Higher Education in India

India's higher education system is the third largest in the world, next to the United States and China. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission, which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the center and the state. Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.
Indian higher education system has expanded at a fast pace by adding nearly 20,000 colleges and more than 8 million students in a decade from 2000-01 to 2010-11. As of 2011, India has 42 central universities, 275 state universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 Institutes of National Importance. Other institutions include 33,000 colleges as Government Degree Colleges and Private Degree Colleges, including 1800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions as reported by the UGC in 2012. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology. Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes Distance learning and open education is also a feature of the Indian higher education system, and is looked after by the Distance Education Council Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest university in the world by number of students, having approximately 3.5 million students across the globe.
Some institutions of India, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institute of Technology (NITs) and Jawaharlal Nehru University have been globally acclaimed for their standard of education. The IITs enroll about 8000 students annually and the alumni have contributed to both the growth of the private sector and the public sectors of India. However, India still lacks internationally prestigious universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford.

The average number of affiliated colleges per university is 300. For example Manipal University has 901 colleges affiliated to it while 811 colleges are attached to Pune University.Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj University , Nagpur has 800 colleges with it and Rajasthan University as well as Mumbai University have 735 and 711 colleges attached to them. This phenomenon negatively affects the academic quality of the University.

At school level, National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) provides opportunities for continuing education to those who missed completing school education. 14 lakh students are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level through open and distance learning.. In 2012 Various state government also introduce "STATE OPEN SCHOOL" to provide distance education.
At higher education level, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) co-ordinates distance learning. It has a cumulative enrolment of about 15 lakhs, serviced through 53 regional centres and 1,400 study centres with 25,000 counsellors. The Distance Education Council (DEC), an authority of IGNOU is co-coordinating 13 State Open Universities and 119 institutions of correspondence courses in conventional universities. While distance education institutions have expanded at a very rapid rate, but most of these institutions need an up gradation in their standards and performance. There is a large proliferation of courses covered by distance mode without adequate infrastructure, both human and physical. There is a strong need to correct these imbalances.
Arjun Singh Centre for Distance and Open Learning, Manipal University University was established with the assistance of Distance Education Council . Major objectives of the Centre is to provide opportunities for higher education to those who are not able to draw benefits from formal system of education. The Open Learning System allows a learner to determine his pace of learning and provides education at the doorstep of the learner. The mode of transaction is through self-learning print material, supplemented by audio and video programmes. It has further scope of students accessing material through internet and various other media.

In addition to above institutes, efforts towards the enhancement of technical education are supplemented by a number of recognized Professional Engineering Societies such as
  1. Institution of Mechanical Engineers (India)
  2. Institution of Engineers (India)
  3. Institution of Chemical Engineering (India)
  4. Institution of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineers (India)
  5. Indian Institute of Metals
  6. Institution of Industrial Engineers (India)
  7. Institute of Town Planners (India)
  8. Indian Institute of Architects
  9. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
  10. The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport - India .
that conduct Engineering/Technical Examinations at different levels(Degree and diploma) for working professionals desirous of improving their technical qualifications.