The school stream comprises three stages:
2. Primary (or elementary) and
The pre-primary or pre-learning stage: It consisting of nursery and kindergarten. These schools terminates when the children attain the age of five years.
A new entrant in pre-primary stage are play schools. Play schools are different schools which start from age 2 year or 2 year 3 months and continue till student gets admission in schools for nursery (around age of 4 years). These shcools are mainly in big cities and help parents build students for entrance in primary schools
Primary Stage: At the age of five, they enter the primary stage. There are two levels at the primary stage
Classes I to V normally called primary school and
Classes VI to VIII
Primay stage expected to complete at the age of 13 years and enter the secondary stage. Article 45 of the Constitution of India Stipulates free and compulsory education for all the children until they complete the age of 14. In 1993, the Supreme Court, in its order in the Unnikrishnan case, has also declared education of children up to the age of 14 years to be a Fundamental Right. However, the target of universalisation of primary (or elementary) education is yet to be achieved.
The secondary stage :This has two levels-the secondary (Classes IX and X) and the higher (or senior) secondary (Classes XI and XII).
There is a public examination at the end of Class X called the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination or the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination. This examination corresponds to the Matriculation examination of yesteryears. Another public examination is conducted at the end of Class XII called Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination or “10 + 2 examination”. In some states, higher secondary education (Classes XI and XII) is also called the Intermediate education and the corresponding examination Intermediate examination. Secondary and higher secondary education are regulated by State Boards of Secondary Education and State Boards of Higher Education (or Boards of Intermediate Education) respectively.
In several States there is only one Board for both the levels. Secondary and Higher Secondary schools are managed by state governments as well as by private societies and trusts. The state boards accord recognition to schools, formulate syllabuses and conduct public examinations.
Besides the State Boards, there are two Boards whose jurisdictions extend all over the country, viz.
the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), established in 1929 by the Government of India and
the Council for the Indian School Certification Examination (ICSE).
There is yet another Board named the National Open School (NOS). It provides secondary and higher secondary education through distance learning mode and conducts public examinations and awards certificates like any other Board.
By the time students complete the higher secondary education, they should have attained the age of 17 years. The minimum age prescribed for admission to many post-higher secondary courses is, therefore, 17 years.
In addition, there is a parallel system outside the School Stream- Industrial Training (ITIs) and the polytechnics. Polytechnic education is of three-year duration after Class 10. These Institutions, sponsored both by the government and private organisations are under the control of the State Boards of Technical Education and as such belong to the formal sector.