AN OUTLINE OF THE INDIAN SCHOOL SYSTEM

The minimum age for admission in most states is 5, though in some it is 6.

Primary and Upper Primary education is compulsory but this is not a reality with only just over half of children between 6 and 14 attending school. The National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) is responsible for setting the curriculum for the period of compulsory education. Primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary schools are under the general jurisdiction of the states.

The medium of teaching is the mother tongue of the state or region. Where this language is not Hindi, most states make study of it compulsory. Study of English is also compulsory in all but one state though the grades at which it is compulsory vary.

AGE IN YEARS PHASE

0 to 2 CRECHE There is no educational provision at these institutions.

3 to 5 PRE-KINDERGARTEN AND KINDERGARTEN There are government and state-run centres available. Children learn games and group play activities. As they get older they begin to learn alphabets.

5 to 10 PRIMARY

(Grades I-V) Students study mathematics, mother tongues language, the art of healthy and productive living as well as environmental studies from grade III. Primary schools fall under the control of State Education Departments, having to abide by their standards in order to be recognised.

10 to 14 UPPER PRIMARY or MIDDLE SCHOOL

(Grades VI-VIII) Pupils study 3 languages, mathematics, science and technology, social studies as well as work, art and health and physical education. In some states there is a public examination at the end of this stage of schooling and a number of these schools are included with secondary schools.

14 to 16 SECONDARY

(Grades IX-X) Students study the same subjects as at upper primary but have a choice between their second and third languages. Secondary schools are affiliated to an examination board as all states have an exam at the end of secondary school but the age requirements vary – the restrictions can be 13+ to 16 + or none at all. The Indian Secondary School Certificate is roughly equivalent to GCSEs.
Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) Vocational courses lasting 1-2 years

16 to 18 HIGHER SECONDARY/ JUNIOR COLLEGE
(Grades XI-XII) Available in all states but, in some, these grades are attached to universities/colleges rather than schools. All states have an exam at the end of secondary school but the age requirements vary – the restrictions can be 16+ to 18 + or none at all. The senior Secondary Certificate is roughly equivalent to UK ‘AS’ levels.

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HELP is rare for an organisation offering volunteer teaching in that it puts the needs of the local people before the desires of the western person wanting ‘the experience’.
Alastair SkeffingtonSaraswatimata Yumahangma English School