Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: central,state, and local. Under various articles of theIndian Constitution, free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14.
India has made progress in terms of increasing the primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately three-quarters of the population in the 7-100 age group, by 2011. India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to its economic development.Much of the progress, especially in higher education and scientific research, has been credited to various public institutions.
At the primary and secondary level, India has a large private school system complementing the government run schools, with 29% of students receiving private education in the 6 to 14 age group. Certain post-secondary technical schools are also private. The private education market in India had a revenue of US$450 million in 2008, but is projected to be a US$40 billion market.
As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012, 96.5% of all rural children between the ages of 6-14 were enrolled in school. This is the fourth annual survey to report enrollment above 96%. Another report from 2013 stated that there were 229 million students enrolled in different accredited urban and rural schools of India, from Class I to XII, representing an increase of 2.3 million students over 2002 total enrollment, and a 19% increase in girl's enrollment. While quantitatively India is inching closer to universal education, the quality of its education has been questioned particularly in its government run school system. Some of the reasons for the poor quality include absence of around 25 percent of teachers everyday. States of India have introduced tests and education assessment system to identify and improve such schools.
It is important to clarify that while there are private schools in India, they are highly regulated in terms of what they can teach, in what form they can operate (must be a non-profit to run any accredited educational institution) and all other aspects of operation. Hence, the differentiation of government schools and private schools can be misguiding.
In India's education system, a significant number of seats are reserved under affirmative action policies for the historically disadvantaged Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribesand Other Backward Classes. In universities, colleges, and similar institutions affiliated to the federal government, there is a minimum 50% of reservations applicable to these disadvantaged groups, at the state level it can vary. Maharashtra had 73% reservation in 2014, which is the highest percentage of reservations in India.