- Traditional learning
- Early education systems
- British education in India
- Post-independence educational development
- Educational policies adopted by the Government
- Salient features of educational development in India over the years.
A Good Education Is a Foundation for A Better Future
Keeping this in mind, the Government of India has taken several measures to ensure the betterment of education in India today.
To understand the development of education over the years, we must first understand the genesis of the education system in the country.
Dating back to around 5000 BC, when the gurukul system prevailed in ancient India, we can place a pin at this point and claim the origin of the Indian education system.
Though it is difficult to put an actual date to the education system in India, it is convenient to start with the gurukul system.
The Ancient Gurukul System
The Gurukul system of education is one of the earliest known formal education systems followed in India and maybe even the world.
During these days, where this system was prevalent, we can see a scene that is not much different from today. Though concepts and knowledge might have changed over the years, the basic system remains unaltered.
The Gurukul system necessitated that students must come to the house of the Guru or teacher to gain knowledge on various subject matters like the universe, mathematical concepts, language, basic bookkeeping, sustenance, etc.
Similarly, today students are required to attend classes in demarcated buildings called colleges or schools to attend classes on various subjects.
The Gurukul system of education, we can say, is a more native form of the Indian education system. It is from this stage, we can notice educational development in India.
Early Institutional Education in India
When we speak of institutional education we refer to demarcated buildings to impart education.
The earliest knowledge we have from ancient texts and accounts of travelers coming to India dates back to about 700BC. It is reported that Takshashila is one of the world’s first and oldest Universities.
The information we receive on Takshashila University speaks volumes of the quality education imparted in the university.
Several students from all over the world traveled long distances to receive education at Takshashila University.
Apart from Takshashila University, there were several other universities and centers of education like Nalanda and Vallabhi.
The curriculum at these institutions included Vedas, logic, music, medicine, agriculture, commerce, accounts, carpentry, military, artillery, divination, dance, art, mathematics, law, and cattle breeding among other concepts.
These universities or centers for education focussed on the way of living rather than a more defined pattern of education. Though concepts like mathematics and accountancy were taught, the focus was mainly on sustenance.
Moving to a more modern concept of education, the British introduced a more defined or definite form of education.
The early modern education dates back to the mid 19th century when India was still under British Rule. It was during this time that educational development in India underwent a drastic overhaul.
Some of the significant Indian education system changes that took place was the establishment of universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay.
It must be noted, that though the British brought about a significant change in the education system in India, the real Indian education system changes occurred after independence.
Before independence, education was more for the elite, living in the princely states and who could afford the education. Education in the villages and small towns was still a far-fetched concept.
The modern Indian education system and its development took place after independence, where the Government of India took it upon itself to educate the youth of the country.
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Education in India After Independence
After regaining our independence from the British, the Government of India stressed an all-inclusive education system.
This education system was for the masses. The country believed that education is the only key to the progress of the nation.
The literacy rate at the time of independence was around 12%. However, now, as of 2021, the literacy rate has jumped to a whopping 74.04%.
Although the country is yet to achieve a 100% literacy rate, we can state that the efforts of the Government in the education sector are laudable.
Post-Independence Government Initiatives for Educational Development in India
The first five-year plan was one of the most important as it gave a boost to the development of India post-independence from the British.
A total budget of Rs 2378 crores was allotted for the development of various sectors. A total of 7.9% was allocated for education.
Towards the end of the five-year plan in 1956, five Indian Institutes of Technology were initiated by the Government for the development of technical institutes in the country.
The planning commission of India stressed the need for universal primary education more for the health of students and mothers rather than on the education itself.
This gave rise to the development of several schools even in the rural areas. Panchayats were given the funds and authorities to start schools at the Taluk level.
This affirmative step gave birth to several pre-primary and primary schools in rural India. The boost in the education sector resulted in a positive change in the education sector in India.
The Indian Education system is one of the largest in the world, with more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers, and 250 million children.
The Education Policy in India
The government has adopted several policies and recommendations for the development of education. In 1968, the Government of India adopted the recommendations of the Kothari Commission.
The Kothari Commission had given 23 recommendations to revamp the education system in India. The recommendations given by the Kothari Commission were regarding the following:
- Defects in the existing education system
- Aims of the education
- Methods of teaching
- Educational structures and standards.
- Physical welfare of students
- Education of women
- Guidance and counseling
- Problems of Supervision and inspection
- Three language formula
- Distance Education
- Selective Admission
- Vocational Education
- Education on Morals and Religion
- University Autonomy
- Teacher Education
- Adult Education
- University – Aims, Objectives, and Functions
- Administrative Problems
- Work Experience
- Higher Education – Enrolment
National Education Policy in India
The National Education Policy in India was formulated in 1986 and amended in 1992.
Some of the outcomes of the National Education Policy in India were the universalization of primary education, vocation training of secondary education, and specialization of higher education.
Other Initiatives for Educational Development in India
Apart from the National Education Policy adopted, the Government took several other initiatives for educational development in India.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organization set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education.
The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, journals and develops educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc. organize pre-service and in-service training of teachers; develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices; collaborate and network with state educational departments, universities, NGOs and other educational institutions; act as a clearing house for ideas and information in matters related to school education, and act as a nodal agency for achieving the goals of Universalisation of Elementary Education.
The University Grants Commission is a statutory organization of the Government of India by an Act of Parliament in 1956, for the coordination, determination, and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination, and research in university education.
The New Education Policy in India
The new education policy in India is the National Education Policy 2020. The new education policy 2020 gives a boost to the education sector all over the country.
Some of the features of the new education policy are:
- Early childhood care and education
- Foundational literacy
- Curtailing drop out rate
- Curriculum in schools
- Inclusive education among other silent features
The Indian Education System Changes Over the Years
Over the years, educational development in India has seen a sea of change. We can summarize the Indian education system changes or developments as follows:
1. Inclusive Education
With the introduction of mid-day meals and RTE in schools, the Government has managed to attract a large portion of students from the rural sector and students from below the poverty line.
The Government has made primary education free for all children below the age of 14, thereby attracting more students.
2. Specialized Education
Apart from general education and primary education, the Government of India has set up several professional institutions for the promotion of specialized courses such as engineering, medicine, and management institutions.
3. Gender Equality in Education
The Government of India has devised several plans and schemes to promote education among women, a concept where India lags.
Several Government schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao has seen humongous success in recent times.
4. Higher Education
Today, India has a plethora of quality universities. The presence of public as well as private colleges has improved the quality of higher education in the country.
5. Adult Education
To encourage the education of people in the age group of 15 to 35, the first five-year plan of the Government established the National Board for Adult Education.
6. Vocational Training
Vocational training has been a part of education development in India right from the beginning. The first five-year plan and all the subsequent education policies in India laid stress on the vocational training of the youth.
India, being a vast country with diverse religions, castes, and creeds, implementing modern strategies is not easy. Education policies in India also suffer from implementation problems.
However, we can conclude that educational development in India is progressing at a rapid rate. It is not far when we see an India with a 100% literacy rate.
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