Education in the general sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another. Etymologically, the word education is derived from educare (Latin) which means "bring up".

Education is the process by which people learn:
• Instruction refers to the facilitating of learning, by a tutor or teacher.
• Teaching refers to the actions of an instructor to impart learning to the student.
• Learning refers to those who are taught, with a view toward preparing them with specific knowledge, skills, or abilities that can be applied upon completion.
(ii) Systems of formal education:
• Preschool education
Preschool education or Infant education is the provision of education for children before the commencement of statutory and obligatory education, usually between the ages of zero and three or five, depending on the jurisdiction.

Nursery school or simply "nursery" or playgroup is the usual term for preschool education, although the term preschool is also commonly used. Preschool work is organized within a framework that professional educators create. The framework includes structural (administration, class size, teacher-child ratio, services, etc.), process (quality of classroom environments, teacher-child interactions, etc.), and alignment (standards, curriculum, assessments) components that are associated with each individual unique child that has both social and academic outcomes. At each age band, an appropriate curriculum should be followed. For example, it would be normal to teach a child how to count to 10 after the age of four. Arguably the first pre-school institution was opened in 1816 by Robert Owen in New Lanark, Scotland. The Hungarian countess Theresa Brunszvik followed in 1828. In 1837, Friedrich Frobel opened one in Germany, coining the term "kindergarten".

Developmental areas: The areas of development which preschool education covers varies from country to country. However, the following
main themes are represented in the majority of systems.
a. Personal, social, economical, and emotional development
b. Communication, including sign language, talking and listening
c. Knowledge and understanding of the world
d. Creative and aesthetic development
e. Mathematical awareness and development
f. Physical development
g. Physical health
h. Playing
i. Teamwork
j. Self-help skills
k. Social skills
l. Scientific thinking
m. Creative arts
n. Literacy
Allowing preschool aged children to discover and explore freely within each of these areas of development is the foundation for developmental learning. It is widely recognized that although many preschool educators are aware of the guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice, putting this practice to work effectively in the classroom is more challenging.

Methods of preschool education: Some preschools have adopted specialized methods of teaching, such as Montessori, Waldorf, Head Start, HighReach Learning, High Scope, The Creative Curriculum, Reggio Emilia approach, Bank Street, Forest kindergartens, and various other pedagogies which contribute to the foundation of education.

Creative Curriculum has an interactive website where parents and teachers can work together in evaluating preschool age children. The website is very user friendly and prints off many reports that are helpful in evaluating children and the classroom itself. The web site has a variety of activities that are targeted to each of the fifty goals on the continuum.

The International Preschool Curriculum adopted a bilingual approach to teaching and offers a curriculum that embraces international standards and recognizes national requirements for preschool education.

Some Philosophy for Children programs also offer a unique approach to engaging developmentally a young child's ability to reason, learn, and inquire in a critical and socially-engaged manner.
• Primary education
Primary education is the first stage of compulsory (non-elective) education. It is preceded by usually known as elementary education and is generally followed by middle school.
The transition to secondary school or high school is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about eleven or twelve years of age. Some educational systems have separate middle schools with the transition to the final stage of education taking place at around the age of fourteen.
The major goals of primary education are achieving basic literacy and numeracy amongst all pupils, as well as establishing foundations in science, mathematics, geography, history and other social sciences.
Typically, primary education is provided in schools, where the child will stay in steadily advancing classes until they complete it and move on to high school/secondary school. Children are usually placed in classes with one teacher who will be primarily responsible for their education and welfare for that year. This teacher may be assisted to varying degrees by specialist teachers in certain subject area often music or physical education. The continuity with a single teacher and the opportunity to build up a close relationship with the class is a notable feature of the primary education system.

Traditionally, various forms of corporal punishment have been an integral part of early education. Recently this practice has come under attack, and in many cases been outlawed, especially in Western countries.

• Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary school. Secondary education is generally the final stage of compulsory (non-elective) education. However, secondary education in some countries includes a period of compulsory and a period of non-compulsory education. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary education is characterized by transition from the typically compulsory, comprehensive primary education for minors to the optional, selective tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university, vocational school) for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems.

• Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries and institutes of technology. Higher education also includes certain collegiate-level institutions, such as vocational schools, trade schools, and career colleges that award academic degrees or professional certifications. The right of access to higher education is enshrined in a number of international human rights instruments. The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 declares, in Article 13, that "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education".

(iii) Education in India:
• Introduction: Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory (non-elective). The Nalanda University was the oldest university-system of education in the world. Western education became ingrained into Indian society with the establishment of the British Raj.

Education in India falls under the control of both the Union Government and the states, with some responsibilities lying with the Union and the states having autonomy for others. The various articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right. Most universities in India are controlled by the Union or the State Government.

India has made progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately two thirds of the population. The private education market in India is merely 5% although in terms of value is estimated to be worth $40 billion in 2008 and will increase to $68 billion by 2012.

However, India continues to face stern challenges. Despite growing investment in education, 25% of its population is still illiterate; only 15% of Indian students reach high school, and just 7% graduate. As of 2008, India's post-secondary high schools offer only enough seats for 7% of India's college-age population, 25% of teaching positions nationwide are vacant, and 57% of college professors lack either a master's or PhD degree.

As of 2011, there are 1522 degree-granting engineering colleges in India with an annual student intake of 582,000, plus 1,244 polytechnics with an annual intake of 265,000. However, these institutions face shortage of faculty and concerns have been raised over the quality of education.

• Primary education in India: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the apex body for school education in India. The NCERT provides support and technical assistance to a number of schools in India and oversees many aspects of enforcement of education policies.[2] In India, the various bodies governing school education system are:

• The state government boards, in which the majority of Indian children are enrolled.
• The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board.
• The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) board.
• The National Institute of Open Schooling.
• International schools affiliated to the International Baccalaureate Programme and/or the Cambridge International Examinations. • Islamic Madrasah schools, whose boards are controlled by local state governments, or autonomous, or affiliated with Darul Uloom Deoband.
• Autonomous schools like Woodstock School, Auroville, Patha Bhavan and Ananda Marga Gurukula.
Primary school teaching in India consists of 12 grade (classes) levels. These are:

• Kindergarten: nursery - 3 years, Lower Kindergarten (LKG) -4 years, Upper Kindergarten (UKG) - 5 years
• 1st class: 6 years
• 2nd class: 7 years
• 3rd class: 8 years
• 4th class: 9 years
• 5th class: 10 years
• 6th class: 11 years
• 7th class: 12 years
• 8th class: 13 years
• 9th class: 14 years
• 10th class: 15 years
• 11th class: 16 years
• 12th class: 17 years
• Secondary education in India:

In India, Before the Indian Constitutional Amendment in 2002, Article 45 (Articles 36 - 51 are on Directive-Principles of State Policy) of the Constitution was- “Art.45”. Provision for free and compulsory education for children.—The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.” But that Constitutional obligation was time and again deferred - first to 1970 and then to 1980, 1990 and 2000. The 10th Five-Year Plan visualized that India will achieve the Universal Elementary Education by 2007. However, the Union Human Resource Development Minister announced in 2001 that India will achieve this target only by 2010. (Ninety-third Amendment) Bill, 2002, renumbered as the Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, which was passed on 12 Dec 2002 stated: An Act further to amend the Constitution of India. . BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-third Year of the Republic of India as follows:-
1. Short title and commencement.
(a) This Act may be called the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002.
(b) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. 2. Insertion of new article 21A.- After article 21 of the Constitution, the following article shall be inserted, namely Right to education.- "Art.21A. The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.
• Higher Education in India: India's higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission, which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the centre and the state. Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.
As of 2011, India has 42 central universities, 275 state universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33 Institutes of National Importance. Other institutions include 16000 colleges, including 1800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology. Indian educational institutions by 2004 consisted of a large number of technology institutes. Distance learning and open education is also a feature of the Indian higher education system, and is looked after by the Distance Education Council. Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest university in the world by number of students, having approximately 3.5 million students across the globe.
Some institutions of India, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institute of Technology (NITs) and Jawaharlal Nehru University have been globally acclaimed for their standard of education. The IITs enroll about 8000 students annually and the alumni have contributed to both the growth of the private sector and the public sectors of India. However, India has failed to produce world class universities like Harvard or Oxford.
Besides top rated universities which provide highly competitive world class education to their pupil, India is also home to many universities which have been founded with the sole objective of making easy money. Regulatory authorities like UGC and AICTE have been trying very hard to extirpate the menace of private universities which are running courses without any affiliation or recognition. Students from rural and semi urban background often fall prey to these institutes and colleges. It is crucial to quote the statement of the Prime Minister of India here………
“Our university system is, in many parts, in a state of disrepair...In almost half the districts in the country, higher education enrollments are abysmally low, almost two-third of our universities and 90 per cent of our colleges are rated as below average on quality parameters... I am concerned that in many states university appointments, including that of vice-chancellors, have been politicised and have become subject to caste and communal considerations, there are complaints of favouritism and corruption.” — Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2007
• Technical Education in India: From the first Five Year Plan onwards India's emphasis was to develop a pool of scientifically inclined manpower. India's National Policy on Education (NPE) provisioned for an apex body for regulation and development of higher technical education, which came into being as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1987 through an act of the Indian parliament. At the Central(federal) level, the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology are deemed of national importance.
The Indian Institutes of Management are among the nation's premier education facilities. Several Regional Engineering Colleges (REC) have been converted into National Institutes of Technology. The UGC has inter-university centers at a number of locations throughout India to promote common research, e.g. the Nuclear Science Centre at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Besides there are some British established colleges such as Harcourt Butler Technological Institute situated in Kanpur and King George Medical University situated in Lucknow which are important centers of higher education.
In addition to above institutes, efforts towards the enhancement of technical education are supplemented by a number of recognized Professional Engineering Societies like:
1. The Institution of Engineers;
2. The Institution of Chemical Engineering;
3. The Institution of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineers;
4. The Indian Institute of Metals;
5. The Institution of Industrial Engineers;
6. The Institute of Town Planners;
7. The Indian Institute of Architects etc.
who conduct Engineering/Technical Examinations at different levels(Degree and diploma) for working professionals desirous of improving their technical qualifications.
• Literacy
According to the Census of 2011, "every person above the age of 7 years who can read and write in any language is said to be literate". According to this criterion, the 2011 survey holds the National Literacy Rate to be around 74%. Government statistics of 2001 also hold that the rate of increase in literacy is more in rural areas than in urban areas. Female literacy was at a national average of 65% whereas the male literacy was 82%. Within the Indian states, Kerala has shown the highest literacy rates of 93% whereas Bihar averaged 63.8% literacy. The 2001 statistics also indicated that the total number of 'absolute non-literates' in the country was 304 million.
• Women's education
Women have a much lower literacy rate than men. Far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out. According to a 1998 report by U.S. Department of Commerce, the chief barrier to female education in India are inadequate school facilities (such as sanitary facilities), shortage of female teachers and gender bias in curriculum (majority of the female characters being depicted as weak and helpless). Conservative cultural attitudes, prevents some girls from attending school.
The number of literate women among the female population of India was between 2–6% from the British Raj onwards to the formation of the Republic of India in 1947. Concerted efforts led to improvement from 15.3% in 1961 to 28.5% in 1981. By 2001 literacy for women had exceeded 50% of the overall female population, though these statistics were still very low compared to world standards and even male literacy within India. Recently the Indian government has launched Saakshar Bharat Mission for Female Literacy. This mission aims to bring down female illiteracy by half of its present level.
Sita Anantha Raman outlines the progress of women's education in India:
Since 1947 the Indian government has tried to provide incentives for girls’ school attendance through programs for midday meals, free books, and uniforms. This welfare thrust raised primary enrollment between 1951 and 1981. In 1986 the National Policy on Education decided to restructure education in tune with the social framework of each state, and with larger national goals. It emphasized that education was necessary for democracy, and central to the improvement of women’s condition. The new policy aimed at social change through revised texts, curricula, increased funding for schools, expansion in the numbers of schools, and policy improvements. Emphasis was placed on expanding girls’ occupational centers and primary education; secondary and higher education; and rural and urban institutions. The report tried to connect problems like low school attendance with poverty, and the dependence on girls for housework and sibling day care. The National Literacy Mission also worked through female tutors in villages. Although the minimum marriage age is now eighteen for girls, many continue to be married much earlier. Therefore, at the secondary level, female dropout rates are high.
Sita Anantha Raman also maintains that while the educated Indian women workforce maintains professionalism, the men outnumber them in most fields and, in some cases, receive higher income for the same positions.
• Rural education
Following independence, India viewed education as an effective tool for bringing social change through community development. The administrative control was effectively initiated in the 1950s, when, in 1952, the government grouped villages under a Community Development Block—an authority under national programme which could control education in up to 100 villages. A Block Development Officer oversaw a geographical area of 150 square miles (390 km2) which could contain a population of as many as 70000 people. Despite some setbacks the rural education programmes continued throughout the 1950s, with support from private institutions. A sizable network of rural education had been established by the time the Gandhigram Rural Institute was established and 5,200 Community Development Blocks were established in India. Nursery schools, elementary schools, secondary school, and schools for adult education for women were set up.
(iv) Issues:
• Funding and infrastructure
One study found out that 25% of public sector teachers and 40% of public sector medical workers were absent during the survey. Among teachers who were paid to teach, absence rates ranged from 15% in Maharashtra to 30% in Bihar. Only 1 in nearly 3000 public school head teachers had ever dismissed a teacher for repeated absence. A study on teachers by Kremer etc. found that 'only about half were teaching, during unannounced visits to a nationally representative sample of Government primary schools in India'. A study of 188 government-run primary schools found that 59% of the schools had no drinking water and 89% had no toilets. 2003–04 data by National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration revealed that only 3.5% of primary schools in Bihar and Chhattisgarh had toilets for girls. In Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, rates were 12–16%.
• Curriculum issues
Modern education in India is often criticized for being based on rote learning rather than problem solving. BusinessWeek criticizes the Indian curriculum, saying it revolves around rote learning and ExpressIndia suggests that students are focused on cramming. • Controversy
In January 2010, the Government of India decided to withdraw Deemed university status from as many as 44 rations were not being kept in mind by the management of these institutions and that "they were being run as family fiefdoms".
The University Grant Commission found 39 fake institutions operating in India.
Only 10% of manufacturers in India offer in-service training to their employees, compared with over 90% in China.
(v) Conclusion: Education is the backbone of any society. Education has a major role in the upbringing of an individual and hence small loop hole in education systems leads to a number of drawbacks in the society. Effort is required in multiple directions. For improving the quality of education, we need to work in following areas.
• Change in way of delivering education. Making it more interactive and interesting.
• Developing a new syllabus for all round growth of the students.
• Developing a new education system for eliminating the loop holes of present structure.
• Making arrangements to enable Education for all.