Universal and equal education has always been a priority in free India. This is reflected in the fact that the article 45 of the constitution of India, dictates that all children between the age of 6-14 are to have compulsory education. The Central government of India suggests programmes and policies to State Governments who are then free to implement them with a lot of freedom. The Central Advisory Board of Education a government organization set up in 1935, plays an important role is the growing and monitoring of various educational programmes and policies.
In India, there are four levels of school systems. Lower primary for age 6 to 10, followed by upper primary for ages 11 and 12, then higher primary for ages 13 through 15 and finally higher secondary for those aged 17 and 18. There are a total of 10 “standards”, 5 in lower primary, 2 in upper primary, 3 in high school and lastly 2 in higher secondary. Almost all throughout the country, children in various schools at least 3 languages, namely, English, Hindi and the regional language or their mother-tongue. There are various educational boards in India that will guide a student through their initial stages of education till the 12th class. These include the state boards of all the states in India, the CBSE or Central Board of Secondary Education board, the National Institute of Open Schooling, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations or CISCE board, IB or International Baccalaureate board or even Islamic Madrasah schools
There are also many types of schools in India. The most common schools are government funded ones. These, while ubiquitous, are known for their inadequate infrastructure, badly trained staff and lack of resources. The next most common schools are private schools. These are run by private enterprises are are generally much better equipped to deal with a student’s growth. Thirdly there are international schools in all major Indian cities. The next type is the national open schools. These provide education to those children whose schooling was stopped midway and are not able to proceed further with their formal education. Finally, special needs schools exist for those children with disabilities. Such schools focus more on vocational skills than academic training.
Most schools in India are criticized for their strong academic only focus, with little or no extra curricular activities and negligible scope for creativity. Traditional schools tend to focus more on memorization and rote learning, and hence most expats and middle class people prefer sending their kids to international schools or at least a more forward thinking Indian school.