Educational Development in India Notes 8th Social Science

Educational Development in India Notes 8th Social Science

8th Social Science Lesson 11 Notes in English

11. Educational Development in India


  • Education is a continuous process of aquring and sharing of knowledge, skills and values. Education is recognised as the foundation of a progressive society.
  • It plays a vital role in shaping responsible people. The world we live is constantly changing and developing.
  • So, to meet the challenges and overcome the obstacles we need to be well educated and to know the role of the education in the human development process.

Education in Ancient India

  • The historical sources provide the information that from very early times, the tradition of teaching and learning had been in vogue in India.
  • The concept of Education might have originated from the Vedas.
  • The literal meaning the Sanskrit word ‘Veda’ is knowledge and the word derived from the word Vid, which means ‘to know’.
  • Our ancient education system evolved over many centuries and focused on the holistic development of the individual by taking care of both the innate and latents capacities.
  • It emphasised on values such as humility, truthfulness, discipline, selfreliance and respect for all creations.

Sources of Learning

  • You must have heard the names of Panini, Aryabhata, Katyayana and Patanjali.
  • Their writings and the medical treatises of Charaka and Sushruta were also some of the sources of learning.
  • Various disciplines such as history, logic, interpretation, architecture, polity, agriculture, trade, commerce, animal husbandry and archery were taught.
  • Physical education too was an important curricular area and pupils participated in games and recreational activities.
  • The Gurus and their students worked conscientiously together to become proficient in all aspects of learning.
  • In order to assess students’ skills, literary debates were organised. Students at an advanced stage of learning guided younger students.
  • A system of peer learning was also practiced, like you have group/peer work.

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Ancient Education System in India: A Way of Life


  • In ancient India, both formal and informal education existed. Indigenous education was imparted at home, in temples, patashalas, and gurukulas.
  • There were people in homes, villages and temples who guided young children in imbibing pious ways of life.
  • Temples played a vital role in imparting education and served the centres of learning. Students went to viharas and universities for higher studies.
  • Teaching was oral and students remembered and meditated upon what was taught in the Gurukulas.
  • Many of these Gurukulas were named after the sages. Situated in forests, in serene and peaceful surroundings, hundreds of students used to learn together in Gurukulas.
  • During the early period education was imparted by the teacher (Guru/Acharya) to the pupils who gathered around him and came to live in his house as members of his family. This was known as Gurukula system of eduation.
  • The family of Guru functioned as a demostic school or an Ashram. During that period, the gurus and their shishyas (pupils) lived together helping each other in day-to-day life.
  • The main objectives was to have complete learning, leading a disciplined life and realising one’s inner potential. Students lived away from their homes for years together till they achieved their goals.
  • The gurukula was also the place where the relationship between the guru and student strengthened with time.
  • Many monasteries and viharas were set up for monks and nuns to meditate, debate and discuss with the learned for their quest for knowledge during this period.
  • Around these viharas, other educational centres of higher learning developed, which attracted students from China, Korea, Tibet, Burma, Ceylon, Java, Nepal and other distant countries.

Viharas and Universities Buddhist Period

  • The Jataka tales, accounts given by Hiuen Tsang and I-Tsing (Chinese scholars), and other sources tell us that kings and society took an active interest in promoting education.
  • Through monasteries and Viharas Buddhist scholars carried out the educational work. As a result, many famous educational centres came into existence.
  • Among the most notable universities that emerged during that period were situated at Taxila, Nalanda, Valabhi, Vikramshila, Odantapuri and Jagaddala.
  • These universities developed in connection with the viharas.
  • Those at Benaras and Kanchi developed in relation with temples and became centres of community life in the places where they were situated.
  • These institutions catered to the needs of advanced level students. Such students joined the centres of higher learning and developed their knowledge by mutual discussions and debates with renowned scholars.
  • Not only that, there was also occasional summoning by a king to a gathering in which the scholars of the various viharas and universities would meet, debate and exchange their views.

Role of the Teacher

  • Teachers had complete autonomy in all aspects from selection of students to designing their syllabi.
  • When the teacher was satisfied with the performance of the students, the course concluded.
  • He would admit as many students as he liked and taught what his students were keen to learn.
  • Debate and discussions were the primary methods of teaching. Teachers were assisted by their advanced level students.

Education in Medieval India

  • Medieval period witnessed a radical transformation with introduction of Muslim education in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The country was invaded by various foreign rulers and several traders from different part of the world.
  • The tradesmen and the invaders brought with them their own cultures and intermingled with the people of the country.
  • Besides, religion, society and culture, education in medieval India also experienced a new perspective.
  • The aim of education during Muslim period (medieval) was the illumination and extension of knowledge.
  • In the eleventh century, the Muslims rulers established elementary and secondary schools.
  • Education developed with a fresh aspect during that period as there was an excellent interaction between Indian and Islamic traditions in all fields of knowledge like theology, religion, philosophy, fine arts, painting, architecture, mathematics, medicine and astronomy.
  • However before the arrival of the Muslims in India, a developed system of education was already in place.
  • Muslim rulers promoted urban education by bestowing libraries and literary societies. They founded primary schools (maktabs) in which students learnt reading, writing, and basic Islamic prayers.
  • And secondary schools (madrasas) were established to teach advanced language skills. Several madrasas were set up by the Sultans, and nobles.
  • The main objective of these madrasas was to train and educate the scholars who would become eligible for the civil service.
  • Iltutmish was the first ruler to establish a madrasas at Delhi during his rule. Gradually many madrasas came into existence.
  • The system of education in medieval India was under the control of Ulema. During those days, education was related to religious training.
  • However, various subjects such as medicine, Arabic literature, grammar and philosophy were also taught.
  • History states that Arab and Central Asian people brought Muslim educational models to India in both the medieval and early modern periods. Women education in India was prevalent during the medieval period.
  • Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur encouraged learning of scientific subjects. Besides, many institutions were started by private individuals as well.
  • Madrasa of Ghaziuddin in Delhi, and the madrasa of Maulana Sadruddin at Shahjahanabad. In the later medieval era, the British came to India and introduced English education.
  • With the coming of the European missionaries, Western education made firm advances in the country.
  • Various universities and thousands of colleges were formed and popularity of education increased.

Modern System of Education

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  • The beginning of the modern system of Indian education can be traced to the efforts of the Christian missionaries who arrived in India in the wake of European occupation.
  • As a result of their efforts, many institutions were established across India.
  • These institutions imparted Western as well as Indian education.

Role of Christian Missionaries

  • Europeans came to India for trade and established trading companies.
  • They acquired lands and constructed fortresses. Later they wanted to spread their culture and religion among Indians.
  • The Europeans thought that they could make Indians understand the administration and religious theories better if they could impart education to the local population in their own method.
  • So they started educational institutions. The Portuguese were the first Europeans who started modern system of education in India.
  • Francis Xavier, a Jesuit, started a university at Cochin. They started many primary schools.
  • The first college offering degrees on a completion of a course was started in Goa in 1575 where Christianity, logic, grammar and music were taught.
  • John Kiernander was one of the most zealous pioneers and was perhaps the first missionary in India to introduce education for non-Christian children as an evangelistic agency.
  • In 1812, Dr. C.S. John established 20 free reading schools in Tranquebar. Followed by the Portuguese, the French opened their institutions for all the Indians where education was imparted by Indian teachers through local languages.
  • They started higher secondary schools where French language was taught. Two German Bishops, named Ziegenbalg and Plustscham, started schools and a training college for teachers in Travancore.
  • After the arrival of English East India Company in 1600 AD (CE), institutions were established for imparting instruction in English.
  • Gradually Sanskrit colleges were opened in Madras and Benaras.
  • The first Bishop of Calcutta, the Revered Dr. Middleton, started a missionary college at Calcutta, which became famous as the Bishop’s College.
  • Mountstuart Elphinstone was actually a strong advocate of vernacular education, but on his retirement in 1827, his admirers collected funds and established a college offering English classes, named the Elphinstone College at Bombay.
  • Missionaries made a good deal of attempt for the propagation of education in India. Due to their efforts many institutions were established.
  • These institutions imparted Western education as well as Indian education.

Education in the British Rule

History of education in British rule can be divided into four periods:

  • From the early days of the British rule up to 1813;
  • Period from 1813–1853;
  • Period from 1854–1920
  • Period from 1921–1947.
  • During its early days, the East India Company followed a policy of indifference and non-interference towards education as this sector did not form a part of its programme.
  • The Company’s charter was renewed in 1813, which compelled the Company to assume responsibility for the education of Indians, though on a very limited scale.
  • Besides missionaries, non-missionaries like Raja Ram Mohan Roy of Bengal, Pachyappar of Madras, W. Frazer of Delhi contributed to the cause of education.
  • The second period was also marked by great educational controversies concerning the issues of educational policy, medium of instruction and method of spreading education.
  • First, there were the orientalists who supported the preservation of Oriental learning and the use of Sanskrit and Persian as the media of instruction.
  • They were opposed by the Anglicists who advocated dissemination of Western knowledge through English.
  • A third section believed in the use of Indian languages as the media of instruction. These controversies were partially set at rest by Macaulay’s Minutes of 1835.
  • Higher education was de-orientalised, encouraging English education for the upper classes. Each province was allowed to follow its own education policy.
  • But even then, the controversies continued till 1854.
  • The third phase of British-influenced education may be called the period of an All India Educational Policy. It commenced with Sir Charles Wood’s Despatch in 1854.
  • The fourth phase may be called the period of provincial autonomy. The Act of 1935 ushered a new era of educational advancement through the country.
  • The new programmes were hit hard by the worldwide economic depression in 1929.
  • The introduction of complete provincial autonomy by the Government of India Act of 1935 further strengthened the position of the provincial ministers of education.
  • After the Second World War, a very important plan for educational development, known as the Sergeant Report (1944) was prepared.
  • This blueprint had a powerful influence on contemporary education, both in thought as well as in practice.

Educational Development of Independent India

  • The new epoch making era in the history of education was ushered with the attainment of independence in 1947.
  • It brought a new hope, a new vision, a new future for the Indians.
  • In 1948, Dr. Radhakrishnan Commission was appointed to present a report on University education. In pursuance of the Commission’s recommendations, University Grants Commission was constituted to determine the standard of higher education.
  • One of the most important events that have taken place in the field of secondary education was the appointment of Secondary Education Commission in 1952–53.
  • It suggested new organisational patterns, improvement in quality of textbooks, curriculum and methods of teachings.
  • An education commision under the chairman ship of Dr. D.S. Kothari was appointed by the Government of India in 1964.
  • Free and compulsory primary education for all children up to the age of 14 years and uniform educational structure of 10+2+3 pattern were its main recommendations.

National Policy on Education

  • The first National Education Policy of 1968 marked a significant step in the history of education in post-independent India.
  • It aimed to promote national progress, a sense of common citizenship and culture and to strengthen national integration.
  • In 1986, the Government of India introduced a New Education Policy. The aim of New Education Policy was to transfer a static society into a vibrant one with a commitment to development and change.
  • It emphasised on equal opportunities for marginalised sections of the country and the removal of disparity through scholarships, adult education and open universities, especially for rural India.
  • The New Education Policy called for a child-centred approach in primary education and launched Operation Blackboard to improve primary schools nationwide. The New Education Policy was revised again in 1992.
  • It envisaged the formulation of a National Curriculum Framework, emphasis on in-service education, improvement of facilities and streamlining of the evaluation system at the secondary stage.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)

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  • The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the Government of India’s flagship programme that was launched in 2000-01 to achieve Universal Elementary Education (UEE).
  • SSA is now the primary vehicle for implementing the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) (RTE).
  • Right to Education (RTE) provides for free and compulsory education to all the children from the age of 6 to 14 years.
  • The SSA initiates a variety of innovation and activities related to schools. Some important activities include providing the Mid-Day Meals and stipends for students, the setting up of School Management Committees (SMCs) and provision of teaching learning materials for classrooms.
  • Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) is a centrally sponsored scheme for universalisation of access and improvement of quality education at the secondary stage, which was implemented during Eleventh Five-Year Plan period.
  • The goal of RMSA is to make secondary education qualitative, available, accessible and affordable to all young students in the age group 15–16 years.
  • Science lab, libraries, in-service training for teachers, computer-aided education, co curricular activities and teaching-learning aids are provided by the Government of India through RMSA scheme at the school level.
  • The Union Budget 2018–19 proposed to give school education holistically without segmentation from Pre-School to Class XII.
  • Samagra Shiksha, and to be prepared with the broaden goal of improving school effectiveness, measured in terms of equal opportunities and equable learning outcomes.
  • It subsumes the schemes: SSA, and RMSA. In 2017, a committee was constituted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development to draft the National Education Policy.
  • This committee submitted its report in 2019.

Educational Development in Tamil Nadu

  • The pattern of education in Tamil Nadu was not merely reading and understanding of books but listening to learned persons.
  • The Thirukkural stresses the need for education and warns the dangers of illiteracy. In ancient times, the school was called ‘Palli’ and the teacher was a ‘Kanakkayar’.
  • A significant development took place in the field of education during the Pallava period.
  • Ghatika was an educational institution. The Pallava kings supported those educational institutions through endowments.
  • The Vaishnava and Saiva mutts provided boarding and lodging facilities to all students and teachers.
  • Hiuen Tsang gives a graphic picture about Kanchi Buddhist centre and Kanchi, was considered as the main centre of learning.
  • The Chola period was the most brilliant and creative period in the Tamil literature. Tamil education enjoyed a greater connection with religion and temple.
  • Free education was given to people. The curriculum and syllabi had a theoretical background.
  • From the inscription of that period, we can now gain knowledge about the qualification of teacher, method of teaching, salary of teachers, food provided to the students and the land given to the schools etc.
  • Rajaraja Chaturvedimangalam was the famous seat of a Vedic college (Ennayiram in Former South Arcot district).
  • At Tirubuvanai (in Pondicherry) Vedic college flourished. The Tiruvidaikkalai inscription mentions a library.
  • Tiruvaduthurai inscription of Viravajendra refers to a medical school. The Pandya kings patronised Sanskrit in an exemplary way. It is revealed in the copper plates.
  • The educational institutions of that period were called as Ghatigai, Salai and Vidhyasathana.
  • Lands were given to teachers. They were known as Salabhogam (e.g. Vallabha Perunchalai at Kanyakumari).
  • The famous college during the Pandya regime was Kandhalur Salai. Mutts occupied a significant place in the promotion of education.
  • Learning flourished under the Vijayanagar rule. Many educational institutions were established under their patronage.
  • Thinnappalli Koodam was established during the Nayak rule.

Modern period

  • Fernandez, who came to Madurai during the time of Veerappa Nayak, established a primary school.
  • The Maratha ruler Sarfoji II collected the old records and kept them in the Saraswathi Mahal library.
  • He also had a printing press with Devanagari type, which was located at Tanjore.
  • Pradran is an important center of higher education in the country. Sir Thomas Munroe the Governor of Madras Presidency (1820-27) was highly responsible for the introduction of Western education in Madras Presidency.
  • He appointed a committee to conduct a statistical survey of the condition of education. The Education Commission of Munroe recommended the creation of two principal schools (Collectorate and Tahsildare schools) in each district.
  • In 1835 Lord William passed a resolution favouring the introduction of western system of education in India.
  • Wood’s Despatch of 1854 introduced the Department of Public instruction in Madras Presidency.
  • Grant-in-aid was given to all schools. The Madras University was founded in 1857. It was the first University in Tamil Nadu under the British rule.
  • In 1882 the Local Boards Act was passed. The Board was empowered to open new schools and to get grants from the government.
  • By 1938, all subjects except English were taught in Tamil in schools. The Annamalai University was founded at Chidambaram in 1929.
  • This was the next step in the development of higher education.

Education since independence

  • Free education at the secondary school level was introduced in 1964 – 65. The Gandhigram Rural College was established in 1975.
  • Distance education has also been introduced to educate those who could not go to colleges.
  • In 1956, Midday Meal Programme was introduced in schools. Later, it was extended as Nutrition Meal Scheme in 1982 to avoid drop-outs in schools.
  • The National Policy on Education was framed in 1986 and was modified in 1992.
  • Since then several changes have taken place to meet the changing dynamics of the society.

More to Know:

1. Education remained a state subject till December 1976. But now the education is in the concurrent list.

2. Wardha Scheme of Education (1937)

  • In 1937, Gandhiji evolved a scheme populary known as the Wardha Scheme of Basic National Education.
  • The principle of nonviolence was the basis of Gandhiji scheme of Basic Education. Through this scheme he wanted to develop those qualities in future citizens of India which he considered necessary for building a non-violent society.
  • His system of Education wanted to root out exploitation and centralization in society and create a non-violent social order.

3. Wood’s Despatch (1854)

  • The Wood’s Despatch (1854) is called the ‘Magna Carta’ of English education in India because it was the first declaration of British education policy for educating the masses at all levels.
  • But it resulted in the complete control on state education, divorcing it from Indian ideals and culture.

4. In 1813, the East India Company was compelled to assert the responsibility for the education of the Indians. Charter of Act of 1813 made a provision for an annual grant of a sum of 1 lakh rupees for the promotion of education in India.

5. The medieval period saw the founding of many religious mutt or monasteries which also took up the cause of education. The Ahobila mutt in Srirangam was one among them where is Sri Ramanuja has made distinctive contribution to the cause of education. Besides mutts, Jain pallis and Buddhist vihars played a vital role in educating people where ever the existed. They had large libraries of books in all branches of learning.

6. The ancient Nalanda University was a centre of learning from the 5th century AD (CE) to 12th century AD (CE). Located in present-day Rajgir, Bihar. Nalanda was one of the oldest universities of the world and UNESCO declared the ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara a world heritage site. The new Nalanda University is envisaged as a centre of inter-civilisational dialogue.

7. Taxila was an ancient Indian city, which is now in northwestern Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site and the UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in 1980. Its fame rested on the university where Chanakya is said to have composed his Arthashastra. Archaeologist Alexander Cunningham discovered its ruins in the mid-19th century.

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