GK 2015 Question Bank CD -

British Educational Policy and Growth of Modern Education

British Educational Policy in India :

First Phase (1758 – 1812) :

  • The British East India Co. showed very little interest in the education of its subjects during this period, the 2 minor exceptions being :
    1. The Calcutta Madrsah set up by Warren Hastings in 1781 for the study and teaching of Muslim law and subjects.
    2. The Sanskrit college at Varanasi by Jonathan Duncan in 1792 for the study of Hindu Law and Philosophy.
  • Both were designed to provide a regular supply of qualified Indians to help the administration of law in the courts of Co.

Second Phase (1813 – 1853) :

  • Due to the strong pressure exerted on the Co. by the Christian missionaries and many humanitarians, including some Indians, to encourage and promote modern education in India, The Charter Act of 1813 required the Co. to spend rupees 1 lakh annually for encouraging learned Indians and promoting the knowledge of modern sciences in India.
  • Two controversies about the nature of education arose during the part of this phase. They were :

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  • Whether to lay emphasis on the promotion of modern western studies or on the expansion of traditional Indian learning?
  • Whether to adopt Indian languages or English as the medium of instruction in modern schools and colleges to spread western learning?
  • These 2 controversies were settled in 1835 when Lord William Bentinck (with the support of R.M. Roy) applied English medium.
  • In 1844, Lord Hardinge decided to give govt, employment to Indians educated in English Schools. The success was thus assured (of English education). It made good progress in the 3 presidencies of Bengals Bombay and Madras where the number of schools and colleges increased.
  • Three other developments were :
    1. A great upsurge in the activities of the missionaries who did pioneer work in quite a few fields of modern education.
    2. Establishment of medical, engineering and law colleges, which marked a beginning in professional education.
    3. Official sanction accorded to education of girls (Lord Dalhousie, in fact, offered the open support of govt.).
  • The Govt, policy of opening a few English schools and colleges instead of a large number of elementary schools led to the neglect of education of masses.
  • To cover up this defect in their policy, the British took recourse to the so – called ‘Downward Filtration Theory’ which meant that education and modern ideas were supposed to filter or radiate downward from the upper classes.
  • This policy continued till the very end of British rule, although it was officially abandoned in 1854.


Third Phase (1854 – 1900) :

  • The Educational Dispatch of 1854 was also called Wood’s Dispatch (after Sir Charles Wood, the then President of Board of Control, who became the first Secretary of State for India).
  • It is considered as the Magna Carta of English Education in India (forms a landmark in the history of modern education in India).
  • It rejected the ‘filtration theory’ and laid stress on mass education, female education and improvement of vernaculars, favoured secularism in Education.
  • Creation of Education Departments in the provinces of Bombay, Madras, Bengal, N.W. Provinces and Punjab in 1855; Organizations of Indian Education Service in 1897 to cover the senior most posts.
  • Establishment of universities of Calcutta (Jan 1857) Bombay (Jul 1857), Madras (Sep 1857), Punjab (1882) and Allahabad (1887).
  • Lord Ripon appointed Hunter Commission (under Sir WW Hunter) :
    1. It recommended that local bodies (distt. boards and municipalities) should be entrusted with the management of primary schools.
    2. Also said that govt, should maintain only a few schools and colleges; others to be left to private hands.

Fourth Phase (1901 – 1920) :

  • Lord Curzon appointed a Universities Commission under Thomas Raleigh (Law member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council) in 1902, and based on his recommendations Indian Universities Act of 1904 was passed.
  • It enabled the universities to assume teaching functions (hitherto they were mainly examining bodies), periodic inspection of institutions, speedier transaction of business, strict conditions for affiliation etc.
  • Criticized by nationalists for its tightening govt, control over universities.
  • In 1910, a separate department of Education was established at the Centre.
  • The Saddler Commission was appointed by Lord Chelmsford to review the working of Calcutta University (2 Indians: Sir Ashutosh Mukherji and Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed.). Main recommendations were:
  • Secondary Education by a Board of Secondary education and duration of degree course be 3 yrs.
  • 7 new universities were opened (Total 12 now). They were : Banaras, Mysore, Patna, Aligarh, Dhaka, Lucknow and Osmania.
  • Kashi Vidyapeeth and Jamia Milia Islamia were established.
  • University course divided into pass course and Honours.

Fifth Phase (1921 – 1947) :

  • Came under Indian control officially, as it became a provincial subject administered by provincial legislature. Thus, expansions started everywhere.
  • Increase in number of universities (20 in 1947); improvement in the quality of higher education (on recommendations of Saddler Commission); establishment of an inter – University Board (1924) and beginning of inter collegiate and inter – university activities.
  • Achievement in women’s education and education of backward classes.

Hartog Committee 1929 :

  • Recommended the policy of consolidation and improvement of Primary education.
  • Recommended a selective system of admission to universities and diversified courses leading to industrial and commercial careers.
  • Universities should be improved.
  • Wardha scheme of Basic Education (1937), worked out by the Zakir Hussain Committee after Gandhiji published a series of articles in the HariJan.

Sargeant Plan of Education 1944 :

It envisaged :

  • Establishment of elementary schools and high school.
  • Universal and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6 – 11.
  • High schools of 2 types :
  • Academic.
  • Technical and Vocational.
  • Intermediate courses were to be abolished.

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One thought on “British Educational Policy and Growth of Modern Education

  1. Efforts for Establishments of schools for providing mdern education in calcutta during 1770 to 1857 be given in details please.
    Thanks and regards!

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