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Indian Education Vs Foreign Education - Difference Between Indian and Foreign Education

Update on 06 Oct, 22

5 minutes read

Indian Education Vs Foreign Education - Difference Between Indian and Foreign Education

Brief Overview of Indian Education:

From the basic difference between the Indian Education and Foreign Education system to the system of schooling as according to these two, we will be covering all the basic points in this article. Keep reading for greater insight into the Indian Education Vs Foreign Education debate. Education in India is provided by public schools which are in turn controlled and run by three key levels, Central level, State level, and Local level) respectively. Free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to young children from 6 years of age to 14 years of age under various articles in the Indian Constitution.  

The schooling system in India has four levels, 

  • Lower primary ( for students of age 6 to age 10)
  • Upper primary (for students of age 11 and 12)
  • High School (for students of age 13 till age 15)
  • Higher Secondary (for students of age 17 and age 18). 

The lower primary is divided into five “standards” or classes or even grades. The upper primary is divided into two standards, the high school is divided into three standards and the higher secondary is divided into two standards. At the primary and secondary levels, India has a large number of private institutions or schools that complement the schools run by the government. Whereas, students change course when it comes to higher education, enrolling themselves, or rather preferring to enroll themselves in the public or government-run schools and colleges. Around 29% of students receive private education until the secondary level. 

The private schools in India are heavily regulated in all aspects of the business that is run by the schools. The syllabus is prescribed and taught according to the guidelines and regulations of the government adhered to educational boards, of which the private schools are affiliated. In India’s higher education system, seats are reserved for the economically weaker section of the society or historically disadvantaged as the Scheduled Tribes (ST), Scheduled Caste (SC), and or Other Backward Classes (OBC). With a maximum of up to 50% of seats reserved for people belonging to these sections of society, the rest are free to all other sections such as the General category, NRI, etc.  

Brief Overview of Foreign Education:

Foreign education may refer to any of the educational systems followed by countries other than India. For example, according to the American Education System, children, at the age of six, start to attend primary school as is popularly known as “Elementary School”. They attend for five or six years after which they graduate and start with their secondary education most probably in the same school. This transition is one of the most awaited transitions in the life of students and parents alike, and hence the school hosts official graduation ceremonies for these young graduates. The secondary school consists of two programs, mainly known as the Middle School program and the High School Program. 

Students pass out of the middle school and then attend the high school program, divided into two years known as Junior Year and Senior Year (11th and 12th class as is known in India). A diploma or certificate is awarded to the students who pass out after graduating from high school. The U.S students have the choice to pursue specialized Top Courses in college or university, also known as Higher Education or they can start work as well.  

The U.S system of grading students in their tests and assignments consists of a system known as “Grade Point Average”, which includes converting percentages into letter grades. The average GPA of a student, and how it will be assessed by colleges or other schools depend heavily on the academic standards and reputation of the school. 

The academic year as according to the standards of the foreign education system starts in the month of August or September and continues till Summer Vacations in the month of May or June. In India, the academic year usually starts around the month of March or at the latest April. The academic year consists of two parts known as “semesters” or some schools also use the “trimester” system. The students study according to semesters and semester exams are held at the end of each semester.

Indian Education Examinations:

The second point to be covered in the Indian Education Vs Foreign Education debate are the examinations. Examinations conducted in the Indian Education system are a mixture of FA’s and SA’s (unit tests and half-yearly examinations). Through school, students from class 1 till class 12th have to face a myriad of examinations simply for the sake of testing the knowledge they have gained so far. The CBSE is the national level board that conducts the examination of class 10th and 12th. The board results of class 10th determine the choice of the stream the student will get to choose in class 11th and class 12th. In class 12th, the board results and the marks obtained determine the quality of higher education he or she can hope to attain, higher marks or GPA means a better college or right, prestigious universities, which are themselves further barricaded with a myriad of entrance exams themselves. Despite all that, there is still no guarantee that students will gain admission in the choice of course and university they hope to gain admission in. 

It will be safe to conclude that the importance placed on examinations, and the marks scored thereafter, are the very reasons that learning takes a backseat. Students in the Indian education system do not gain any valuable lifelong learning skills, they are instead tested on their memories and their ability to rote-learn and get through the various examinations.  Unlike the foreign countries examination, which we have briefed below.

Foreign Education Examinations:

On the other side of the Indian Education Vs Foreign Education debate, countries, such as New Zealand, USA, Taiwan, Sweden, etc, examinations hold an entirely different and sometimes the exact opposite reference. 

In the USA, for example, no qualification is awarded at the end of compulsory education (Schooling education). Students get a certificate or a diploma, (depending on the state), after their class 12th examinations. Students in the US are judged on their high school records, their class participation in activities, the leadership roles they may have undertaken while in school, any sports trophies, courses they have taken, marks they have received, teachers' recommendations, etc. Hence, in foreign education, students can not only depend on marks or GPAs, but they also have to have more experience and skills to show than all that. One of the other most important exams for any student appearing for college applications is the SATs. The SAT, in short, is an entrance exam that is used by most colleges and universities. Students appear for this entrance exam during their school hours in the school. It is a 3-hour long paper and contains various sections such as the Math, Evidence-BAsed Reading, and Writing, and also an Essay (optional). The purpose of the SAT is to measure high school student's readiness for colleges and universities. Hence, the higher the score in SATs, the wider the option for colleges is for students to gain admission. The SATs are specifically taken by students in their final senior year (class 12th). 

In New Zealand, students obtain credits and achieve the main qualification of NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). This gives students with various courses and different studies to gain a common platform and launching pad for their higher studies.  In France, lower secondary education (age 15) ends when students take the ‘Brevet’, the lower secondary leaving examination. It comprises subjects such as French, Math, History, Civic education. After completing this, students have the choice of leaving or continuing their studies. Those students who stay choose from a range of Baccalaureate, (technical brevet or vocational certificate subjects).

The Key Difference Between Indian Education and Foreign Education:

One of the key differences that are usually brought up within the Indian Education and Foreign Education debate is the following points. 

  • Foreign Education System is designed in such a way that it focuses on preparing students for life, unlike the Indian education system that prepares students for colleges and university entrance exams only, if not preparing students in the art of rote-learning. 
  • The Indian education system is theory-based, while the foreign education systems are practically based, which focuses on skills and knowledge in the literal sense of the word. 
  • In the Indian education system, there are no fluid movements, everything is packed in rigid structures (the very opposite of the nature of the learning process). In other words, students can not choose their own subjects. They have to choose streams, which are again packed with similar subjects together. In Foreign education systems, students choose subjects, there is no concept of streams as such. If a student likes Biology and Fine Arts, he or she can choose both. They make their own choices of subjects including sports, various societies the students can join, theatre, arts, and even boxing, rugby cheerleading, etc. 
  • Unlike in the Indian education system, extracurricular activities are not just one period given to students in a week, it is much more than that. Sports, activities, theatre, drama, arts, music, etc are the very center of the syllabus with their own school societies which students become a part of. The emphasis on these activities is also one of the key points why universities and colleges abroad have more attention on the choice of subjects the student has chosen, the societies he was a part of, the role of leadership (if they have played any) such as the president of societies, student body president, which is usually elected t\by the students vote, etc. 
  • Students choose the streams that have been ready-made and tailored for generations. For example, the Science stream contains subjects of Physics, Biology, Chemistry, or Mathematics. Similarly, the other streams are also cut out and shaped, for students to “choose”, that is if you score high enough. The students choose a stream based on the career or fields it will open for them. Hence, as such there is no emphasis on the subject matter, the type of education they will get, the learning they will get, etc. In the foreign education system, no streams exist only subjects. Students can choose whatever subject combination they wish to choose. Architecture with Art and Chemistry, plus theatre and Accountancy, for example. 
  • The students studying in a foreign education system have the flexibility to change their majors in college even after a year. In fact, they count on students to change their majors, and hence they have the facility for students where they can change majors during a course. This type of flexibility is nil in the Indian Education system. Whatever major the student has chosen, he or she is stuck with it for life. 
  • The international curriculum followed by schools and universities alike in the Foreign education system is always up-to-date and regularly revised. It is designed keeping in mind the recruiters and the sector's demands. Students are taught precisely what is needed to be taught according to the current market demands. In the Indian Education system, well let’s just say that the last time the entire syllabus was revamped and renovated was when the Indian education system was born itself. 
  • The idea of scholarships in the foreign education system is very intrinsic. Students of all backgrounds and educational abilities can get scholarships from universities and colleges. Students in the Indian Education system can not really count on the minimum amount of money help from any university or college alike.

The conclusion to the Indian Education Vs Foreign Education debate:

To brief up the Indian Education Vs Foreign Education debate, a foreign education leads to internationally recognized qualifications and employment opportunities in the entire globe. It offers a host of educational possibilities with curated learning needs for every student. In other words, a foreign education system offers a personalized, independent approach towards studies and students develop educational and intellectual skills and knowledge base for themselves in the subjects that they have chosen and love. It broadens the view and develops the necessary skills required for global opportunities. 

In the Indian Education system, perhaps these things are not possible. Students get a hard cut out of subjects they can “choose” and cannot choose. They may have to face a myriad of examinations and still not get the opportunity to develop the skills that are required by the current global economy. 

However, Mark Twain, a great writer, humorist, entrepreneur, lecturer, the “greatest humorist the United States has ever produced”, was known for one of his sayings, which goes like, “I never let schooling interfere with my education”. The type of school you study in, the board it follows, the examinations, and the other “student duties”, may not be to your satisfaction. However, whichever side of the Foreign Education Vs Indian Education debate you are stuck on, know, that it doesn't take a foreign education to develop your skills, it takes ‘YOU’. 

It’s not a secret that Indian Education is long for reform, a revamp. But you can change it, by “learning” rather than studying. Focus on developing your skills and knowledge on your own. WHat the schools and colleges and universities are, are just a building with teachers and professors, who teach the same thing over and over again for years. However, you are studying that for the first time, enjoy it and you won’t need a foreign education to develop and become the best in your field.

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