Read important notes for UPSC on Education during the British period. Also, Download Educational Development during British Rule pdf notes in Hindi and English here.
Educational reforms during British rule were not destined for the development of India per se but Indians have utilized it in fullest to their advantage to fight for their independence. It has been observed that every year, 1-2 questions in UPSC/State PCS exams are from educational developments during the colonial period. Here is the detailed list of all education reforms undertaken by the British.
Education during the British Period
Individual efforts under company rule
- Calcutta Madrasah was established by Warren Hastings in 1781 to study Muslim laws and customs.
- Jonathan Duncan established Sanskrit college at Banaras in 1791 for Hindu laws and philosophy.
- Fort William College was set up in 1800 by Wellesley for the training of civil servants of the Company. (It was closed in 1802).
Charter Act of 1813
- 1 lakh rupees were to be spent by the company for the promotion of education in India.
Lord Macaulay’s Minute of 1835
- Amidst Orientalist-Anglicist controversy, Macaulay supported the latter view.
- English language was chosen as the sole medium of education.
- Government decided to spend the limited resources for teaching western sciences and literature.
- They adopted ‘downward filtration theory’ instead of mass education.
Note: ‘Downward filtration theory’ means teaching a few upper- and middle-class people would produce interpreters which would eventually penetrate to the masses. However, this theory failed miserably as envisaged by the British but has helped in growth of Modern Intelligentsia who shaped the struggle for independence.
Wood’s Despatch, 1854
- This was also known as “Magna Carta of English Education in India”.
- It rejected ‘downward filtration theory’.
- It recommended English for higher studies and vernaculars at school level.
- Secular education.
- Encouraged private enterprises.
Hunter Education Commission, 1882-83
- Its objective was to assess the Wood Dispatch.
- It emphasized on state’s role in improving education.
- Advocated for transfer of control to local bodies (district and municipal boards).
Rayleigh Commission, 1902
- To review the performance of universities in India.
Indian Universities Act, 1904
On the recommendation of Rayleigh commission, the act provided for:
- greater control over universities
- Universities were given due importance for research and studies.
- number of fellows reduced.
- Rules were made stricter for private college affiliations.
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale called this move a “retrograde measure”.
Government Resolution on Education Policy, 1913
- Government refused to take up the responsibility of compulsory education.
- It urged the provincial government to do the same.
- Even private players were encouraged.
Saddler University Commission, 1917-19
- The commission was set up to review Calcutta University which later extended to all universities.
- 12+3 program (12-year schooling and 3-year degree)
- A separate board of secondary and intermediate education were to be set up.
- It laid stress on Female education, applied scientific and technological education, teachers’ training.
Hartog Committee, 1929
- Laid emphasis on primary education.
- Quality of education was given priority over a number of schools and colleges.
- Admissions were highly restricted.
Wardha Scheme of Basic Education (1937)
- Zakir Hussain committee formulated this national scheme for basic education.
- The main principle of ‘learning through activity’.
- secular in approach.
- First seven years of schooling through mother tongue and English after 8th.
Sergeant Plan of Education, 1944
- Sergeant was the educational advisor to the British Government.
- He advocated number of reforms and aimed to make Indian education system equivalent to that of England in 40 years. But it seriously lacked methodology for implementation. It was just lip service of the government.
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