian education system, including high pupil teacher ratios, poor teacher training, and lack of infrastructure.
For these reasons, most expats choose to enroll their children in one of several schools offering International Baccalaureate programs, referred to as IB schools. Please see the International School section for more information.
Only 15% of Indian students will reach the high school level, and merely 7% will graduate. The literacy rate in India is 66%, according to a 2001 survey. In Mumbai the literacy rate is higher than the national average at 77.5%.
The main language of instruction across Indian schools is Hindi, followed by English, then state languages.
Classes, also called Standards
Ages 3-4: Nursery
Age 5: Lower Kindergarten
Age 6: Upper Kindergarten
Age 7: Class 1
Age 8: Class 2
Age 9: Class 3
Age 10: Class 4
Age 11: Class 5
Age 12: Class 6
Age 13: Class 7
Age 14: Class 8
Age 15: Class 9
Age 16: Class 10
Age 17: Class 11
Class size varies from school to school, but is usually around 20 students per classroom.
Schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education administer mandatory, nationwide exams for students in Class 12. Schools following the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations give month long exams from the end of February to the end of March for students in Class 10 and Class 12.
Admission procedures vary from school to school. Visit the school’s website for a list of procedures or contact the school directly. Most schools require registration or enrollment fees, records from previous schools, and health and medical requirements, including proof of vaccinations. Some schools require entrance exams. Certain schools such as the American School of Bombay, require that the child be of foreign nationality.
The majority of schools in Mumbai offer extra curricular activities such as sports, music, and art because well-roundedness is considered important. The International schools in particular are known for a wide range of extra classes which can range from Bollywood dancing to pottery to chess.