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Education System in British India, History, Development and Impact

Education System in British India

Read all about Education system in British India. Modern education and the idea of practical learning were introduced to India by the British school system. In order to better comprehend the nation, the British initially set up educational institutions where people could learn about local customs, traditions, and laws. Under British administration, the East India Company, Christian missionaries, and Indian thinkers and reformers served as three of the main proponents of modern education.

They introduced important laws, commissions, and policies that helped to shape the contemporary conception of education that is still prevalent in India. Learn more about the British Education System in India and how it affects UPSC preparation in the article below.

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British Education System in India History

Gurus taught education to all Hindus without any limitations prior to British control in India. As they instruct them on how to achieve Moksha, the gurus have given them the utmost emphasis. The Mughal Empire also had an impact on Muslim education. Through Maktabs, Madrasas, Tols, and Pathshalas, the young pupils were taught about their various religious texts and old types of literature, as well as some understanding of scientific advances.

A brand-new western educational system emerged following the British invasion. Specific educational policies were developed by them. There are two distinct periods in the history of British education initiatives in India:

  • Before 1857, it was under the East India Company.
  • After 1857, it was under the British Crown.

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Education System in British India Development

The East India Company initially sought certain educated Indians to help with land management. In order to better understand the nation, they also sought to learn about the cultures, traditions, and laws there.

The first educational institution, Calcutta Madarasa in Calcutta for Islamic Law Studies, was founded in 1781 by Warren Hastings, Governor-General of Bengal. William Jones established the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784 with the goal of comprehending and researching Indian culture and history. Charles Wilkins also translated the Bhagwat Gita into English at the same time.

The Sanskrit College was established in 1791 by Benares resident Jonathan Duncan to study and comprehend Hindu beliefs and laws. In the year 1800 – Richard Wellesley, the governor-general, established Fort William College in Calcutta to educate government workers for the EIC in Indian languages. The college was, however, closed down after just two years because the British government (in England) rejected the hiring of Indians as English Civil Servants.

Education System in British India and Acts Associated

1. The Charter Act of 1813

The Charter Act of 1813 was the first significant action the British government took to modernise education in India. A yearly budget of Rs. 1 lakh was established by the statute to be used for teaching Indian subjects. The Christian missionaries were involved in schooling during this time, but their main priorities were conversions and religious instruction.

2. The English Education Act of 1835

According to Macauley’s Minutes, or the English Education Act of 1835, the government should prioritise allocating funds for teaching literature and contemporary sciences exclusively in English as part of the British educational system in India. English should be the primary language of instruction in all schools and colleges. Elementary schools lacked any real significance. Opening the district’s schools and colleges was highlighted.

It disregarded general education. Theory of downward filtration: A limited group of middle- and upper-class Indians were trained to serve as a conduit between the populace and the government. Additionally, the Elphinstone College of Bombay and the Calcutta Medical College were founded in 1835. In Adam’s report on vernacular education in Bihar and Bengal in 1835, 1836, and 1838, the flaws in the system were highlighted.

Education System in British India Development

Following 1857, Mayo College in Ajmer and Rajkot College of Kathiawar were founded in 1868 and 1875, respectively. These universities specialised in political education for Indian princes and aristocracy. The commissions like Saddler, Raleigh, and Hunder, established under the British Crown, etc., mainly recommended the establishment of reforms in the British education system in India.

1. Hunter Commission on Indian Education in 1882

In order to realise the goal of popular education through vernacular languages, the Hunter Commission on Indian Education of 1882 called for further government initiatives. It suggested separating secondary education into two streams: vocational education and literary instruction. It placed a focus on women’s education outside of the presidential towns. Municipal boards and new districts should take over responsibility of primary education.

2. Raleigh Commission in 1902

Viceroy Curzon thought that college students often harbour revolutionary beliefs. He suggested that the panel examine the university education system in India, which resulted in the universities act of 1904.

3. Indian Universities Act of 1904

All institutions were subject to governmental oversight under the Indian Universities Act of 1904. It states that universities should place a greater priority on research and study over revolutionary activity. The government selected them after the statute restricted the number of fellows. The government now has the ability to veto decisions made by the University senate. It developed more stringent affiliation guidelines. In all the princely states of Baroda, primary education became compulsory in 1906. The government adopted a new resolution on education policy in 1913.

4. Saddler University Commission (1917-19)

The Saddler University Commission was established as a result of Calcutta University students’ subpar academic performance. Maybe it ended up examining all the Indian universities recently. The following are the Saddler University Commission’s main concerns:

  • The emphasis was on secondary education. It adheres to the philosophy that secondary education must be improved in order for university education to advance.
  • The Commission estimates that the school should be finished in 12 years.
  • It proposed the notion of establishing distinct boards for intermediate and secondary education.
  • It placed a strong emphasis on educating women, teacher preparation, technical education, and the application of science.
  • It highlights the need for all institutions to operate independently as centralised resident teaching bodies.

It was decided to establish universities in Osmania, Lucknow, Dacca, Aligarh, Benares, Patna, and Mysore. The Hartog Committee was established in 1929 to focus on basic education in British India and decided that a compulsory education system was unnecessary.

5. Wardha Scheme of Basic Education by INC in 1937

The Indian National Congress held a convention at Wardha to talk about education in 1937. It created a programme that was centred on practical education, or learning via exercises inspired by Gandhi’s principles. It contains:

  • The curriculum should cover fundamental handicrafts.
  • The first seven years of schooling should be free and required.
  • Hindi should be taught to students up till class 7, and English should follow. However, because so many INC preachers began serving after World War II, it was never put into practice.

6. Sergeant Plan of Education by the Central Advisory Board of Education

The central advisory board for education introduced the Sergeant plan of education in 1944. It includes: Students in the age range of 3-6 years received free education. 6–11 years of students’ compulsory education. A pupil between the ages of 11 and 17 received higher education. It concentrated on enhancing technical, commercial, and artistic education. Additionally, it placed emphasis on teaching pupils who are physically and mentally challenged.

Education System in British India Impact

Englishmen intended to promote western education in India for their own benefit since the East India Company had a great need for clerks, lower-class workers, and other administrative positions. They discovered that they could easily find Indian workers at lower prices than Englishmen from England around that time. Indians had a comparatively low literacy rate, but the women were still denied an education. They also disregarded technical and scientific education. British India’s illiteracy percentage dropped from 94% in 1911 to 92% in 1921. This article has all the detail about Education System in British India for UPSC Exam.

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How was the British system of education?

Primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education make up the four main components of the UK's educational system. In the UK, children are required by law to attend primary and secondary school, which lasts from around the age of 5 until the student is 16 years old.

Who started British education system in India?

Fort William College was established in Calcutta by Governor-General Richard Wellesley to educate EIC administration workers in Indian languages and customs.

What was the education system after British?

Fort William College was established in Calcutta by Governor-General Richard Wellesley to educate EIC administration workers in Indian languages and customs.

How was British system of education different from?

Traditional Indian education differed from British education in the following ways: English replaced the old system's vernacular languages as the primary language of instruction.

What was the aim of British Education in India?

The initial goal was to create a class of translators to serve as a link between the British emperors and the millions of Indians they ruled. The second goal was to develop a group of people who were British in intelligence, taste, and morals but of Indian blood and color.

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