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Growth of Higher Education System

There were only 20 Universities and 500 Colleges at the time of independence. As per Annual report 2007-08 of the Ministry of HRD (Govt. of India), 416 universities at present- 251 State Universities, 24 Central Universities, 103 Deemed Universities, 5 Institutions established under State Legislations and 33 Institute of National Importance established by Central Legislation. In addition, there are 20,677 college including around 2,166 women colleges. In academic year 2007-08, the total number of students enrolled in the Universities and colleges has been reported to be 116.13 lakhs. The regular faculty strength was 0.81 lakhs in universities and 4.24 lakhs in colleges totalling 5.05 lakhs in the beginning of the academic year 2007-08.

As per Knowledge Commission (Govt. Of India), minimum 1500 universities and 2 lakh college is required.


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 honors 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.

A 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.

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