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During our younger days we were told the purpose of education is character building. But, for now education is expected to help provide employment. Education should aim at holistic development of human beings and society.
Education is a lifelong journey and can be based on following four pillars:i) Learning to Know – Acquiring a body of knowledge and learning how to learn, so as to benefit from the opportunities education provides throughout life;ii) Learning to Do – Acquiring not only an occupational skill but also the competence to deal with many situations, work in teams, and a package of skills that enables one to deal with the various challenges of professional life;iii) Learning to Live Together – Developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence in the spirit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding and peace; and iv) Learning to Be – Developing one’s personality and the ability to act with autonomy, judgement and personal responsibility, while ensuring that education does not disregard any aspect of the potential of a person: memory, reasoning, aesthetic sense, physical capacities and communication skills.
Primary education largely covers literacy and foundation knowledge including numerical ability. Middle and secondary education moves on with subject specific wider general knowledge with some options to choose from at secondary level. Undergraduate level offers options of various streams to choose from whereas post graduate level offers advance knowledge and specializations. Doctorate level education deals in research.
Higher education enables furtherance and creation of knowledge whereas at middle and senior secondary level and even at undergraduate levels it is imparting of knowledge. Education as a concept is holistic. It is a system that begins with admissions and comprises of classes, examinations, registration, enrollments, time table, hostel, convocation to migration certificate and transfer certificate. Academics on the other hand deals with curriculum, conference papers, research papers and scholarship. Education may be viewed as a system having multiple stakeholders whereas academics require intellectual stimulus and rigour.
World’s oldest living and operational university was founded in 859 AD is in Morocco. The University of Bologna in Italy is oldest in Europe and was founded in 1088. University of Oxford was established during 1096-1167 and University of Paris was established during 1160-1250. Harvard University is the oldest university of USA established in 1636 and chartered in 1650. University of Calcutta, University of Bombay and University of Madras are oldest operational universities of India established in 1857. University of Allahabad was set up in 1887 as the fourth university in India. Thereafter, the three universities established were Banaras Hindu University in 1916 Aligarh Muslim University in 1920 and University of Delhi in 1922, now known as Central Universities. University of Roorkee in 1949 became the first Technical University of India.
There are 53620 Institutions of Higher Learning in India with 14.04 lakh teachers and 3.5 crore    students as of now. This includes 993 Universities with 1.58 lakh teachers and 69.46 lakh students.At present there are 41 Central Universities, 400 State Universities and 39 Deemed to be Universities.  Additionally 340 Private Universities are competent to award degrees as specified by UGC under Section 22 of the UGC Act.