Higher Education System in India
Behind China and the U.S., India’s higher education system is the third largest, with the University Grants Commission representing the main regulating body over tertiary institutions. Between 2000 and 2010, India constructed 20,000 universities and colleges that accepted over eight million students during that time. The fields of science and technology are heavily promoted by the Indian government at the college level, leading to several technological institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management to receive acclaim from global educational organizations. In addition, the All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi is considered one of the leading research centers for the advancement of medical technology and treatment methods.
Academic degrees awarded in India conform to the colonial British system, with bachelor and master degrees given as “arts” or “science” degrees. Doctorate degrees are also available for students who have completed the specified master’s program pertaining to their field of study. Admission to universities is based on the score earned by students taking the Higher Secondary School Certificate and is highly competitive in regards to the more prestigious universities operating in India. In fact, the All India Pre-Med Test is taken annually by 200,000 students, of which only 2000 are accepted.
International students desiring to earn a degree in India will need to show proof of successfully completing at least 12 years of secondary education in their country of origin. Students will also need to take the entrance exam and submit results to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. Direct admission to medical, dental and engineering degree programs is not permissible, regardless of the student’s past education credentials. However, other degree programs may not require foreign students to take the entrance exam. Instead, a student’s higher education entrance exam scores (such as the ACT or SAT given in the U.S.) may be used to qualify the student at certain technical colleges. Students interested in earning a degree in India should be aware of the fact that public universities do not accept students who are not citizens of India.
Tuition costs in India vary dramatically, with public universities being much less expensive than private universities because they are funded by the government. Indian citizens usually pay less than $100 a year to attend a public university or college. Private university fees can range from $400 to $25,000 a year, depending on the institution and type of degree program. Non-Indian students attending a private college are generally given preference over Indian students, mainly due to the fact they are more financially equipped to pay tuition costs.
Why Study in India?
Students wishing to study non-western music, religion, architecture, and art will find India the perfect place in which to learn in-depth about these subjects. Its diverse and fascinating culture is an irresistible blend of ancient and modern styles that attract liberal arts majors from all over the world. Additionally, India offers cutting-edge information technology degree programs for students interested in earning a highly valued bachelor’s or master’s degree related to the field of computers and IT.
The Republic of India occupies most of the subcontinent of India in southern Asia. It borders with China in the north-east. Other neighbors are Pakistan on the west, Nepal, and Bhutan on the north, and Burma and Bangladesh on the east. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world.
India is a South Asian country that is home to nearly a billion and a half people, the second largest population in the world after China. India’s maritime borders consist of the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal and its land shares borders with China, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Burma. Following dramatic changes in its market-based operations in the early 1990s, India rapidly developed into a prominent world economy, where it is now considered an innovative, industrialized nation holding the title of being the third biggest country in regards to PPP, or purchasing power parity. However, this accelerated growth has not addressed India’s deep and continuing issues with poverty, insufficient healthcare, illiteracy, malnutrition and corruption in police and government sectors.
The federal government of India is comprised of an executive, legislative and judicial branch, with the President of India acting as the head of state. The President is elected using an electoral college system and remains in power for five years. The Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President, is considered the head of government and maintains the highest level of executive power. The Indian legislative branch adheres to the Westminster-parliamentary style system of the rule due to the heavy influence of past British colonialism.
Although modernization of India is ongoing, traditional society remains sharply defined by the Indian caste system, a type of social stratification arrangement that inhibits the emancipated social interaction and mobility enjoyed by most developed countries. Social classes in India are designated as “castes”, with certain castes considered more elite than others. Although India has anti-discriminatory laws to prevent persecution and prejudice against the so-called lower castes, Indians living in rural areas are still subjected to discrimination and segregation in urban areas. Family values also continue to represent a significantly influential aspect of Indian tradition, with pre-arranged marriages between two families still the norm for most of Indian society. In addition, divorce is practically unheard of in Indian society and only allowed in extreme cases of abuse.
India is considered a “megadiverse” country and contains three regions called “biodiversity hotspots”. It is home to nine percent of all mammals living in the world and six percent of all flowering plants. Habitats range from coniferous forests in the Himalayas to tropical rainforests in Northeastern India and the Andaman Islands. The average high and low temperatures in India range from 75 degrees Fahrenheit to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius to 12 Celsius). However, larger cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi often bake under temperatures that remain as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius) for weeks at a time. Rainfall can be heavy in tropical climate areas, with humidity levels hovering around 80 percent.
Languages in India
India has no official language but Hindi is spoken by nearly half of India’s population. Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati are other languages that students may encounter while studying in India. English is spoken by many Indians and is considered India’s “second” language of choice. India also has many different languages that have been put on the “endangered language” list because the number of surviving speakers have dwindled to isolated pockets of villages existing in rural India.
Religions in India
Eighty percent of Indians practice Hinduism, a religion that scholars consider to be the world’s oldest living religion. Hindus believe in a variety of laws, daily morality, dharma, karma and reincarnation. Other religions found in the Indian society are primarily Christianity and Islam.
The official currency of India is the rupee, which is controlled and issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The Indian rupee is divided into 100 paise. Since 2011, only coins worth 50 paise are considered legal tender. Banknotes currently in circulation include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500.