In the ancient past Bihar was a major center of learning, teaching and research. There were two world-renowned universities i.e. the Nalanda University and the Vikramshila University. The Nalanda University was famed for providing education in Political Science and Economics, while Vikramshila known for education in Tantra. Unfortunately in medieval period this system of education destroyed by invading armies. Later British ruled the country and the area remain neglected.
It was the later part of British rule in India when Bihar saw some revival in education as the British established a University at Patna and some other institutes for higher education, like Science College, Patna, Prince of Wales Medical College (Now Patna Medical College and Hospital), and Bihar Engineering College (Now National Institute of Technology, Patna). However educational growth in the state did not stepped up further as post independence leaders from Bihar failed in establishing educational institutions in the state.
There is a huge gap in demand and supply of education in the state. This is the reason the students are migrating from the state for receiving education. There is good percentage of pupils studying in institutes of higher education in other states like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIIMs), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), etc.
The schooling system in Bihar is same as it was during British rule. State government administers state schools in Bihar. There is system of District Schools also called Zila Schools in the State. State schools are affiliated with Bihar School Examination Board.
Now a days there are also good number of schools affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CICSE). These schools include Convent Schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas, and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. In the post liberalization era the number of private schools, including school-chains and Missionary Schools run by Christian Missionaries as well as Madrasas, or schools run by Muslim clerics has increased. The school-chains and Missionary Schools run by Christian Missionaries are considered as some of the best schools in the state.
For providing higher education Bihar has many universities and colleges like Patna University, National Institute of Technology, Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and many others. Range of courses taught like sciences, engineering, law, medicine, mass communication etc.
The literacy rate in Bihar is low as there is huge gap between demand and supply for school education as well as higher education. The state requires more number of schools and institutes for higher education. The Indian Institute of Technology and Nalanda University will soon be set up. With these institutions coming up it is expected that the literacy rate will be higher than it is at present as they will also attract many other educational institutions to set up their branches in the state.