Monday, April 8, 2013

Education during British rule

    For the East India Company 'educating Indians' was not an interest area. In earlier time Company supported the oriental learning. In 1781, Warren Hasting founded Calcutta Madarasa. In 1784 and 1791, the Asiatic Society and Sanskirit College was founded. There was a pressure from Christian missionaries to introduce Christianity and English education in India, but it was turned down. In 1800, Wellesley established Fort William College in Calcutta. The "charter act of 1813" provided a lakh rupees for improvement in literature and promotion of knowledge in science among Indians. Anyway this fund was kept unspent till 1823. Meanwhile many initiatives were taken by missionaries and others to bring in modern education. Robert Mayo, a missionary established a school in Chinsura. In 1817, Hindu College was established, which was the brain child of Raja Rammohan Roy and David Hare. After that, many institutions and societies were formed to promote modern liberal education. In 1818, "Calcutta school society" was formed with three-fold policy, 1. Supervise the limited number of model schools. 2. Improving existing indigenous schools. 3. Facilitate learning in English at higher education. Early in 1814, Thomson - a missionary proposed first comprehensive plan for education in Bengal, but in vain. 

    In 1823, General Committee of Public Instruction was formed. Till then, company's policy was in favor of oriental learning. But under the influence of James Mill, Court of Directors sent a Despatch, which favored western education. In 1829, Govt. policy declared that English should be the public business language eventually. Bentinck convinced that English is the key to all improvement. He was supported by James Mill and Rammohan Roy. In 1834, Macaulay arrived as a law member in Governor General's Council and made the indecent comment about oriental learning - "A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole literature of India and Arabia". In 1835, Bentinck took the resolution that Govt's object should be promoting English literature and science and the funds would be used in English education alone. This resolution gave impetus to Education in India and many colleges were founded (Calcutta Medical College, Elphinstone Institution of Bombay, Hooghly college). In 1837, Persian language was replaced by English as official language. In districts, vernaculars and English were replaced the Persian language. In 1842, the General Committee on Public Instruction was replaced by powerful Council of Education. In 1844, English became the passport for public employment.

    In 1854, the famous "Wood's Despatch" was laid down. It is considered as th Magna Carta of English education in India. The recommendations were, 

  1. Its government's responsibility to safeguard educational interests of Indians.
  2. The aim of educational system is to produce trustworthy men for holding office  (clerks) under the Company.
  3. English should be used as the medium of language, but not in all levels. English should be used only when people have gained sufficient knowledge in it.
  4. Study of Indian language should be encouraged to make Govt-people communication easier.
  5. Abandoned the Filtration Theory of Macaulay - "Education should be imparted to upper classes only and it would automatically filter down to lower masses"
  6. System of grants-in-aid for education was introduced.
  7. At lower level - vernacular education, then Anglo-Vernacular High Schools and affiliated colleges at district level.
  8. Emphasis on vocational training in agriculture, medicine and teaching ...etc.
  9. Special facilities for femal education.
  10. Introducing comprehensive scholarships for deserving.
  11. Establishment of universities in India on the pattern of London University.
  12. Dept. of Public Instruction under the Director General of Education.
This scheme was criticized on the grounds that it was a slavish imitation of English model and this scheme makes education as a routine matter of administration. However, this system laid foundation for English education in India and continued as a base for next five decades.

Okay, to remember the above things in order....
First - Phase of oriental learning - Asiatic Society & Sanskirit College
Second - 1 lakh for Indian education- Charter act 1813, but still nothing happens
Third - Private initiatives and missionary efforts to bring liberal English education
Fourth - General Committee on Public Instruction and James Mill for western education
Fifth - Macualay comes, English to be official language
Lastly - Woods Despatch. :-)

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