Primary and Secondary Schools in India

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About Primary and Secondary Schools in India

India, the second largest country in the world by population, is considered to be one of the rising stars on the world economic stage, which some scholars say is the direct result of improvements made to its education system over the past 20 years.  During that time, not only did the quality of education improve, but access to the primary and secondary levels of education also increased.  Many new schools were built during the 1990s and 2000s, including hundreds in the more rural and remote regions of the country, offering education to a segment of the population that previously had little access due to distance and/or poverty.  Currently over 80 percent of children in India are enrolled in school (up from approximately 70 percent at the beginning of the 1990s), and because of that, the literacy rate has improved. 
Primary and Secondary Education in India 
The administration of the education system in India is the joint responsibility of the central and state government, with the state given the freedom to organize its educational programs within the national framework.  Educational policy planning falls under the direction of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which includes the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy and the Department of Secondary and Higher Education.  The Ministry is guided by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the national advisory board of which the ministers of each state make up the members.
Elementary or primary school education in India accounts for the first eight years of a student’s education, in grades 1-8.  This is further divided into lower elementary school, grades 1-5, and upper elementary school, grades 6-8.  In these grades students receive instruction in a variety of academic subjects (Language, Mathematics, Science, etc.), which becomes more advanced with each passing grade. 
Secondary school education in India is broken down into two distinct stages:  lower secondary school and upper secondary school.  Lower secondary school consists of two grades, grade 9 and grade 10, and is currently the final stage of a student’s compulsory education.  Those students who opt to attend upper secondary or high school, consisting of grades 11 and 12, have two options from which to choose:  general upper secondary school and vocational upper secondary school.  In the “general” program, the instruction students receive is wholly academic and much more advanced the education students receive in lower secondary school.  This could also be called the college preparatory track, as the classes at this level are designed to prepare students for university admittance.  The vocational track of upper secondary school offers a combination of basic general education and fairly broad vocational studies.  This track is aimed at preparing India’s youth to enter the workforce and contribute to the economy.
Despite the improvements to education and the growing government investment in the system, India still faces many educational challenges.  The illiteracy rate is approximately 25 percent, far higher than the majority of countries in the developed world, and only 15 percent of students actually reach upper secondary school, which as of now is an optional level of education.  Of those 15 percent only 7 percent will go on to receive a university degree. 
Recognizing that these dismal statistics, particularly those regarding upper secondary school enrollments, do not bode well for the future economic security of the country, the Indian government is preparing to implement a universal policy of secondary education.  The main aim is to provide high quality secondary education to all Indian adolescents up to the age of 16 by 2015, and upper secondary education to all Indian students up to the age of 18 by 2020.  This is definitely a step in the right direction and very necessary if, in the years to come, the country hopes to improve or even maintain their economic standing in the world.

List of Primary and Secondary Schools in India

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