Study Notes on Evolution of Higher Education

By Sakshi Ojha|Updated : June 5th, 2023

The UGC NET examination is conducted twice a year by NTA. Paper-1 has ten units and each unit has equal weightage in the examination. The most important topics in UGC net environment, logical reasoning, teaching aptitude, research aptitude, communication, ICT, higher education. The UGC NET examination is conducted twice a year by NTA. Paper-1 has ten units and each unit has equal weightage in the examination. The most important topics in UGC net environment, logical reasoning, teaching aptitude, research aptitude, communication, ICT, and higher education.


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  • India's higher education system is the world's third-largest in terms of students, next to China and the United States.
  • India's Higher Education sector has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of Universities/University level Institutions & Colleges since independence.
  •  Private players account for 60% of the total institutes and 64% of total enrolment of students
  • The higher education sector in India has a three-tier structure comprising the university, college and course.


  • Education in India dates back to its early civilization where the teaching and learning process revolved around the ‘Gurukul System’.
  • It was a residential concept wherein the students were educated under the guidance of a “Guru” in different areas of religion, philosophy and science. 
  • These centers had a remarkable resemblance to the later European medieval universities
  • Invasions and disorder in the country obscured the  initial education system in India
  • Islamic influences enriched the traditional learning centers and brought in the disciplines of Geography, Administration, Law, and Arabic Mathematics to India
  • A major change in higher education was brought by the British established ,which focused on languages, literature, history, and philosophy.

Evolution of higher learning and research in Post Independence India

  • India got independence in 1947, and the higher education system in India grew rapidly after that
  • There was remarkable improvement in scientific and technological education and research
  • The new constitution adopted by India did not change the overall administrative policy of the country.
  • Education continued to be the prime responsibility of the state governments
  • Union government has the responsibility for the coordination of educational facilities and the maintenance of appropriate standards in higher education and research and in scientific and technical education.

From 1947 the government of India appointed three important commissions for suggesting educational reforms

  • The University Education Commission of 1949  :
    Recommendations regarding the reorganization of courses, techniques of evaluation, media of instruction, student services, and the recruitment of teachers. 
  • The Secondary Education Commission of 1952–53 focused mainly on secondary and teacher education. 
  • The Education Commission of 1964–66 made a comprehensive review of the entire field of education. The commission’s report led to a resolution on a national policy for education in July 1968. This policy was revised in 1986.
    The new education policy emphasized educational technology, ethics, and national integration. A core curriculum was introduced to provide a common scheme of studies throughout the country.

The government of India appointed the Planning Commission in 1950  to prepare a blueprint for the development of different aspects of life, including education and successive plans (five-year basis) were drawn and implemented. The main goals of these plans :

  • to achieve universal elementary education
  •  to eradicate illiteracy
  • to establish vocational and skill training programs
  • to upgrade standards and modernize all stages of education, with special emphasis on technical education, science, and environmental education, on morality, and on the relationship between school and work, and
  • to provide facilities for high-quality education in every district of the country.

The national department of education under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and a  Central Advisory Board of Education counseled the national and state governments. The most important bodies are

  • All-India Council of Technical Education (1945)
    It advises  the government on technical education and maintains standards for the development of technical education.
  • University Grants Commission (1953)
    It promotes  and coordinates university education and determines and maintains standards of teaching, examination, and research in the universities. It had the authority to enquire into the financial methods of the universities and to allocate grants
  • National Council of Educational Research and Training (1961)
    It works to upgrade the quality of school education and assists and advises the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the implementation of its policies and major programs in the field of education.


The regulatory framework of this sector in India is multi-layered. Higher education are provided in universities and colleges and the University Grants Commission (UGC) acts as the overarching regulatory body.

  • Under UGC, Different regulatory bodies such as Medical Council of India (MCI), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Bar Council India (BCI), among others, manage different professional courses such MBBS, B.Tech., BAMS, LL.B. etc

UGC Regulations, 2012 mandate that all higher educational institutions be accredited by an accreditation agency. 

  • There are two accrediting institutions–
    National Board of Accreditation (NBA) established by AICTE and National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) established by UGC. 

Universities awarding their own degrees are classified into five types based on their management – 

    Central universities are established through an Act in Parliament and are funded by the Union Government. Older universities have been established through individual acts such as Delhi University Act. In 2009, the Central Government established a number of universities together through the Central Universities Act. 
    State universities are established through an Act in the State Legislature and receive funding from the respective State Government, and sometimes from the Central Government, usually via UGC.

    UGC accords a deemed-to-be-a-university status to an institution. Upon receiving an application, the UGC committee forwards its recommendation to the Department of Higher Education, MHRD, which declares a university as deemed-to-be-a-university. Both government and private universities can be deemed universities

    Private universities are established through an Act in State Legislatures. No private university has been established at the Centre through an Act in Parliament. 

  • INSTITUTE OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE Institutes of National Importance are institutes accorded power to grant degrees because of their strategic and economic importance for the country. These include institutes such as IITs, AIIMS’ and NITs. 

Colleges award degrees in the name of the university to which they are affiliated. In addition, 15 professional councils (like MCI and AICTE) regulate the courses run by the colleges and universities.

    Colleges can be affiliated to either central or state universities. Private colleges are usually affiliated to state universities as it appears that affiliation requirements or regulatory requirements are much easier under state universities. Colleges have to follow the entry, operation, and exit requirements as defined by the university and are recognized by one of the 15 professional councils regulating the courses. 
    ‘Autonomous’ colleges have autonomy with respect to the curriculum, examination, and admission. 

Higher Education System Notes for UGC NET

Preparation Tips for upcoming UGC NET EXAM 2023

  • Check the full syllabus and examination pattern of UGC NET EXAM thoroughly
  • Start preparing for the exam with a time schedule
  • Practice with the previous year’s question papers and their solution
  • Keep revision of all topics from the topics on a daily basis
  • Check your progress with mock tests
  • Study carefully and do maintain your health.

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