Main players in the higher education system in the country

       University Grants Commission (UGC) is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards, release of grants to the universities.

       Professional Councils are responsible for recognition of courses, promotion of professional institutions and providing grants to undergraduate programmes and various awards.

The statutory professional councils are:

         All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)

         Distance Education Council (DEC)

         Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR)

         Bar Council of India (BCI)

         National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)

         Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI)

         Medical Council of India (MCI)

         Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)

         Indian Nursing Council (INC)

         Dentist Council of India (DCI)

         Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH)

         Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM)

         Central Government is responsible for major policy relating to higher education in the country. It provides grants to the UGC and establishes central universities in the country. The Central Government is also responsible for declaration of Educational Institutions as 'Deemed to be University' on the recommendation of the UGC.

Presently there are sixteen (16) Central Universities in the country. In pursuance of the Mizoram Accord, another Central University in the State of Mizoram is planned. There are 37 Institutions which have been declared as Deemed to be Universities by the Govt. of India as per Section of the UGC Act, 1956.

IN C E N T R A L   U N I V E R S I T I E S

President of India is the Visitor of all Central Universities.

President/Visitor nominates some members to the Executive Committee/Board of Management/Court/Selection Committees of the University as per the provisions made in the relevant University Act.

Ministry provides secretariat service for appointment of Vice-Chancellor/Executive Committee Nominees/Court Nominees/Selection Committee Nominees etc. by the President.

         State Governments are responsible for establishment of State Universities and colleges, and provide plan grants for their development and non-plan grants for their maintenance.
The coordination and cooperation between the Union and the States is brought about in the field of education through the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).

Academic Qualification Framework - Degree Structure


There are three principle levels of qualifications within the higher education system in the country. These are:

         Bachelor / Undergraduate level

         Master's / Post-graduate level

         Doctoral / Pre-doctoral level

Diploma courses are also available at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. At the undergraduate level, it varies between one to three years in length, postgraduate diplomas are normally awarded after one year's study.

Bachelor's degree in arts, commerce and sciences is three years of education (after 12 years of school education). In some places there are honours and special courses available. These are not necessarily longer in duration but indicate greater depth of study. Bachelor degree in professional field of study in agriculture, dentistry, engineering, pharmacy, technology and veterinary medicine generally take four years, while architecture and medicine, it takes five and five and a half years respectively. There are other bachelor degrees in education, journalism and librarian-ship that are second degrees. Bachelor's degree in law can either be taken as an integrated degree lasting five years or three-year course as a second degree.

Master's degree is normally of two-year duration. It could be coursework based without thesis or research alone. Admission to postgraduate programmes in engineering and technology is done on the basis of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering or Combined Medical Test respectively.

Pre-doctoral programme - Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) is taken after completion of the Master's Degree. This can either be completely research based or can include course work as well.

Ph.D. is awarded two year after the M.Phil. or three years after the Master's degree. Students are expected to write a substantial thesis based on original research generally takes longer.

New Initiatives in Higher Education

Vocationalization at the First Degree Level

In conformity with the National Policy on Education, 1986, a scheme to provide career orientation to education at the first degree level was launched in 1994-95. Under the scheme, a university / college could introduce one to three vocational courses in 35 identified subjects.

National Eligibility Test (NET) is being conducted by the UGC since 1989 for eligibility for lectureship. Around 50000 students appear for the test every year. Pass percentage is around 5%. Eight State level Tests have been accredited at par with NET.

System of Governance of Higher Education Institutions
The Universities are various kinds:

        With a single faculty or multi-faculties

        Teaching or affiliating or teaching cum affiliating

        Single campus or multiple campus

Most of the Universities are affiliating universities, which prescribe to the affiliated colleges the course of study, hold examinations and award degrees, while undergraduate and to some extent post the colleges affiliated to them impart graduate instruction. Many of the universities along with their affiliated colleges have grown rapidly to the extent of becoming unmanageable. Therefore, as per National Policy on Education, 1986, a scheme of autonomous colleges was promoted.


Autonomous Colleges

138 colleges have been functioning as autonomous colleges in eight states in the country.

In the autonomous colleges, whereas the degree continues to be awarded by the University, the name of the college is also included. The colleges develop and propose new courses of study to the university for approval. They are also fully responsible for conduct of examination. There are at present 126 autonomous colleges in the country.