Chemical Education in Asia-Pacific


Dulal Chandra Mukherjee
Indian Chemical Society, 92, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Calcutta-700 009, India

Back to Chemical Education in Asia Pacific Home Page

India is a vast country with about 900 million people. 20 different languages are spoken by people of 31 states. As a result the system of education could not be brought to uniformity throughout the country. The Government of India had set up an autonomous commission, the University Grants Commission (U.G.C.) to look after the higher education and research. Although education policy is largely decided by the states, they follow the norms set up by the U.G.C. in matters related to higher education.


Pattern of school education is more or less similar in various states. Table 1 may provide an idea about the system of chemistry teaching in schools.

Table 1. System of Chemistry Teaching in Schools

Course and the name of Examination Duration of the subject taught
1. School leaving, Class 10 (Madhyamik, Secondary, Prabeshika etc.) Chemistry is taught in class IX and X.
Very little practical training is offered.
2.* Higher Secondary (+2) Two-year chemistry course is offered (Class XI and Class XII) students are given practical training

1* In some states, many colleges have accepted +2 Higher Secondary Course.

Secondary and Higher Secondary Boards set up by the State Governments govern the respective courses in respect to bringing out the syllabi, conducting the final examinations and issuing certificates to the successful candidates. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) play a very vital role in promoting and improving the secondary and higher secondary level of teaching throughout the country.

The structure of chemical education, as followed in colleges and universities, is represented in Table 2.

Table 2. The Structure of Chemical eEducation in Colleges and Universities

Course and Name of the Examinations Duration of the Course
1. Bachelor of Science (Pass) Three years course (In some Universities two years course). Equal weights for three combination subjects are given, e.g., physics, chemistry, mathematics. Various combinations amongst subjects are available. Chemistry is taught and practical training is provided for three years.
2. Bachelor of Science (Honours) Three years course. Students majoring in chemistry, study the subject in detail for three years. They are to take two more subsidiary subjects (pass subjects) as in 1 above. Rigorous practical training is also given.
3. Master of Science Two years course. First year gives emphasis to all main branches of chemistry. The second year is devoted for specialisation in any one of the major branches e.g., organic, inorganic, physical chemistry and in some universities, analytical chemistry. Rigorous practical training is given.
Master degree in subjects based on chemistry, eg. bio-chemistry, agricultural chemistry, etc. is also offered in many universities.
4. Bachelor of Technology and
Master of Technology
In some universities, there are 3 year B. Tech. course and after successful completion of the course 2 years M.Tech. course in chemical technology or chemical engineering or allied topics are provided. Chemistry is taught in these course giving emphasis on Industrial aspect of the subject.

During the last few decades, chemistry has made advancements both in basic front as well as in application front. New theories have emerged and many sophisticated instruments have been developed, which is mainly responsible for the development of basic chemistry. The farreaching applications of the basic principles and the structural concept have got tremendous implications in, biology, medicine, geology nutrition and food sciences, engineering sciences and almost in every area of technology.

An information obtained from the Govt. of India reveals that in the Country during 1995-96.

Number of High Schools


Number of Higher Secondary Schools


Number of Predegree Junior Colleges


Number of Colleges and Universities


Number of boys in High Schools

10.7 millions

Number of girls in High Schools

6.07 millions

Number of boys in Higher Secondary Schools

3.80 millions

Number of girls in Higher Secondary Schools

1.92 millions

The NCERT has recommended a chemistry course which is being followed by most of the Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools in the Country. The course content for the Secondary (Class IX and X) are designed to provide a base for learning chemistry for pupils who wish to take up the subject at the plus two stage and also to benefit those who are not going to continue to study the subject further. The course will help in forming some idea about matters related to economic development, environmental problems and national growth.

In the 10+2 curriculum the course contents are so designed that the students can persue their higher education in academic line or they can switch over to professional or vocational stream.

Top of Page


On the basis of the recommendations (l989) of the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) in Chemistry, set up by the University Grants Commission, the following curriculum in chemistry is being followed or will be followed by most of the universities and colleges.

According to U.G.C. guidelines, the expected working days for effective teaching are :

per year = 30 weeks

per semester (or term) = 15 weeks

2.1. Undergraduate Programme

B.Sc. Pass

Usually, at the B.Sc. Pass level, three compulsory subjects are being taught with an equal credit. In most universities. 12 periods (of 45 minutes duration) are allotted to each subject. The committee has suggested that each period should be of 1 hr. duration.

Pass Theory Actual Lab work Supplementary Teaching Total periods
I Yr.

per week
per sem.

* 6 Lectures
** 90 L
* 4 LP***
** 60 LP
* 2 LP***
** 30 LP


II Yr. As above As above As above As above


III Yr. As above As above As above As above


* 2 L per paper per week
**30 L per paper per sem.
***LP: Lab Periods

B.Sc, (Honours)

The C.D.C. in Chemistry has recommended the following pattern for Hons. teaching.

  1. At the 1 yr. level, the Curriculum in Chemistry should preferably be same for Pass and Hons. Course.
  2. Therefore, the students are expected to study two more subsidiary subjects and the marks/credits awarded to these should be taken into consideration for over-all assessment.
  3. At the II Yr. and III Yr. level, the work-load in Chemistry is doubled and therefore only one subsidiary will have to be studied.
  4. This Model can be suitably re-scheduled keeping in view a common pattern for all science disciplines. Only the number of UNITS will have to be reshuffled.

Hons. Theory Actual Lab work Teaching Total Periods
I Yr. per week
per sem.
6 L
90 L
4 LP
60 LP
2 LP
30 LP


II Yr. per week
per sem.
12 L*
180 L
8 LP**
120 LP
4 LP**
60 LP


III Yr. per week
per sem.
12 L*
180 L
8 LP**
120 LP
4 LP**
60 LP


*4 Lectures per paper per week i.e., 60 L per paper per semester.
**30 Lab Sessions of 4 hours each for actual Lab and 15 LS of 4 hours for supplementary activity.

2.2. Graduate Programme

M.Sc. Programme

The 2 year course has been divided into 4 Semesters and ~ common programme has been envisaged for the first-three semesters. Each semester will have 4 Theory Papers in addition to Lab Courses. Total teaching hours per week will be 30 furs. (12 furs. for theory and 18 hrs for Lab/Suppl.).

Theory Actual Lab work Supplementary Teaching Total
per week 12 hrs. (4 papers with 3Lper week, i.e., each paper will have 45L per Sem.) 12 hrs. 6 hrs. 30 hrs.
per sem. 45L x4 180 hrs.
(60 LS of 3 hrs each)
90 hrs.
(30 LS of 3 hrs. each)
450 hrs.

Doctoral Programme

Some students, after passing the M.Sc. Examination, carry out their research work under the guidance of a supervisor and submit thesis for the award of the Ph.D. Degree of a University. For submission of thesis, he is to work for at least a period of two years. D.Sc. Degree, a higher Degree, is also awarded by some Universities for independent research work. The candidates from Institutes other than Universities are got to be registered with a University for the doctorate degree. The I.I.T's (Indian Institute of Technology) and some Institutes like Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore, have got their own Ph.D. programme. These Institutes have also got integrated Ph.D. programme where students, after passing B.Sc. Examination, are admitted. In some Institutes, emphasis is also given on course work and the dissertation work are considered as partial requirement for the Ph.D. Degree.

Funding for research is usually made by various Central Government Agencies, like Department of Science and Technology (DST), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), University Grants Commission (UGC), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Biotechnology (DOT) etc. The Research Fellowship in most cases are given on the basis of the results of some competitive examination, for example the National Eligibility Test (NET), Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) etc.

Top of Page


1. Report of the curriculum Development Centre in Chemistry - University Grants Commission, New Delhi, 1989.

2. Chemistry - A text book for Secondary Schools, Part I and II by B.D. Atreya, R. D. Shukla and K.M. Pant, National Council of Educational Research and Training, 1985.

3. Chemistry - A text book for Higher Secondary Schools, Part I and II, R.C. Mehrotra et al., National Council of Educational Research and Training, 1985.

4. 20th Century Chemistry in Asia, Vol.I, Compiled and edited by D.P. Chakraborty (1987).

Top of Page

Back to Chemical Education in Asia Pacific Home Page