Integrated Science Labs in Secondary Schools in India 2023


The concept of integrated science labs in secondary and higher secondary schools in India has been practiced for several decades. However, no specific scheme or program is launched at the national level with a particular name or date associated with it. Integrated science labs have been gradually implemented as a standard component of science education in schools nationwide. There is a growing recognition & understanding of the importance of Science Labs in providing students with a hands-on learning experience in science. It has been recognized as fundamental to fostering scientific inquiry and understanding. It has been a part of the educational framework in India for a long time, evolving and adapting over the years to meet the changing needs of students and advancements in scientific knowledge and technology.

Integrated science labs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore the natural world through a variety of hands-on activities. These activities can range from simple experiments to more complex projects, and they are designed to help students develop their scientific thinking skills. In addition to providing hands-on learning experiences, integrated science labs can help foster a love of science in students. When students can see the relevance of science to their own lives, they are more likely to be interested in learning more about it.

Specific Facilities in Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools

The implementation of integrated science labs in India is still in its early stage, but as has already been mentioned, there is a growing recognition of their importance. As more schools begin to adopt these labs, they are likely to play an important role in teaching science in India.

Benefits of Integrated Science Labs in India

  • Importance: Integrated science labs are essential to science education as they bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. These labs allow students to explore scientific concepts through experiments, demonstrations, and observation, fostering a deeper understanding of scientific principles.
  • Facilities & Equipment: Integrated science labs are equipped with various apparatus, instruments, and tools for conducting experiments across various scientific disciplines. These may include microscopes, glassware, chemicals, models, electrical circuits, environmental monitoring equipment, etc. The availability of modern equipment enables students to engage in contemporary scientific practices.
  • Curriculum Integration: Integrated science labs align with the curriculum of secondary & higher secondary education boards in India. They cover core science subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, and, occasionally, environmental science. Labs are designed to complement classroom teaching and provide practical reinforcement of concepts, helping students grasp scientific principles through hands-on activities.
  • Experiments & Activities: Integrated science labs offer a range of experiments and activities suitable for different topics and grade levels. These experiments may include investigations into chemical reactions, circuit building, biological specimen observation, dissections, plant growth studies, environmental monitoring, and more. Lab activities encourage students to formulate hypotheses, collect data, analyze results, and draw conclusions.
  • Safety Measures: Safety is a primary concern in integrated science labs. Schools must provide safety guidelines and training to ensure students understand proper handling of equipment, chemicals, and potential hazards. Adequate safety measures such as protective gear, ventilation, fire extinguishers, and emergency protocols are implemented to maintain a safe learning environment.
  • Teacher Guidance: Trained science teachers are crucial in guiding students through experiments and activities in the integrated science labs. They provide instructions and explanations and facilitate discussions to enhance students’ understanding. Teachers also assist in data interpretation and encourage students to think critically about the outcomes of their experiments.
  • Skill Development: Integrated science labs aim to develop essential scientific skills among students. These include observation, measurement, data collection and analysis, hypothesis formation, experimental design, teamwork, and communication skills. Practical exposure in the labs prepares students for future scientific pursuits and higher education in science-related fields.
  • Assessments: Integrated science labs often contribute to assessing students’ scientific knowledge and skills. Standard assessment methods include lab reports, project work, practical exams, and presentations. These evaluations gauge students’ understanding of scientific concepts and ability to conduct experiments, analyze data, and communicate their findings effectively.

Integrated science labs in India’s secondary and higher secondary schools provide a platform for students to develop a deeper appreciation for scientific inquiry and application. They promote an active learning environment where students can engage with scientific phenomena firsthand, fostering a passion for science and nurturing the next generation of scientists and innovators.

Some of the challenges of implementing integrated science labs in secondary and higher secondary schools in India are as follows:

  • Cost:Integrated science labs can be expensive to set up and maintain.
  • Space:Integrated science labs require space. This can be a challenge in schools that are already overcrowded.
  • Training:Teachers need to be trained in how to use the equipment and materials in integrated science labs.

Despite the challenges, the benefits of integrated science labs outweigh the costs. Integrated science labs are an essential investment in the future of science education in India.

Number of Schools having Secondary sections by management and availability of Integrated Science Lab facility, 2021-22
India/ State/ UT Total Schools having Secondary Sections Schools with Secondary Sections having Integrated Percentage of Schools with Secondary Sections having
Science Lab facility available Integrated Science Lab facility available
All managements All managements All managements Government Government. aided Pvt. unaided Others
India 276840 148447 53.6 48.8 59.2 58.1 12.9
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 122 95 77.9 77 0 90 0
Andhra Pradesh 12445 7296 58.6 50.1 49.5 70 26.7
Arunachal Pradesh 483 270 55.9 47.6 79.4 72.7 0
Assam 8837 2307 26.1 34.6 0.8 25.7 0.9
Bihar 11949 3034 25.4 20 22.9 59.4 9.7
Chandigarh 173 164 94.8 98.1 71.4 93.2 75
Chhattisgarh 7337 6202 84.5 89.1 90.6 74.8 0
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and 96 75 78.1 70.9 100 87.5 0
Daman and Diu
Delhi 2199 2199 100 100 100 100 0
Goa 437 397 90.9 82.8 92.8 93.1 0
Gujarat 11999 5519 46 31.7 48 49.2 33.3
Haryana 8585 6516 75.9 78.7 73.3 74.3 28.1
Himachal Pradesh 4259 2414 56.7 45.2 0 80.3 0
Jammu and Kashmir 4412 2533 57.4 51.5 0 65.8 58.3
Jharkhand 4634 2570 55.5 50.8 70.2 77.2 28.9
Karnataka 17251 9992 57.9 48.5 48.6 69.9 16.7
Kerala 4854 3470 71.5 56.6 80.4 76.4 33
Ladakh 161 106 65.8 63.8 0 75.8 0
Lakshadweep 13 13 100 100 0 0 0
Madhya Pradesh 18052 10270 56.9 49.9 71.1 64.3 33.3
Maharashtra 26015 19750 75.9 73 77.1 74.7 39.8
Manipur 1162 745 64.1 62.2 34.8 69.9 0
Meghalaya 1638 526 32.1 45.5 45.5 20 15.8
Mizoram 715 191 26.7 51.8 8 6.3 13.3
Nagaland 761 282 37.1 20.3 0 48.7 0
Odisha 10036 3859 38.5 51.8 10.6 57.8 33.3
Puducherry 381 311 81.6 78.8 80 83.6 0
Punjab 9364 7320 78.2 83.8 91.5 72.9 0
Rajasthan 31404 9235 29.4 27.6 0 31.3 7.1
Sikkim 267 185 69.3 69.7 18.2 81.6 0
Tamil Nadu 14480 11435 79 98.9 66 62.8 44.1
Telangana 12970 4907 37.8 27.4 33.5 49 0
Tripura 1181 371 31.4 26.2 36.4 72 0
Uttar Pradesh 33515 17781 53.1 77.5 57.5 53.7 8.9
Uttarakhand 3962 2413 60.9 55.8 47.4 78.1 18
West Bengal 10691 3694 34.6 31.8 47.5 62.5 14.9
Source: UDISE+ 2021-22, Government of India.

UDISEPlus 2021-22 Data on Integrated Science Labs in India

UDISEPlus 2021-22 data has been analyzed to know about the coverage of secondary schools concerning the availability of Integrated Science Labs in schools.

The total number of secondary schools in India in 2021-22 was 276,840. Out of these, 148,447 schools (53.6 percent) have integrated science lab facilities. Among the different management types: about 48.8 percent of Government-managed schools have integrated science labs,  against 59.2 percent of Government-aided schools having integrated science labs. About 58.1 percent of Private unaided schools had integrated science labs in 2021-22 against 12.9 percent of Other types of schools have had integrated science labs.

Across all states & union territories, the percentage of schools with integrated science lab facilities varies widely. Chandigarh has the highest percentage (94.8 percent) of secondary schools with integrated science labs, followed by Delhi (100 percent). Some states with high percentages include Goa: 90.9 percent, Puducherry: 81.6 percent, Maharashtra: 75.9 percent, Haryana: 75.9 percent. States with relatively low percentages include Nagaland: 37.1 percent, Meghalaya: 32.1 percent, Mizoram: 26.7 percent, Tripura: 31.4 percent, West Bengal: 34.6 percent, etc.

It’s worth noting that some states have a significant disparity between different types of management. For example, in Uttar Pradesh, government-managed schools have a much higher percentage (77.5 percent) of integrated science labs than other management types.

While most secondary schools in India have integrated science lab facilities, variations exist across different states and management types. Access to science labs is crucial for providing students with practical and hands-on learning experiences, enhancing their understanding and interest in science subjects. The data highlight both areas of success and areas where improvements are needed to ensure all students have access to quality science education.

Several factors could contribute to the variation in the percentage of schools with secondary sections having integrated science lab facilities available across states. These factors include:

  • The level of economic development of the state. States with higher levels of economic development are more likely to have the resources to invest in science education.
  • The political commitment to science education. States with a strong political commitment to science education are more likely to allocate resources to science labs.
  • The availability of qualified science teachers. States with a shortage of qualified science teachers are less likely to provide students with access to science labs. Such states must focus on recruiting more and more science teachers.

The lack of access to science labs is a significant problem for students in India. It limits their ability to learn about science and develop their scientific skills. The problems that need to be addressed if India is to achieve its goal of becoming a knowledge superpower. These problems can be tackled through the following measures:

  • The Government could provide financial assistance to states to help them build and maintain science labs.
  • The Government could train science teachers to help them use science labs effectively.
  • The Government could encourage private schools to build and maintain science labs.

These steps may help ensure that all students in schools have access to the resources they need to learn about science and develop their scientific skills. In addition, some other factors that could also be considered are the following:

  • The size of the school: Larger schools may be more likely to have integrated science labs than smaller schools.
  • The school’s location: Schools in urban areas may be more likely to have integrated science labs than rural ones.
  • The socio-economic status of the students attending the school: Students from higher-income families may be more likely to attend schools with integrated science labs than students from lower-income families.

Significant Difference between an ICT Lab & Integrated Science Lab

The main difference between the ICT and integrated science lab schemes in India is the lab’s focus. The ICT lab is focused on teaching students how to use computers and software (in upper primary schools). In contrast, the integrated science lab is focused on teaching students about science through hands-on experiments in secondary schools.


The ICT lab scheme was launched in 2009 by the Ministry of Education (Ministry of HRD) to provide upper primary schools in India with access to computers and software. The scheme aims to help students develop their computer skills and use computers to learn about various subjects, including science, mathematics, and English.

Integrated Science Lab

The integrated science lab scheme was launched in 2013 by the MHRD to provide secondary & higher secondary schools in India with access to scientific equipment. The scheme aims to help students learn about science through hands-on experiments and to develop their scientific skills.

Comparison: ICT Lab & Integrated Science Lab

The key differences between the ICT lab and integrated science lab schemes are presented in the following table:



Integrated Science Lab

Focus Teaching students how to use computers and software Teaching students about science through hands-on experiments
Resources Computers, software, and other resources Scientific equipment, such as microscopes, telescopes, and chemistry sets
Size Typically smaller Typically larger
Cost Typically more expensive to set up and maintain Less expensive to set up and maintain
Benefits Can help students develop their computer skills Can help students learn about science through hands-on experiences

The ICT lab and integrated science lab schemes are valuable resources for students. The ICT lab can help students develop their computer skills, which are essential today. The integrated science lab can help students learn about science through hands-on experiences, which can help them to understand scientific concepts better.

The best scheme for a particular school will depend on the needs of the students and the resources available to the school. Schools with a strong focus on computer education may benefit more from the ICT lab scheme, while schools with a strong focus on science education may benefit more from the integrated science lab scheme.

Challenges & Possible Solutions

Challenges in implementing integrated science labs in secondary & higher secondary schools in India may vary based on factors such as infrastructure, resources, teacher training, and policy support. Some of the common challenges & potential solutions are presented below:

  1. Limited Infrastructure: Many schools face constraints in terms of inadequate or outdated laboratory facilities. Lack of proper space, equipment, and infrastructure hinders the effective implementation of practical science education.

Solution: Government and educational authorities can allocate funds and resources to upgrade and establish well-equipped science labs in schools. Public-private partnerships can also be encouraged to improve infrastructure and provide the necessary equipment.

  1. Shortage of Trained Teachers: A shortage of teachers with expertise in conducting experiments and guiding students in the labs is a significant challenge. Teachers may lack practical knowledge or training to utilize lab resources effectively.

Solution: Teachers should receive specialized training in experimental techniques, safety protocols, and the effective use of lab equipment. Continuous professional development programs and workshops can be conducted to enhance teachers’ skills and confidence in conducting practical activities.

  1. Safety Concerns: Ensuring the safety of students during laboratory experiments is crucial. Many schools may lack proper safety measures, resulting in potential risks and accidents.

Solution: Schools should prioritize safety and implement strict safety protocols. This includes providing safety equipment, conducting regular safety audits, and training teachers and students on properly handling chemicals and equipment. Collaboration with local authorities or experts can help establish and enforce safety guidelines.

  1. Inadequate Funding: Limited financial resources can hinder establishing or maintaining integrated science labs. Schools may struggle to procure necessary equipment, chemicals, and other resources.

Solution: Governments should allocate sufficient funds for science lab development and maintenance. Additionally, schools can explore partnerships with industries, organizations, and alumni networks to secure funding and donations for lab infrastructure and supplies.

  1. Integration with Curriculum: Integrating practical activities into the existing curriculum can be challenging. Time constraints and curriculum overload may limit the inclusion of hands-on experiments.

Solution: Curriculum frameworks should emphasize the integration of practical activities and experiments. Authorities can review and revise the curriculum to ensure sufficient time for practical learning. Flexibility in the curriculum may encourage teachers to design their experiments & align with the learning objectives.

  1. Monitoring & Evaluation: Adequate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms may be lacking, making it difficult to assess the effectiveness and impact of integrated science labs.

Solution: Establishing a system for regularly monitoring and evaluating the labs can help identify areas for improvement. Schools and education authorities can set up feedback mechanisms, conduct assessments, and seek input from students, teachers, and experts to measure the impact of the labs on student learning outcomes.

Addressing these challenges requires collaborative efforts between the Government, educational institutions, policymakers, and relevant stakeholders. Investing in infrastructure, teacher training, safety measures, funding, curriculum integration, and monitoring mechanisms can enhance the implementation of integrated science labs, leading to improved scientific education for students.

Programs Launched by the Government

The Government of India has launched several programs and initiatives to improve education and promote scientific learning in schools. Some notable programs include:

  1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): Launched in 2001, SSA (2001 to 2017) aims to provide free & compulsory education to all children between 6 to 14 years. It focuses on universalizing elementary education and improving the quality of education across India.
  2. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA): Initiated in 2009, RMSA aims to enhance access to quality secondary education and increase enrollment rates in secondary schools. It focuses on improving infrastructure, teacher training, and curriculum reforms for secondary education.
  3. Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan: Launched in 2018, it is an integrated scheme for school education which subsumes the SSA, RMSA, and Teacher Education (TE) programs. It aims to provide quality education from pre-primary to senior secondary levels, focusing on inclusive education, digital initiatives, and skill development.
  4. Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL): ATL is an initiative under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) launched by NITI Aayog. It aims to foster creativity, innovation, and scientific temperament among school students by providing access to state-of-the-art facilities and tools for tinkering and project-based learning.
  5. National Initiative for School Heads’ & Teachers’ Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA): does the Ministry of Education launch a capacity-building program to enhance the professional development of teachers and school heads. It focuses on improving classroom teaching methodologies, pedagogy, and technology integration.
  6. Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Program (DHRUV): Launched in 2019, DHRUV is a scholarship program for talented students in science, mathematics, and performing arts. It aims to nurture and enhance the potential of exceptional students by providing them with mentorship, exposure to experts, and a platform for showcasing their talent.

These are a few examples of the programs the Government of India has launched to improve education and promote scientific learning. Some various state-level initiatives and programs focus on specific educational needs and challenges.

Executive Summary

The integrated ICT labs in secondary schools in India aim to revolutionize the education system by providing advanced technology infrastructure and resources to enhance teaching and learning experiences. These labs integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and equipment into the curriculum, enabling students to develop essential digital skills and competencies. The initiative focuses on bridging the digital divide & equipping students with the knowledge & skills for the digital age.

Education for All in India