The history of education in ancient India is fascinating and is recorded and can be tracked to the ancient era. Education in ancient India began around the 3rd century B.C with elements of religious training and impart of traditional knowledge. Sages and scholars imparted education orally. Palm leaves and barks of trees were used for writing.
- Education in ancient india was more identified with the Gurukula system .
- These ancient Hindu schools in India were residential in nature with the sishyas or students living in the same house with the Guru or the teacher .
- The students lived together irrespective of their social standing .
- Ancient Indians allotted a period of time for the boys exclusively for education .
- Through Upanyana, a student was initiated in to Brahmacharyam .During this period he was under complete self discipline and self control .All sorts of luxuries and pleasures were to be avoided
- This period was called as Brahmacharyam where the students concentrated on learning various subjects.
- In ancient India, during the Vedic period from about 1500 BC to 600 BC, most education was based on the Veda and later Hindu texts and scriptures.
- Vedic education included: proper pronunciation and recitation of the Veda, the rules of sacrifice, grammar, understanding the secrets of nature, reasoning including logic, the sciences, and the skills necessary for an occupation.
- There is mention in the Veda of herbal medicines for various conditions or diseases, including fever, cough, baldness, snake bite and others.
Education in the Medieval Period
- The first millennium and the few centuries preceding it saw the flourishing of higher education at Nalanda, Takshila, Ujjain, & Vikramshila Universities. Art, Architecture, Painting, Logic, Grammar, Philosophy, Astronomy, Literature, Buddhism, Hinduism, Arthashastra (Economics & Politics), Law, and Medicine.
- Takshila specialized in the study of medicine, while Ujjain laid emphasis on astronomy. Nalanda, being the biggest centre, handled all branches of knowledge, and housed up to 10,000 students at its peak.
Education in Mughal Period
- Muslim rulers promoted urban education by building libraries and literary societies .primary schools called maktabs were established and reading writing and basic Islamic prayers were taught.
- Secondary schools called Madrasas taught advanced language skills .
- These were setup by sultans nobles and other influential ladies.
- A scholars from Madrasa would be eligible for civil service and to become a judge
Education in Modern History of India
- The educational system which the British introduced teaching of English language was given greater emphasis and the study of languages like Arabic ,Persian and Sanskrit were left to individual efforts .
- Objectives were
- The English introduced modern education
- To reduce the expenditure on administration
- To encourage the study of English language
- To expand market for English goods
- To spread Christianity
- According to Lord Macaulay after receiving modern education Indians would remain Indians only in their colour while their interests, ideas ,morals and Intelligence.
Education in the post Independence era
- After independence, education became the responsibility of the states.
- The Central Government’s only obligation was to co-ordinate in technical and higher education and specify standards.
- This continued till 1976, when the education became a joint responsibility of the state and the Centre.
- Education in India falls under the control of both the Union Government and the states, with some responsibilities lying with the Union and the states having autonomy for others.
- The various articles of the Indian Constitution provide for education as a fundamental right. Most universities in India are controlled by the Union or the State Government.
- India has made progress in terms of increasing primary education attendance rate and expanding literacy to approximately two thirds of the population.
- India’s improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to the economic rise of India.
- Much of the progress especially in Higher education, Scientific research has been credited to various public institutions.