Education history of ancient India is glorified by the existence of Takshila, Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities when there was no University in any country of Europe. Contribution of Bhaskaracharya and Arya Bhatta to the store of scientific knowledge of the world has also been appreciated by the whole world.

India has one of the largest ‘Higher Education System in the world. The main players in the higher education system in the country are:

UNIVERSITY GRANTS COMMISSION is a re commendatory body set up by the central government to make suggestions for improvement in the higher education system in the country. It also disburses financial grants as per norms and benchmarks to Universities and Colleges. UGC maintains Universities and Colleges. UGC maintains a list of courses with eligibility and duration that are called “nomenclature”, this has to be adhered to by all Universities while conducting programs and awarding degrees.

UNIVERSITY is an autonomous body established under the state or central legislative act and affiliates a college. Only a University can award a degree but as per the nomenclature of the course recognized by UGC. University does not require any permission from UGC or AICTE before starting a course.

At present three types of universities in India:
(1) Central Universities
(2) State Universities
(3) Deemed to be Universities

COLLEGE is an institution to deliver education and has to be affiliated to a University so as to conduct degree programs. In case of a Professional Degree College, respective professional council approval is required.

AUTONOMOUS COLLEGE is an institute to deliver education with academic and operational freedom.

STUDY CENTER is an institute to deliver education under the distance education mode and has to be affiliated to a University.

Professional Councils are responsible for recognition of courses, promotion of professional institutions and providing grants to undergraduate program 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 Twenty Four (24) Central Universities in the country. In pursuance of the Plan XI, Central Government is planned to establish of 16 Central University in states which have no Central University at present. There are 89 Institutions, which have been declared as Deemed to be Universities by the Govt. of India as per Section of the UGC Act, 1956.
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).

Special Constitutional responsibility of the Central Government: Education is on the ‘Concurrent list’ subject to Entry 66 in the Union List of the Constitution. This gives exclusive Legislative Power to the Central Govt. for co-ordination and determination of standards in Institutions of higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.