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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reworked Assignment


History of Education in India



Early History

Early education in India commenced under the supervision of a guru. Initially, education was open to all and seen as one of the methods to achieve Moksha, or enlightenment. As time progressed, due to superiority complexes, the education was imparted on the basis of caste and the related duties that one had to perform as a member of a specific caste.

   Brahmans learned about scriptures and religion

  Kshatriya was educated in the various aspects of warfare.

  The Vaishya caste learned commerce and other specific vocational courses

  Education was largely denied to the Shudras, the lowest caste. 

The earliest venues of education in India were often secluded from the main population. Students were expected to follow strict monastic guidelines prescribed by the guru and stay away from cities in ashrams. However, as population increased under the Gupta empire centers of urban learning became increasingly common and Cities such as Varanasi and the Buddhist center at Nalanda became increasingly visible.

Education in India in its traditional form was closely related to religion. Among the Heterodox schools of belief were the Jain and Buddhist schools. Heterodox Buddhist education was more inclusive and aside of the monastic orders the Buddhist education centers were urban institutes of learning such as Taxila and Nalanda where grammar, medicine, philosophy, logic, metaphysics, arts and crafts etc. were also taught. Early secular Buddhist institutions of higher learning like Taxila and Nalanda continued to function well into the Common Era and were attended by students from China and Central Asia.

The Rigveda-mentions female poets called brahmavadinis, specifically Lopamudra and Ghosha.

Upanishads - By 800 BCE women such as Gargi and Maitreyi were mentioned as scholars in the


Pali canonMaya, mother of the historic Buddha, was an educated queen while other women in India contributed to writing.

It is possible that later historian twisted the truth that the so-called lower castes in the society were denied the right to education only in order to pitch for better concessions and create a feel good factor to the leaders of society so they may corner the valuable mass support It is wrong to say that the teaching existed only in schools run by the upper cast teachers in their so-.called Gurukuls. The society was teaching its subjects in the exact and required skills as appropriate to the time. It is widely acclaimed now that the class room education does not teach the actual required skill sets either for life as it is perceived now or add value to the humanity at large.


Education System in India:

The present education system in India mainly comprises of primary education, secondary education, senior secondary education and higher education. Elementary education consists of eight years of education. Each of secondary and senior secondary education consists of two years of education. Higher education in India starts after passing the higher secondary education or the 12th standard. Depending on the stream, doing graduation in India can take three to five years. Postgraduate courses are generally of two to three years of duration. After completing post-graduation, scope for doing research in various educational institutes also remains open.


History of the Education System

Introduced by Lord Macaulay, during the british rule in 19th  century.



Government Efforts:

  Financial Assistance

  Various Grants

  Educational Programme (SarvaSikshaAbhigyan)

  Free Education


  Rise in enrollment

  Rise in literacy

  Increase in educational institutes

  Progress in technical and professional education 


India Education- Present Condition

After gaining independence in 1947, making education available to all had become a priority for the government. As discrimination on the basis of caste and gender has been a major impediment in the healthy development of the Indian society, they have been made unlawful by the Indian constitution. The 86th constitutional amendment has also made elementary education a fundamental right for the children between the age group- 6 to 14. According to the 2001 census, the total literacy rate in India is 65.38%. The female literacy rate is only 54.16%. The gap between rural and urban literacy rate is also very significant in India. This is evident from the fact that only 59.4% of rural populations are literate as against 80. 3% urban population according to the 2001 census. In order to develop the higher education system, the government had established the University Grants Commission in 1953. The primary role of UGC has been to regulate the standard and spread of higher education in India. There has been an educational institute in India. The higher education systems in India comprise of more than17000 colleges,20 central universities, 217 State Universities, 106 Deemed to Universities and 13 institutes of National importance. This number will soon rise as the setting up of 30 more central universities, 8 new IITs, 7 IIMs and 5 new Indian Institutes of Science are now proposed.

The School System

India is divided into 28 states and 7 so-called "Union Territories". The states have their own elected governments while the Union Territories are ruled directly by the Government of India, with the President of India appointing an administrator for each Union Territory. As per the constitution of India, school education was originally a state subject —that is, the states had complete authority on deciding policies and implementing them. The role of the Government of India (GoI) was limited to coordination and deciding on the standards of higher education. This was changed with a constitutional amendment in 1976 so that education now comes in the so-called concurrent list. That is, school education policies and programmes are suggested at the national level by the GoI though the state governments have a lot of freedom in implementing programmes. Policies are announced at the national level periodically. The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), set up in 1935, continues to play a lead role in the evolution and monitoring of educational policies and programmes.

There is a national organization that plays a key role in developing policies and programmes, called the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) that prepares a National Curriculum Framework. Each state has its counterpart called the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT). These are the bodies that essentially propose educational strategies, curricula, pedagogical schemes and evaluation methodologies to the states' departments of education. The SCERTs generally follow guidelines established by the NCERT. But the states have considerable freedom in implementing the education system.

The National Policy on Education, 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA) 1992 envisaged free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality for all children below 14 years before the 21st Century. The government committed to earmark 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education, half of which would be spent on primary education. The expenditure on Education as a percentage of GDP also rose from 0.7 per cent in 1951-52 to about 3.6 per cent in 1997-98.

The school system in India has four levels:

Ø  Lower primary (age 6 to 10)

Ø  Upper primary (11 and 12)

Ø  High (13 to 15) and

Ø  Higher secondary (17 and 18).

The lower primary school is divided into five "standards", upper primary school into two, high school into three and higher secondary into two. Students have to learn a common curriculum largely (except for regional changes in mother tongue) till the end of high school. There is some amount of specialization possible at the higher secondary level. Students throughout the country have to learn three languages (namely, English, Hindi and their mother tongue) except in regions where Hindi is the mother tongue and in some streams as discussed below.

There are mainly three streams in school education in India. Two of these are coordinated at the national level, of which one is under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and was originally meant for children of central government employees who are periodically transferred and may have to move to any place in the country. A number of "central schools" (named KendriyaVidyalayas) have been established for the purpose in all main urban areas in the country, and they follow a common schedule so that a student going from one school to another on a particular day will hardly see any difference in what is being taught. One subject (Social Studies, consisting of History, Geography and Civics) is always taught in Hindi, and other subjects in English, in these schools. KendriyaVidyalayas admit other children also if seats are available. All of them follow textbooks written and published by the NCERT. In addition to these government-run schools, a number of private schools in the country follow the CBSE syllabus though they may use different text books and follow different teaching schedules. They have a certain amount of freedom in what they teach in lower classes. The CBSE also has 141 affiliated schools in 21 other countries mainly catering to the needs of the Indian population there.

The second central scheme is the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). It seems that this was started as a replacement for the Cambridge School Certificate. The idea was mooted in a conference held in 1952 under the Chairmanship of MaulanaAbulKalam Azad, the then Minister for Education. The main purpose of the conference was to consider the replacement of the overseas Cambridge School Certificate Examination by an All India Examination. In October 1956 at the meeting of the Inter-State Board for Anglo-Indian Education, a proposal was adopted for the setting up of an Indian Council to administer the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate's Examination in India and to advise the Syndicate on the best way to adapt its examination to the needs of the country. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on 3rd November, 1958. In December 1967, the Council was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Council was listed in the Delhi School Education Act 1973, as a body conducting public examinations. Now a large number of schools across the country are affiliated to this Council. All these are private schools and generally cater to children from wealthy families.

Both the CBSE and the ICSE council conduct their own examinations in schools across the country that are affiliated to them at the end of 10 years of schooling (after high school) and again at the end of 12 years (after higher secondary). Admission to the 11th class is normally based on the performance in this all-India examination. Since this puts a lot of pressure on the child to perform well, there have been suggestions to remove the examination at the end of 10 years.


India established a dense educational network (very largely for males) with a Western curriculum based on instruction in English. To further advance their careers many ambitious upper class men with money, including GandhiNehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah went to England, especially to obtain a legal education at the Inns of Court. By 1890 some 60,000 Indians had matriculated, chiefly in the liberal arts or law. About a third entered public administration, and another third became lawyers. The result was a very well educated professional state bureaucracy. By 1887 of 21,000 mid-level civil service appointments, 45% were held by Hindus, 7% by Muslims, 19% by Eurasians (European father and Indian mother), and 29% by Europeans. Of the 1000 top -level positions, almost all were held by Britons, typically with an Oxbridge degree.

The Raj, often working with local philanthropists, opened 186 colleges and universities. Starting with 600 students scattered across 4 universities and 67 colleges in 1882, the system expanded rapidly. More exactly, there never was a "system" under the Raj, as each state acted independently and funded schools for Indians from mostly private sources. By 1901 there were 5 universities and 145 colleges, with 18,000 students (almost all male). The curriculum was Western. By 1922 most schools were under the control of elected provincial authorities, with little role for the national government. In 1922 there were 14 universities and 167 colleges, with

46,000 students. In 1947 21 universities and 496 colleges were in operation. Universities at first did no teaching or research; they only conducted examinations and gave out degrees.

The Madras Medical College opened in 1835, and admitted women so that they could treat the female population who traditionally shied away from medical treatments under qualified male professionals. The concept of educated women among medical professionals gained popularity during the late 19th century and by 1894, the Women's Christian Medical College, an exclusive medical school for women, was established in Ludhiana in Punjab.

The British established the Government College University in Lahore, of present day Pakistan in 1864. The institution was initially affiliated with the University of Calcutta for examination. The prestigious University of the Punjab, also in Lahore, was the fourth university established by the colonials in South Asia, in the year 1882.


Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO College), founded in 1875, was the first modern institution of higher education for Muslims in India. By 1920 it became The Aligarh Muslim University and was the leading intellectual center of Muslim political activity.The original goals were to train Muslims for British service and prepare elite that would attend universities in Britain. After 1920 it became a center of political activism. Before 1939, the faculty and students supported an all-India nationalist movement.

Chronology of main events:

         1935- Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) set up.

         1976- Education made a joint responsibility of the state and the center.

         1986- National Policy on Education (NPE) and Programme of Action (POA)

         1992- Revised National Policy on Education (NPE) and Programme of Action (POA)

         December 17, 1998: The Assam Government enacts a law making ragging in educational institutions a criminal offence.

         November 1998: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announces setting up of vidyavahini network to link up universities, UGC and CSIR.



Accreditations for universities in India are required by law unless it was created through an act of Parliament. Without accreditation, the government notes "these fake institutions have no legal entity to call themselves as University/vishwvidyala and to award 'degree' which are not treated as valid for academic/employment purpose. The University Grants Commission Act 1956 explains "the right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act carlo bon tempo, or a State Act, or an institution deemed to be University or an institution specially empowered by an Act of the Parliament to confer or grant degrees. Thus, any institution which has not been created by an enactment of Parliament or a State Legislature or has not been granted the status of a Deemed to be University is not entitled to award degree."


Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.

         All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)

         Distance Education Council (DEC)

         Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

         Bar Council of India (BCI)

         National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)

         National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE)

         Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI)

         Medical Council of India (MCI)

         Pharmacy Council of India (PCI)

         Indian Nursing Council (INC)

         Dental Council of India (DCI)

         Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH)

         Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM)

         Veterinary Council of India (VCI)


Prominent Educational Institutes in India:

There are pretty a good number of educational institutes in India that can compete with the best educational institutes of the world.

         The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)

         Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)

         Indian Institutes of Science

         National Law Schools

         Jawaharlal Nehru University is some such institutes.


Education for the Marginalized in India:

As education is the means for bringing socio- economic transformation in a society, various measures are being taken to enhance the access of education to the marginalized sections of the society. One such measure is the introduction of the reservation system in the institutes of higher education.Under the present law, 7.5% seats in the higher educational institutes are reserved for the scheduled tribes, 15% for scheduled castes and 27% for the non-creamy layers of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Under the Indian constitution, various minority groups can also set up their own educational institutes.Efforts are also being taken to improve the access to higher education among the women of India by setting up various educational institutes exclusively for them or reserving seats in the already existing institutes. The growing acceptance of distance learning courses and expansion of the Open University system is also contributing a lot in the democratization of higher education in India.


Despite all the efforts to develop the education system in India, access, equity and quality of education in India continue to haunt the policy makers till this date. This has mainly been due to the widespread poverty and various prejudices. The inability to check the dropout rates among the marginalized sections of the population is another cause of worry.However, the renewed emphasis in the education sector in the 11th five year plan and increased expenditure in both primary and higher education can act as palliatives for the Indian education system.


1.      Arnold, Edward. Education in India: A Letter from the Ex-Principal of an Indian Government college to His Appointed Successor. London:Bell&Daldy,1860.

2.      Bhattacharaya, Sabyasachi(ed) Education and the Disprivileged: Nineteenth & Twentieth centuries.NewDelhi:Oxford  University press 2007.

3.      Cotton, J.S. Progress of Education in India 1892-97, Third Quinquinneal Review,London: Her majestry's stationery office,1898.

4.      Kumar, Krishna, "Textbooks and Educational Culture". Economic and Political weekly 21, no.30, 1986, pg.1309-11.

5.      Maston,W.Indian Educational Policy. Madras: Christian Literature Society for India, 1936.

6.      Education commission, 1971. Education and National Development, vol.1, New Delhi NCERT.

7.      Government of India, 1965-66. Report of the commissioner for schedule castes and scheduled Tribes, New Delhi: Manager of Publications.

8.      Academic.Edu- Website History of Education in India by Kumar Ragendren


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