Indian educational institutions and study programmes

Below, we explain what types of educational institutions and study programmes there are in India. We also explain how we check whether these are recognised and/or accredited. We check the and to make sure that the quality is sufficient. We give the necessary information per educational sector.

Secondary education | boards

Students are educated at a school, but take their exams from a board. There are 2 types of boards:

  • state boards, for example the board of the state of Punjab;
  • central (national) boards.

State boards

India is divided into 28 states. Each state has 1 or more boards. Some states have separate boards for the lower and upper phases of secondary education.

Central boards

There are 3 central boards:

The central boards set somewhat higher standards than the state boards. For this reason, diplomas issued by the central boards – as opposed to the state boards – can sometimes be compared to a diploma.

Checking the recognition of boards

On the website of the Council of Boards of School Education (COBSE), you can find an overview of recognised boards.

Secondary education | diplomas

In secondary education, you should especially pay attention to whether a student has a diploma from a recognised board. We describe the board diplomas on our webpage about Indian primary and secondary education. You should also pay attention to the subjects that the student took. For more information, see Secondary education | study results.

Higher education | educational institutions

There are different types of higher education institutions in India:

  • universities and university level institutions;
  • colleges and similar institutions;
  • stand-alone institutions.

Universities and university level institutions

Universities and university level institutions are allowed to award degrees, such as bachelors or masters. Types of institutions that fall into this category include:

  • central universities;
  • state universities;
  • open universities (for distance learning);
  • private universities;
  • deemed universities (institutions with the status of a university);
  • Institutes of National Importance;
  • institutes under State Legislature Act;
  • other institutions which are allowed to award degrees and are established on the basis of a State/Central Act or an Act of Parliament.

Checking the recognition of universities and university level institutions

Colleges

Colleges and similar institutions offer education that is supervised by a university or university institution. There are 2 types of colleges:

  • university colleges/constituent colleges (established by the university or university institution);
  • affiliated colleges (affiliated with the university or university institution).

Among other things, the university or university institution determines the content of the study programmes and awards the official degrees. Neither type of college is allowed to do that itself. Colleges gain more independence if they are granted the autonomous status.

Autonomous colleges

Both university/constituent colleges and affiliated colleges can be granted autonomous status. Autonomous colleges have greater independence than colleges without this status, for instance in terms of admission requirements and curricula. The university or university institution can apply for the autonomous status on behalf of colleges with the University Grants Commission (UGC). See the UGC website for the requirements for the autonomous status.

Autonomous colleges do, however, remain affiliated with the university or university institution, which also still awards the diplomas. The difference is that the name of the college also appears on the diploma.

Checking to which university a college is affiliated

Colleges are always affiliated to a university. You can check to which university a college is affiliated as follows:

  • Check if the college is mentioned in the overviews of the UGC:
  • In these overviews, it is usually stated to which university the college is affiliated.
  • The next step is to check if the university itself is recognised. See 'Checking the recognition of universities and university level institutions' above.
  • The university awards the official diplomas and lists of grades, not the college.

Stand-alone institutions

Stand-alone institutions are independent institutions that are not affiliated with a university or university institution. These can be technical educational institutions, such as polytechnics, teacher training institutes and nursning institutes. Stand-alone institutions are not permitted to award degrees, so students obtain other diplomas from them, such as a Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery or a Post Graduate Diploma.

Checking the recognition of stand-alone institutions

For stand-alone institutions, please check the following information:

Higher education | top institutions

After checking if an education institution is recognised, it is important to check if an educational institution is a top institution. The level a diploma can depend on it. By a top institution, we mean a higher education institution that has either:

  • the Institute of National Importance status; or
  • the highest NAAC accreditation level

Institutes of National Importance

Institutes of National Importance are institutions known for the high standard of education they provide. They only offer academic study programmes. The Indian government can grant this status to institutions. Well-known examples include the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs). Admission to these types of institutions is very competitive. In this description, we refer to Institutes of National Importance as top institutions.

Checking if an institution has the Institute of National Imporance status

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) website provides an overview of all Institutes of National Importance.

NAAC accreditation level

An educational institution can also be a top institution if it has the highest NAAC accreditation level. In recent years, the NAAC has modified its assessment system multiple times. Therefore, a particular accreditation level may have been the highest in one year, but not in another. This information cannot be checked in the database, as it only states the current accreditation levels.

Checking the previous NAAC accreditation level

To check which NAAC accreditation level an educational institution had previously (on the date of graduation mentioned on a diploma), follow these steps:

  • Check the graduation date on the diploma.
  • Then, open the NAAC historic accreditation database.
  • Find the institution (enter the name) in the database:
    • After ‘Select Institute Type’, click on ‘Select’ and choose the type of educational institution.
    • By clicking on ‘Select state’, you can choose the Indian state in which the educational institution is located. This is not mandatory.
    • After ‘Institution name’, enter (part of) the name of the educational institution.
    • Click on 'Search'. You now get an overview of search results.
  • Is the educational institution not listed in the search results?
    • Try to find the educational institution in the database again, but this time only select the type of educational institution ('Select Institute Type') and the Indian state (Select state) as search criteria. Do not enter (part of) the name of the educational institution. Sometimes the NAAC writes the name of the institution differently than it appears on the diploma.
    • Is the educational institution still not listed in the search results? In that case, the educational institution was not accredited by NAAC in the past. So it was not a top institution on the graduation date.
  • Is the educational institution listed in the search results? Then check the NAAC accreditation level of the institution on the date of graduation. Please note:
    • EC date’ indicates the starting date of a specific NAAC accreditation level. The accreditation level is valid for 5 years from the EC date. For example, in case of a diploma with a graduation date in 2015 and an EC date in 2013, the NAAC accreditation level is still valid on the graduation date.
    • The database includes NAAC accreditation decisions up until 2018. These are valid up until 2023. Please note the month of a NAAC decision: for a decision made in September 2018, for example, the accreditation status is valid until September 2023. The accreditation level from October 2023 onwards can be found by following our instructions under 'Check which NAAC accreditation level an institution currently has'.
  • Check in the table below whether this was the highest NAAC accreditation level on the EC date. If so, the institution was a top institution on the graduation date.
EC date August 2001 - March 2002 April 2002 - March 2007 April 2007 - June 2016 July 2016 - Present
Highest accreditation level A+++++ or 5 A++ A A++

Checking the current NAAC accreditation level

Would you like to check which NAAC accreditation level an educational institution in 2023 or before? Please follow our instructions under 'Checking the previous NAAC accreditation level' mentioned above.

Would you like to check which NAAC accreditation level an educational institution currently has? The NAAC has a database for this on its website, but it is currently not possible to enter this website in the Netherlands. However, Indian educational institutions sometimes publish information about their NAAC accreditation level on their website. This way you can still find an institution's current NAAC accreditation level. You do this as follows:

  • Open a search engine and search for 'NAAC' in combination with the name of the Indian educational institution.
  • Try to find information about the NAAC accreditation level of the Indian educational institution in the search results.
  • Is the NAAC accreditation level of the educational institution A++? In that case, the educational institution is a top institution at the moment.
  • Is the NAAC accreditation level not A++? In that case, the educational institution is not a top institution at the moment. For example:
    • If you search for 'NAAC University of Calicut', the search results will provide you with a link to information about the NAAC accreditation level of the University of Calicut.
    • By clicking on that link, you will find that this university has a NAAC accreditation level A+ from 2022. A+ is not NAAC's highest accreditation level at the moment, so currently this university is not a top institution.
  • Are you unable to find information about the current NAAC accreditation level? Then contact the Indian educational institution to ask what their current NAAC accreditation level is.

Higher education | study programmes

In some cases, you also have to check if an educational institutions is accredited for a specific study programme. You need to check this for:

  • technical study programmes;
  • distance-learning study programmes (distance education);
  • study programmes for a regulated profession.

Technical study programmes

Technical study programmes need to be accredited by AICTE.

Checking the accreditation of technical study programmes

  • Open the AICTE database.
  • Look up the educational institution of the study programme.
  • Under 'Course Details', click on 'Click here'.
  • This provides an overview of the study programmes of this institution that are accredited by AICTE.
  • Is the study programme not displayed in this overview? Then it is probably not accredited.

Distance-learning study programmes

Distance-learning study programmes must be accredited by the Distance Education Bureau (DEB). Sometimes an institution may only offer certain study programmes via distance learning. It is also possible that an institution may offer all study programmes via distance learning. The accreditation always has a limited period of validity.

Checking the accreditation of distance-learning study programmes

The DEB website provides an overview of accredited study programmes per institution.

Study programmes for a regulated profession

Study programmes for a regulated profession, such as doctor, nurse or teacher, must be accredited by a professional council. Professional councils are organisations that are affiliated to the UGC. Among others, they determine which educational institutions are allowed to offer study programmes for regulated professions.

Checking the accreditation for study programmes for a regulated profession

On the UGC website, you can find an overview of all professional councils. An overview of recognised institutions and/or recognised study programmes can always be found on the websites of the professional councils.