Difference Between Indian Education and Western Education

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Indian Education and Western Education

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In India, two forms of the education system are present. One is the Indian education system other is the western education system. Both follow different curricula and study patterns to teach the students. The western-education system is based on the study pattern followed in western countries. The Indian education system is different from western education and both prepare a student in two different ways. One depends on knowledge gain and another on skill gain.

Indian Education vs. Western Education

Indian education depends on a theoretical system. It depends on theoretical knowledge of any subject to understand the thing deeply. Indian education focuses on knowledge gain rather than skills. It gives a complete understanding of the subject. Teachers rely more on classroom-based education. In the Indian education system, learning means enhancing knowledge. Various criteria are set by the state and union government, and students are supposed to meet these criteria. Competitive exams revolve around rote learning. Students spend most of their time studying for competitive exams.

Western education follows a practical knowledge system. It focuses on giving practical knowledge rather than theoretical. For example, if a student wants to set up an industry, it will tell the student how to set up an industry and what are machines will need? It will not teach how these machines are built and how they will work? It will teach the students things necessary to set up a growing industry.

Difference Between Indian Education and Western Education in Tabular Form

Parameter of comparison Indian education Western education
Based on Rote learning Practical knowledge
Student learning Meant to enhance knowledge To enrich the experience
Teaching method Theory-based Application-based
research Limited research facilities Higher scope in research
Adaptive quality Meant to meet the government’s needs. Unresponsive to updating Regular updating is done to continue with the time
Subject choice A limited number of subjects available to choose from. Subjects can be selected from a wide range
Subject adaptivity Cannot switch from one stream to another Free to choose any stream at any point
College fee Some colleges might be expensive Colleges are expensive. But they provide scholarships to meet the needs
Living cost Needs less money to stay Food and accommodation are expensive
scholarships The Availability of scholarships is low Different types of scholarships are provided based on different factors
Classroom burden Homework, assessments, projects are burdens for students Non-classroom assessments, traveling, sports make learning fun
Job opportunities Only top universities promise better job Western certification is high in demand both abroad and at home

What is Indian education?

Earlier, the Indian education system was based on the gurukul system where students stay with their teacher, guru, and take education, and gurukuls were located in the woods. The students had to do their work by themselves and get an education. They were allowed to visit their ancestral home only a few times. The oldest known gurukuls of India are Takshasila and Nalanda.

Indian education was influenced most by the Mughal Empire and British rule. It significantly changed the system of education in India. New subjects like Persian and English were introduced. And, the old system of gurukuls was completely changed.

Today, Indian education is run by three bodies: state, union, and locals. Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, free and compulsory education is provided by the state government between the age group 6 to 14 years. The government launched several other schemes to make education compulsory for children.

Education is a part of the concurrent list in India. Both state and union governments have the right to make laws on it. Though the state government handles the education system, the union government also launches policies for the development of education. For example, the new education system policy brought by the union government.

Schooling system

In India, the schooling system is divided into four levels, as per the classes.

  • Lower primary school
  • Upper primary
  • High school
  • Higher secondary school

This division of classes was made on the basis of classes and age groups. The lower primary school consists of classes 1 to 5. It is built for the age group 6 to 10. The next is an upper primary school that consists of two classes 6 and 7. It is for the age group 11 to 12. The secondary school consists of classes 8, 9, and 10. And, the age group that joins these classes is 12 to 15. The higher secondary school is class 11 and 12 and it is attained by students of age group 15 to 18. This was the rule of the Act passed in 2009. By the effect of this law, several lower and upper primary schools were opened in our country to provide basic education.

The responsibility of higher education lies on the parents and children. Most students in India stop studying after higher education because there are no proper facilities for getting higher education.

Private schools

Private schools are a vital part of the Indian education system. They comprise about 27 percent of the total primary schools in India. Private schools are examples of the western education system. And, they are popular to provide quality education.


The syllabus in Indian education is based on NCERT. The NCERT is a board responsible for deciding the curriculum and syllabus of the Indian schooling system. The syllabus is updated after a regular interval.

The Indian curriculum is criticized to be based on rote learning. It doesn’t emphasize practical-based knowledge. When India was under the control of the British government, it only focused on giving enough knowledge so that the Indians might work for them. It focused more on scientific and language learning rather than social and cultural knowledge. This emphasized the first concept of limited learning in India. Since then, no major changes were done to the Indian education system to completely alter it.

Education system

The education system of India is based on rote learning. Students are promoted to learn facts. Most competitive exams in India surround rote learning rather than practical knowledge. Students are focused more on getting a university degree or certificate rather than getting knowledge. The conditions of universities are also not good in India. They need extra support from the state and union government to improve their quality.

What is western education?

The influence of western education started in India after the invasion of the British East India company. It created a segment in the Indian education system and British education system. English was made compulsory then. And, people are taught to build English educated men who can work for the British empire.

Western education is different from a foreign education. They emphasize building a skilled workforce rather than a knowledgeable workforce. Simply, they pay attention to building a person who knows how to operate a machine not knowing how that machine is built.

Western education is based on the grading system. Students are given grades in alphabetical form for their performance. And, subjects are more than just being a subject for studying. For example, sports, fine arts, theatre, drama, etc are considered a subject. A student can choose any subject as per their interest.

Western education doesn’t follow any stream system. Unlike the Indian education system where subjects are divided into streams and students of one stream are not allowed to choose subjects from other streams, the foreign education system is free from the stream system. A student can choose a subject they desire. For example, if a student is interested in chemistry and music, then he can go for this combination.

There is no system of restricted class division in western education. Though different western countries have their own rules and regulations for grading patterns, they are based on a basic elementary education system. For example, in the American education system, a student starts primary school at age six, generally known as elementary school there. They attend it for five to six years and then declared graduated. This is the most important part of the life of an American student. Then, they continue in secondary school probably in the same school. Secondary school consists of two parts, one is middle school and the second is high school. The middle school continues for two after then they are promoted to high school which is again divided into two years. These two years are known as junior year and senior year. After completing secondary school, students are eligible to pursue higher education in universities.

There is no restriction in choosing subjects. A student can choose whatever they like. And, music, sports, and art are proper subjects there that can be taken as a stream.

Western education is a promoter of research and discoveries. It spends a large number of resources on research work. Thus, the information gets updated every day and so the study material is also updated to add the latest information.

Difference between Indian and western education in points

The Indian education system was based on rote learning. It focuses more on knowledge rather than experience. However, the western education system focuses on more practical-based learning.

A student studying through the Indian education system gain knowledge about everything. However, those who are reading in western culture gain experience rather than knowledge.

The teaching system of teachers in Indian education is based on theory. However, westernized teachers focus more on practical-based knowledge.

There is very little scope for research in the Indian education system. The fund allocated by the government for research-based work is low. However, in recent years, people have become aware of the significance of the research. It has significantly increased now. The culture of research is an old culture of western education. Research work has a great reputation in the western education system.

The Indian education system lacks adaptive quality. A set of rules have been set by the government of India that is compulsory to be met by students. Students are engaged more in completing the syllabus work rather than doing something creative. It doesn’t adapt easily to any update in the information. On the other hand, western education is based on adaptive learning. The syllabus is updated regularly to meet the present time needs. And, students need not rely on the syllabus to gain knowledge.

In the Indian education system, subjects are divided into streams and sub-streams. Students of one stream can’t choose the subjects from other streams. Thus, it offers very limited options of subjects. However, the western education system is not bounded by this rule. A student can choose whatever subject he desires.

The overall charges in taking an Indian certification are cheaper than western certification. Food and accommodation are cheaper in India. There might be some university that charges a good amount of money but it can be handled easily by scholarships offered by different third-party organizations. However, in western education, college fee is relatively low and is mostly managed by the scholarships provided by the college. However, the food and accommodation charges are higher.

The students studying in the Indian education system feel a burden of assignments, homework, projects, etc. They spend a large part of their learning in these works. However, learning is more like fun for a student studying in the western education system. Travelling, non-classroom teachings and interactive studies make learning captivating.

Only well-known universities promise better job opportunities after college. However, being western education based on practical knowledge, it practically promises more job opportunities as compared to the Indian education system. Also, western certification is in demand all over the world. Higher placements in a foreign land as well as in India.


There is a huge gap between the Indian education system and the western education system. Both education systems follow different learning processes and build up a student in two different ways. On one hand, a student who studied in the Indian education system possesses more knowledge. On the other, a student who studied in the western education system possesses more experience.

In today’s world, skill is given more preference as compared to knowledge. Students studying in the western education system are more in demand because they are given skills rather than knowledge to do work.



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"Difference Between Indian Education and Western Education." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 14 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-indian-education-and-western-education-91>.

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