Indians place a lot of importance on education. Competition is intense and begins with enrolling children in the best school and continues as the kid goes on to university and beyond. India still strives to reach 100% literacy level. Only one state in the south of the country, Kerala has achieved this distinction so far. The education system in India is broadly divided into primary, upper primary, secondary and upper secondary. Overall schooling lasts 12 years, following the 10 + 2 model. However, different states organise the first 10 years of education differently and even within schools, there are different schooling standards that are followed. The main standards governing schools are as follows:
Let's take a look at the main stages of the Indian education system.
Pre-primary: Pre-primary education in India is not a fundamental right, with a very low percentage of children receiving preschool educational facilities. This has led to a rush in the private sector to fill in this void. The private sector which caters to the relatively richer section of society has opened a number of kindergartens and schools. Provisions in these kindergartens are divided into two stages - lower kindergarten (LKG) and upper kindergarten (UKG). Typically, an LKG class would comprise children 3 to 4 years of age, and the UKG class would comprise children 4 to 5 years of age.
Primary school: This includes children in the age group of 6 to 11 years studying in classes from first to fifth grade.
Middle school: This generally refers to children studying in classes between fifth and eighth grade.
Secondary: This constitutes students in their ninth and tenth grade.
Higher secondary: Sometimes known as Pre-University (PUC), this refers to students in the 11th and 12th standard. Here, students choose a particular stream they wish to pursue upon entering an undergraduate programme.
Undergraduate: The next step in the education system, students specialise in a certain stream. Depending on their choice of subjects, undergraduate programmes can vary in duration from three to six years. For e.g., a Bachelor is Arts (B.A) will take three years to complete while a medical student can expect to attend classes for 4.5 years and an internship of another one year.
Postgraduate: Upon completion of an undergraduate programme, students can opt to specialise in a post graduate programme of their choice to further add to their qualifications.