3rd April, 2021 Miscellaneous



In pre-British days, Hindus and Muslims were educated through Pathsala and Madrassa respectively, but their advent created a new place of learning i.e. Missionaries. Initially, the British East India Company was not concerned with the development of the education system because their prime motive was trading and profit-making. To rule in India, they planned to educate a small section of upper and middle classes to create a class “Indian in blood and colour but English in taste” who would act as interpreters between the Government and the masses. This was also called the “downward filtration theory”. 

Under Company Rule:

  • Calcutta Madrasah was established by Warren Hastings in 1781 for the study of Muslim law and related subjects.
  • Sanskrit College was established by Jonathan Duncan, the resident, at Benaras in 1791 for study of Hindu law and philosophy.
  • Fort William College was set up by Wellesley in 1800 for training of civil servants of the Company in languages and customs of Indians.
  • British Parliament added a clause in the 1813 charter that Governor-General-in Council less than one lakh for education and allowed the Christian Missionaries to spread their religious ideas in India.
  • Grant was sanctioned for Calcutta College set up in 1817 by educated Bengalis, imparting English education in Western humanities and sciences.
  • The government also set up three Sanskrit colleges at Calcutta, Delhi and Agra.
  • General Committee of Public Instruction, 1823 was formed to look after the development of education in India which was dominated by Orientalists who were the great supporter of Oriental learning rather than the Anglicans. Hence, they created paramount pressure on the British India Company to promote Western Education.
  • Lord Macaulay’s Education Policy, 1835 was an attempt to create a system of education that educates only the upper strata of society through English.
  • Persian was abolished as the court language and English become the court language. Printings of English books were made free and available at a very low price. English education was allotted more funds as compared to oriental learning. In 1849, JED Bethune founded Bethune School. Agriculture Institute was established at Pusa (Bihar). Engineering Institute was established at Roorkee.
  • 1835, 1836, 1838 : William Adam’s reports on vernacular education in Bengal and Bihar pointed out defects in the system of vernacular education.
  • 1843-53 : James Jonathan’s experiments in North-West Provinces (UP),included opening one government school as model school in each tehsildari and a normal school for teachers’ training for vernacular schools.
  • 1853 : In a famous minute, Lord Dalhousie expressed strong opinion in favour of vernacular education.
  • Wood’s Despatch (1854): It asked the government of India to assume responsibility for education of the masses, thus repudiating the ‘downward filtration theory’, at least on paper. It systematised the hierarchy from vernacular primary schools in villages at bottom, followed by Anglo-Vernacular High Schools and an affiliated college at the district level, and affiliating universities in the presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. It recommended English as the medium of instruction for higher studies and vernaculars at school level. It laid stress on female and vocational education, and on teachers’ training. It laid down that the education imparted in government institutions should be secular. It recommended a system of grants-in-aid to encourage private enterprise.
  • Developments-In 1857, universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were set up and later, departments of education were set up in all provinces.

     After the Crown Took Over:

    • Hunter Education Commission (1882-83)-The commission emphasised that state’s special care is required for extension and improvement of primary education, and that primary education should be imparted through vernacular. It recommended transfer of control of primary education to newly set up district and municipal boards. It also recommended that secondary (High School) education should have two divisions— literary—leading up to university and vocational—for commercial careers. It drew attention to inadequate facilities for female education, especially outside presidency towns and made recommendations for its spread.
    • More teaching-cum-examining universities were set up like the Punjab University (1882) and the Allahabad University (1887).
    • Indian Universities Act, 1904-In 1902, Raleigh Commission was set up to go into conditions and prospects of universities in India and to suggest measures for improvement in their constitution and working. Based on its recommendations, the Indian Universities Act was passed in 1904.
    • Government Resolution on Education Policy—1913-In 1906, the progressive state of Baroda introduced compulsory primary education throughout its territories. In its 1913 Resolution on Education Policy, the government refused to take up the responsibility of compulsory education, but accepted the policy of removal of illiteracy and urged provincial governments to take early steps to provide free elementary education to the poorer and more backward sections.
    • Saddler University Commission (1917-19) The commission was set up to study and report on problems of Calcutta University but its recommendations were applicable more or less to other universities also.
    • Education Under Dyarchy- Under Montagu-Chelmsford reforms education was shifted to provincial ministries and the government stopped taking direct interest in educational matters
    • Hartog Committee (1929)- Its main recommendations were as follows: a) Emphasis should be given to primary education but there need be no hasty expansion or compulsion in education. b) Only deserving students should go in for high school and intermediate stage, while average students should be diverted to vocational courses after VIII standard. c) For improvements in standards of university education, admissions should be restricted
    • Sergeant Plan of Education-The Sergeant Plan (Sergeant was the educational advisor to the Government) was worked out by the Central Advisory Board of Education in 1944. It recommended pre-primary education for 3-6 years age group; free, universal and compulsory elementary education for 6-11 years age group; high school education for 11- 17 years age group for selected children, and a university course of 3 years after higher secondary; high schools to be of two types: (i) academic and (ii) technical and vocational. There should be adequate technical, commercial and arts education and liquidation of adult illiteracy in 20 years.
    • 1937 : schools received encouragement from Congress ministries.

        Even the inadequate measures the government took for the expansion of modern education were guided by concerns other than philanthropic. The government measures for promotion of education were influenced by agitation in favour of modern education; need to ensure a cheap supply of educated Indians to man an increasing number of subordinate posts in administration and hope that educated Indians would help expand market for British manufactures in India and an expectation that Western education would reconcile Indians to British rule.