Essay on the History of Education in India (4824 Words)


December 18, 2018 admin 0 Comment

However, after a few years, another educational institution was set up at Banaras “for the preservation and cultivation of the Laws, Literature and Religion of the nation, to accomplish the same purpose for the Hindus as the Madrasah of the Mohammedan and specially supply qualified Hindu Assistants to European Judges”.

Wilberforce carried a resolution emphasising the adoption of such steps as would lead to the advancement in useful knowledge of the people of India in 1792-93. He suggested the sending of school masters and missionaries to India.

The move of Wilberforce was opposed and it was maintained that the Hindus had “as good a system of faith and morals as must people”. It was pointed out that it would be madness to give them any kind of learning other than what they possessed.

Some years later, Charles Grant, one of the Directors of the Company, submitted a memorandum in which be lamented the low moral condition of the people of India. He asked the company to improve their condition by imparting to them knowledge of the English language which was to serve as “a key which will open to them a world of new ideas”.

As the Muslim rulers had taught Persians to the Indians, in the same way the Englishmen should teach English to the people of India. To quote him, “It would be extremely easy for Government, to establish, at moderate expenses, in various parts of provinces, places of gratuitous instruction in reading and writing English, multitudes, especially of the young, would flock to them, and the easy books used in teaching might at the same time Corvey obvious truths on different subjects.

The Hindus would, in time, become teachers of English themselves, and the employment of our language in public business, for which every political reason remains in full force, would, in the course of another generation. There is nothing wanting to the success of this plan, but the hearty patronage of Government.

In 1811, Lord Minto regretted the neglect of literature and science in India and suggested improvements in existing colleges in addition to the establishment of new ones.

A clause was inserted in the Charter Act of 1813 stipulating that “a sum of not less than one lakh of rupees in each year shall be set apart and applied to the revival and improvement of literature and for the introduction and promotion of knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories in India”.

For founding an institution where the Hindus were to receive instructions in European languages. Sciences, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded an association. The Hindu College was founded in 1817.

In 1818, the Bishop of Calcutta opened an institution which was to serve the double purpose of training young Christians as preachers and of imparting knowledge of the English language to Hindus and Muslims. Raja Ram Mohan Roy opposed the establishment of a Sanskrit College at Calcutta.

However, nobody bothered of a Sanskrit College at Calcutta. However, nobody bothered about this protest. The court of Directors of the Company was happy at the prospect of having qualified Indians to help them in the administration.

To quote them, “As the means of bringing about this most desirable object, we rely chiefly on their becoming through a familiarity with the European literature and science, imbued with the ideas and feelings of civilized Europe-on the ample cultivation of their understanding and specifically on their instruction in the principles of moral and general jurisprudence”.

Elphinstone in 1823, in a communication to the commissioners for Indian Affairs, he wrote to impart higher degree of education to upper class. Another important objective was to prepare natives for public employment.

He proposed the establishment of a school at Bombay where English might be taught “classically” and where instruction might also be given in that language age on history, geography and Science.

In 1833, he set a similar School at Poona. In 1834 was started the Elphinstone College at Bombay. It was expected to train “a class of persons qualified by their intelligence and morality for high employment in the Civil Administration of India”.

There started a controversy as to whether instructions should be given through English or through Arabic or Persian. The Anglicists maintained that all instruction should be given through the oriental languages.

To settle the controversy, the Government appointed a committee. Among the orientalists were many distinguished officers of the Government and their view prevailed for sometime. When Lord Macaulay was appointed the chairman of the committee in 1835, the parties were so evenly balanced that things had come to a deadlock.

Lord Macaulay wrote a minute which turned the scales against the Orient lists. He discussed the Charter Act of 1813 which provided a sum of money for the revival and promotion of literature and for the introduction of the knowledge of Sciences among the inhabitants of India.

His argument was that English was the language spoken by the ruling class. It was likely to become the language of commerce “throughout the seas of East.” He came to the conclusion that the Government was free to employ its funds on teaching what was better worth knowing than Sanskrit or Arabic.

Lord Macaulay had expressed similar views in the House of Commons before he come to India. To quote him, “Are we to keep people of India ignorant in order that we may keep the them submissive? Or do we think that we can give knowledge without awakening ambition?”

Or do we mean to awaken ambition and provide it with no legitimate Vent? It may be that the public mind of India may expand under our system until it has outgrown that system that by good Government we may educate our subjects into a capacity for better Government that having become instructed in European knowledge, they may, in some future age, demand.

European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come I know not. Whenever it comes it will be the proudest day in English history… The scepte may pass away from us. Victory may be inconstant to our arms, but there are triumphs which are followed by no reverse. There is no empire exempt from all natural causes of decay.

There triumphs are the pacific triumphs of reason over barbarism, ”the empire is the imperishable empire of our arts and our morals, our literature and our laws”. Again, “The question before us is simply whether, when it is in our power to teach this language-English-we shall teach languages in which by universal confession, there are no books on any subjects which deserve to be compared to our own: whether, when we can teach European science, we shall teach system which, by universal confession, wherever they differ from those of Europe, differ for the worse: and whether, when we patronise sound philosophy and true history, we shall countenance, at the Public expense, medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier astronomy which would move straighter in the girls at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet high and regains thirty thousand years long, and geography made up seas of treacle and seas of butter.

Lord William Bentinck, the Governor-General, approved of the minute of Lord Macaulay. A resolution was passed on 7th March 1835 and the following points were emphasised in that resolution:

1. That “the great object of the British Government ought to be the promotion of European literature and science amongst the natives of India and that all found appropriated for the purposes of education would be best employed on English education alonge.

2. “That while the colleges of oriental learning were not to be abolished, the practise of supporting their students during their period of education was to be discontinued.

3. “The Government funds were not to be spent on the printing of oriental works.

4. “That all the funds at the disposal of the Government knowledge of English literature and Science.”

It was a systematic effort on the part of the British Government to educate the Upper classes, of India through the English language. Macaulay put implicit faith on downward filtration theory. He believed that the English educated persons would act as a class of interpreterous and in turn enrich vernacular languages and literatures.

In the North­west provinces Mr. James Thompson, Lieutenant-Governor during 1843-53 made an effort to develop elaborate system of village education. The department of Education was organised for the development of indigenous schools. The main objective of Thompsonean plan to train people for employment in the newly set up Revenue and P.W.D of the province.

Wood’s Despatch of 1854:

But the most important landmark in the development of education in India was the Wood’s Despatch of 1857. In 1854 Sir Charles Wood, the President of the Board of Control-drafted a Despatch on the future scheme of education.

This despatch is considered as the Magna Carta of English education in India. In this despatch he emphasised that India was “a race of people slow to change, bound up by religious prejudices and antiquated customs.” There are infact many I had almost said all the obstacles to rapid progress.

The chief recommendations of Wood’s Despatch were as follows:

1. The aim of the educational system and policy of the British should be diffusion of the Arts, Science and Philosophy of Europe so that trustworthy men would be produced who could hold offices under the company.

2. Both English and English languages were to be used for the diffusion of European knowledge, and English as the medium of education should not be insisted upon at all stages. It should be used only when sufficient knowledge of it had been gained by the people.

3. The despatch favoured the abandonment of Macaulay’s filtration Theory, which held that education should be imparted to upper classes only and it would automatically filter down to the masses. Instead of recommended that indigenous school be made a foundation of the system.

4. It favoured the introduction of the system of grants-in-aid to encourage the private enterprises in the field of education. However, these grants were to be made available only to those institutions which employed qualified teachers and maintained proper standards of teaching. In making these grants the principle of religious neutrality was also to be observed.

5. The despatch laid great emphasis on vocational instructions and emphasised the need of establishing technical instructions for training students in law, medicine, agriculture, methods of teaching in schools etc.

6. Special facilities and encouragement should be provided to female education.

7. It favoured the establishment of Universities in India on the pattern of the London University. Each University was to have a chancellor, a vice-chancellor and a senate, in addition to professions for various branches of learning such as Law. These universities were to be merely examining bodies.

Initially such universities were set up at Calcutta and Bombay, but an additional university would be established at Madras. At other places, where there were sufficient number of students for degree classes such universities would be established. In pursuance of this provision universities were set up at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in 1887 respectively.

8. The despatch recommended the establishment of a Separate Department of Public Instructions in every province under the Director-General of Education. The Director-General was to be assisted by inspecting officers, who were to make periodical reports of the educational work in their province. These officers were designated as Director and were in charge of one of the five provinces each.

Wood’s scheme of education has been criticised on the ground that it was a slavish imitation of the English models and failed to provide any solid scheme for the administration of schools etc. The appointment of administrators as Directors of public instructions has been severely criticised by Prof. Dodwell. He says, the men in- charge of the department were primarily administrators and consequently education tended to become a matter of routine administration.

The Hunter Commission 182-83:

The British so far had placed emphasis on the College and University education. The secretary of state for India, by a regulation in 1859, had made provision of grants-in-aid by the Government to colleges and universities alone.

Therefore, the Primary and High school education remained neglected. In 1870, the responsibility of education was transferred to provinces which had limited economic resources. That also handicapped the Primary and High School education.

Therefore, Lord Ripon felt the necessity of inquiring into the working of Primary and High School education and appointed an Education Commission under Mr. W.W. Hunter in 1882 to review the progress of education in these fields since Woods dispatch of 1854. The commission submitted its report in 1883. Some of its primary recommendations were as follows:

1. Primary education should be given priority. The government need not wait for voluntary help in this field. It should hand over the management of primary education to District and Municipal Boards which were to be provided one-third of its expenditure on it by the Government as grants-in-aid.

2. Two types of High Schools should be established-the one for providing literary education leading upto entrance examination of the University and the other preparing students for vocational education.

3. The Government as for as could be possible, should withdraw itself from the school and college education and every effort should be made to encourage private enterprise in these fields by a system of liberal grants-in-aid.

4. Female education which was most inadequate outside the presidency towns should be emphasized.

The Government accepted most of the recommendations of the commission and education developed with a marked speed after it. But more than the Government a number of Indian philanthropic and religious associations participated in its growth.

It resulted not only in the development of western education but also in oriental studies. So teaching-cum-examining Universities were also established in the coming years, i.e., the Punjab University in 1882 and the Allahabad University in 1887. But the Primary education still remained neglected.

Besides, the female education also remained negligible. According to public census in 1901, only fifteen per cent among children went to the Primary schools and only seven femalies among one thousand could read and write.

The Indian Universities Act, 1904:

In September 1901 Curzon summoned the highest educational officers of the Government. Throughout India and representatives of Universities at a round table conference at Simla.

The conference opened with a speech by the viceroy in which he surveyed the whole field of education in India. “We have not here he said, “to devise a brand new plan of educational reforms which is to spring fully armed from the head of the Home department and to be imposed Nolens Volens upon the Indian public.”

Later developments were to prove the hypocrisy behind this assertion. The conference adopted 150 resolutions which touched almost every conceivable branch of education.

This was followed by the appointment of a commission under the presidency of Sir Thomas Raleigh on 27 January 1902 to enquire into the condition and prospects of Universities in India and to recommend proposals for improving their constitution and working.

Evidently, the commission was precluded from reporting on primary or secondary education as result of the report of the recommendations of the commission the Indian Universities Act was passed in 1904. The main changes proposed were as-

1. The Universities were desired to make provision for promotion of study and research, to appoint University professors and lecturers, set up University laboratories and libraries and undertake direct instruction of students.

2. The act lay down that the number of fellows of a University shall not be less than fifty or more than a hundred a fellow should normally hold office for a period of six years instead of for life.

3. Most of the fellows of a University were to be nominated by the Government. The elective element of Universities of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay was to be twenty each and in case of other Universities fifteen only.

4. The Government control over the Universities was further increased by vesting the Government with powers to veto the regulations passed by the senate of a University. The Government could also make conditions or alterations in the regulations formed by the Senate and even frame regulating itself over and above the head of the Senate.

5. The Act increased University control over private colleges by laying down stricter conditions of affiliation and periodical inspection by the syndicate. The private colleges were required to keep a proper standard of efficiency. The Government approval was necessary for grant of affiliation or dis-affiliation of colleges.

6. The Governor-General in council was empowered to define the territorial limits of a University or decide the affiliation of colleges to Universities.

The Universities Act of 1904 met with severe condemnation at the hands of Indian leaders. According to Chirol “As was to be expected under a viceroy who was a great autocrat with an even whelming faith in the efficiency of the Government machinery, the chief purpose of the Act of 1904 was to tighten the hold of the Government on the University, and in the first place on their senates, which were still retained as the ruling bodies. It has alleged that Curzon sought to reduce the Universities to the position of departments of states and sabotage development of private enterprise in the field of education.

According to Frozer “The greatest controversy of Lord Curzon”, viceroyalty which produced bitterness among the leaders of Indian opinion and which was responsible for making the viceroy the most unpopular with the educated calls in India was the Act of 1904. The Sadler Commission of 1917 also observed that the Act of 1904 made “the Indian Universities among the most completely governmental Universities in the world.”

The Resolution of 21 February 1913:

The Indian national leaders were pressing the Government of India to assume the responsibility of providing compulsory primary education in India. The Government cleared its policy by a resolution on 21 February 1913. It did not assume the responsibility of compulsory primary education.

Instead, it accepted its adherence to a policy of the removal of illiteracy in India. It urged the Provinces Governments to take early measures towards this direction. It also emphasized the need to encourage private voluntary efforts in this direction. It emphasized on improvement of the High school education and stressed the need of taking the responsibility of teaching by the Universities.

The Sadler University Commission 1917-19:

In 1917 the Government of India appointed a commission to study and report on the problems of Calcutta University. Dr. M.E. Sadler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, was appointed its chairman.

The commission included two Indian members, namely Sir Asutosh Mukherji and Dr. Zia-ud-din Ahmad, while the Hunter commission had reported on problems of Secondary education and the University Commission of 1902 mainly on the different aspects of University education, the Sadler Commission reviewed the entire field from school education to university education.

The Sadler commission held the view that the improvement of Secondary education was a necessary condition for the improvement of university education.

The Commission reported that an effective synthesis between college and university was still undiscovered when the reform of 1904 had been worked out to conclusion and the foundation of a sound university organisation had not been laid down.

Further, it reported that “the problems of high school training and organisation were unresolved. Although the commission reported on the conditions of Calcutta University, its recommendations and remarks were more or less applicable to other Indian Universities also. The following were the main recommendations:

1. A twelve-year school course was recommended. After passing the Intermediate Examination. Rather than the matriculation, the students were to enter a University. The Government was urged to create new type of institutions called intermediate Colleges.

These colleges could either be run as independent institutions or might be attached to selected high schools. For the administration and control of Secondary Education, the Commission recommended the setting up of a Board of Secondary and Intermediate Education.

The idea behind these recommendations was on the one hand, to prepare students for the universities, and to relieves the latter of a large number of students quite below any university standard and, on the other hand, to offer a sound collegiate education to students who did not propose, and should not be encouraged, to proceed to universities.

2. The duration of the degree course after the Intermediate stage should be limited to three years. For the needs of abler students provision was to be made for Honours courses as distinct from the pass courses.

3. The commission recommended less rigidity in framing the regulations of universities.

4. The old type of Indian university, with its large number of affiliated and widely scattered colleges should be replaced by centralized unitary-residential-teaching autonomous bodies.

A unitary teaching university was recommended for Dacca to lessen the rush of numbers at the colleges of Calcutta University. Further, Colleges in the mofussil should be so developed as to make it possible encourage the growth of new university centres few concentration of resources for higher education at a few points.

5. It stressed the need for extension of facilities for female education and recommended the establishment of a special Board of Women Education in the Calcutta University.

6. The necessity of providing substantial facilities for training of teachers was emphasised and desirability of setting up the departments of education at the Universities of Calcutta and Dacca.

7. The university was desired to provide courses in applied science and technology and also to recognise their systematic and practical study by award of degrees and diplomas. The universities were also to provide facilities for training of personnel for professional and vocational colleges.

Seven new universities came into existence during 1916-21, namely Mysore, Patna, Banaras, Aligarh, Dacca, Lucknow and Osmania. In 1920 the Government of India recommended the Sadler report to provincial governments.

The Hartog Committee, 1929:

By the Act of 1919, education was transferred to the provinces and the central government discontinued its grant for the purpose of education. The provincial Government could do nothing much concerning the education, yet the number of schools and colleges continued multiplying because of private initiative. It led to deterioration of educational standards.

Therefore, a committee headed by Sir Philip Hartog was appointed in 1929 by Indian statutory commission to report on the progress of education achieved by them. The main findings of this committee were as follows:

1. Primary education needed more attention though it was not necessary to make it compulsory.

2. Only deserving students should be allowed to go in for high school and intermediate education. Average students should be diverted to vocational courses just after the middle stage, i.e. after VIII class.

3. The Universities should improve their standards of education and for that it was necessary that admissions to the university should be restricted.

By the Act of 1935, provincial autonomy was introduced in the provinces and popular ministries started functioning in 1937. The Congress formed its Government in seven provinces. Mahatma Gandhi proposed a scheme of education which is popularly known as Wardha Scheme of Basic education The Zakir Hussain Committee worked out the details of this scheme and suggested a seven years course of education which involved manual productive work as well.

But the scheme could not be introduced because the ministries resigned in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Wardha Scheme of Basic Education:

The Congress Ministries formed in seven provinces under the Government of india Act 1935 also devoted attention to the improvement of educational system. In 1937 Mahatma Gandhi proposed a scheme of Basic education. Popularly known as Wardha Scheme or Scheme of Basic education.

This scheme was evolved as a result of deliberations of various educationalists that assembled at Wardha under the Chairmanship of Mahatma Gandhi. The scheme laid emphasis on manual productive work and was to be financially self-sufficient. In the main the Wardha scheme of Basic Education had four basic features:

i. Education was to be free for all the children between the age of 7 and 14 years.

ii. Education was to be imparted through the mother-tongue of the child.

iii. It was to centre round certain basic crafts selected with due regard to the surrounding.

iv. It was to be self-sufficient and not to course any financial strain on the government.

Sergeant Plan of Education:

In 1944 the Central Advisory Board of Education drew up a scheme. As Sir John Sergeant was the educational advisor of the Government of India at that time, it is known as the Sergeant plan. It envisaged the establishment of junior and senior basic schools and compulsory education for children between six to eleven years of age.

Over Senior basic schools were High schools which were to be two categories-academic and technical or vocational which were to provide education for six years. The plan suggested the abolition of Intermediate schools.

But it recommended that one year was to be added to school education and one year to the degree courses in the universities. The plan suggested reconstruction of education in the next forty years. The period, however, was reduced to sixteen years by the Kher committee.

Radhakrishnan Commission (1949):

After the independence of India, the Government of India appointed in 1948 a University commission under the chairmanship of Sri S. Radhakrishnan. The terms of reference of the commission were to consider and make recommendations on the following subjects:

1. The aims and objects of university education and research in India.

2. The changes considered necessary and desirable in the constitution, control, functions and jurisdiction of universities in India and their relations with the Government of India and the Provincial Governments.

3. The finance of universities.

4. The maintenance of the highest standard of teaching and examinations in the universities and colleges under their control.

5. The courses of studies in the university and their duration.

6. The standards of admission to university courses of study with reference to the desirability of an independent university entrance examination and the avoidance of unfair discrimination which militate against the fundamental right contained in Article 23 (2).

7. The medium of instruction in the universities.

8. The provision for advanced study in Indian culture, history, literature, languages, philosophy and finance.

9. The need for more universities on a regional or other basis.

10. The organisation of advanced research in all branches of knowledge in the universities and institutes of higher research in a well-co-ordinated fashion avoiding waste of efforts and resources.

11. Religious instruction in the universities.

12. The special problems of Delhi University, Aligarh University and Banaras Hindu University.

13. The qualifications, conditions of service, salaries, privileges and functions of teachers and the encouragement of original research by teachers.

14. The discipline of students, hotels and the organisation of tutorial work and any other matter which is germane and essential to a complete and comprehensive enquiry into all aspects of university education and advanced research in India.

After touring the whole of the country, interviewing people and receiving and considering the memoranda from various quarters the commission made the following recommendations in 1949:

The commission recommended the establishment of rural universities with Santiniketan and Jamia Millia as their model. The Report criticised the allocation of small funds for education. They were not to be more than five per cent of the total revenue.

The commission stressed the necessity of increasing considerably the grants for scholarship and stipends so that the poor might not suffer. The colleges were not to be allowed to admit more than one thousand students.

Where the mother-tongue was not the same as the federal language, the federal language was to be the medium of instruction. If the mother-tongue and the federal language were identical, the students were required taking any other Indian classical or modern language.

There should be no attempt at hasty replacement of English as a medium of instruction for academic standards. The commission did not prescribe any time limit. There were to be no denominational or sectarian religious considerations.

As regards co-education it would be adopted in the secondary stage and then again in the college stage. The commission laid considerable stress on improving the standards of the teaching profession.

There were to be four classes of teachers, viz., professors, readers, lecturers and instructors, promotion from one category to another was to be solely on the basis of merit.

University Grants Commission:

In 1956, the Indian parliament passed the University Grants Commission Act. That Act provides for the appointment of University Grants Commission by the Central Government. The nine members of the commission are appointed by the Central Government.

Every member holds office for a period of six years. The chairman of the commission is appointed by the Central Government and his job is a whole-time job carrying a salary. The commission meets at different times at different places.