Due to school reforms in the eighties, India’s pre-school and primary places have become more widely available. Compulsory school attendance for all children until the age of 14 was introduced in order to increase nationwide literacy and to provide skilled workers for India’s developing economy. Child labour is prohibited to ensure that every child gets a chance to study in school.
However, in reality only about 50 per cent of all school children actually go to school since only enrolment in schools is checked, but not school attendance.
The Indian education system
India’s education system is referred to as ten + two + three system. The first ten years of education are, theoretically, obligatory.
Children attend pre-primary schools as early as at the age of five. Pre-primary schools are supposed to prepare children for everyday school life and are followed by primary schools.
At the age of eleven students in India leave primary school and go to middle school. After four years, at the age of fourteen, they have to take exams in order to successfully finish middle school. At this point, the ten year compulsory education is finished.
Those students that want to continue their education have to go to a higher secondary school after middle school which lasts two years and prepares them for vocational colleges. Their programmes take three years and are more related to practice than universities. However, students can also enrol in a university programme after college.