Trace the growth of education in India in the later half of the 19th century

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What is Modern Education? The educational system which the British introduced in India is known as the modern education.

Under this system greater emphasis was laid on the teaching of English language and its literature and the study of Indian languages were generally neglected.

Now onwards the study of such languages as Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit was left to the individual efforts of the people themselves.

Moreover, the modern education was based on logic and scientific research rather than on faith and ritualism.

Causes or objectives for the Introduction of Modern Education:

The English introduced the modern education in India to fulfill their various objectives. The chief among them are the following:

1. To reduce the expenditure on administration. The English introduced the Modern education in India with the sole object of reducing the expenditure incurred on administration.

In different departments they needed a large number of such employees who could not be brought from England. This demand could be met only by employing the educated Indians who could prove far less expense than the Europeans.

2. To encourage the study of the English language:

The English were now the master of India and like all masters (alien rulers) they too wished that the people under their rule should learn their language which they must use in communicating with them.

Besides they thought that as a result of the learning of English to Indian people would easily accept the British rule.

3. To expand market for English goods :

The English capitalists thought that after learning the English language and acquiring Western education the Indians would become semi-English.

According to Macaulay the Indian would then remain Indians only in their colour while in their interest, ideas, morals and intelligence they would become English. In such conditions the market for British goods would automatically expand.

4. Spread of Christianity: The Christian missionaries believed that the modern education what little faith they had in their religious beliefs. Thus they would be attracted towards Christianity.

Steps taken by the company to introduce Western Education in India:

1. Early Efforts:

In the beginning the company never took it as its duty to give education to the Indians. It was a commercial company and their sole motive was to earn profits and not to spend money on education. Nevertheless, some British officers in their individual capacity tried to break some ice in this direction.

In 1781 A.D Warren Hastings laid the foundation of the Calcutta & Madras. Similarly Sir William Jones, a judge of the Supreme Court founded the Asiatic society of Bengal in 1784 A.D.

This society, in later years, did a lot of work in spreading education. In 1792 A.D. the Resident of Benaras took special interest in spreading education and started several English schools and colleges were English was taught The missionaries started for the same purpose the Wilson College at Bombay, the Christian College at Madras and the St. John College at Agra Some progressive Indians like Raja Rammohan Roy also started English schools and colleges were English was taught.

The missionaries started for the same purpose the Wilson College at Bombay, the Christian college at Madras and the St. John College at Agra. Some progressive Indians like Raja Rammohan Roy also started English schools. Raja Rammohan Roy laid the foundation of a school at Calcutta in 1816 A.D.

2. Charter Act of 1813 A.D.:

In England, a feeling was gaining ground that the company had done practically little to the mental and moral development of the Indian people. It was, therefore, laid in the charter Act of 1813 A.D.

That the company would set as die a sum of rupees one lakh for promoting the knowledge of modern sciences in India But even this meagre amount was not utilized for several years as no decision could be reached as to what the medium of education should be.

3. Lord Macaulay and Decision regarding the medium of instruction in 1835 A.D.:

It was at last during the period of Lord William Bentinck (1828-35) that Lord Macaulay and Raja Rammohan Roy, a representative of the progressive Indians, made efforts so that a decision was taken in 1835 A.D. to promote the teaching of Western sciences and literature through the medium of English alone.

Wilson and Several Indians opposed this decision but Lord William Bentinck upheld the Macaulary view. Another important step was taken to encourage English learning in 18744.

When it was decided during the period of Lord Harding, that only those Indians who had sufficient knowledge of English be appointed on Government jobs.

4. Charles Wood's Despatch, 1854 A. D :

Charles Woods, the President of the Board of Control, did a Yeoman's job inspreading education in India when in 1854 A.D. he sent a despatch to Lord Dalhousei the then Governor-General of India.

It was recommended therein that - (1) an education department was to be established in every province. (2) Universities on the model of the London University are established in big cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. (3) At least one Government school is opened in every district. (4) Affiliated private schools should be given grant-in-aid. (5) The Indian natives should be give training in their mother-tongue also.

In accordance with the Wood's desspatch. Education Departments were established in every province and universities were opened at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857 A.D.-and in Punjab in 1882 A.D. and at Allahbad in 1887 A.D.

Drawbacks of the Company's System of Education:

1. Lack of Funds:

Even the meager amount of one lakh set aside for educational purposes could not be spent till 1833 A.D.

2. Neglect of the Common People:

The Company never took a serious interest in the field of education. By educating the members of the higher and the middle classes only they created a serious gap between various classes of the Indian people.

The only object of their educational system was to prepare clerks who would carry on the work of the company's administration smoothly. It simply shows the selfishness of the company.

3. The Medium of Instruction:

All the subjects were taught through English as such the .study of Indian languages was neglected. All those who got their training in English considered themselves superior to others.

Thus classes of people were born who were Indians only in blood and colour but they considered themselves English in thought and in their way of living.

4. Neglect of the Women's Education:

No funds were set aside for the education of women, as women's education had no utility for the English. On the other hand, they were afraid of hurting the sentiments of the India of the Indian people as the conservative Indian opinion was against giving any education to their women folk.

5. Neglect of Scientific and Technical Education:

The English government never paid any attention towards imparting scientific and technical education. By 1857 A.D 1857 A.D: Only three medical Colleges, one each at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras and one Engineering College at Roorkee were opened. Admission to these Colleges was open only for the Europeans; as such the Indians were almost neglected.

Despite the above drawbacks, we can say that the British had played a very important role in the promotion of education in India. It was this education which later on inspired a number of Indians with the fire of nationalism which ultimately rooted out the British Empire from the Indian soil.


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