The hegemony of the Britishraj cast its ugly shadow over India in very many fields. However, the liberal outlook of Lord William Bentinck, Ripon and others led to the spread of English education in India. He accepted Lord Macaulay’s view of introducing English education in India.

In 1935, he declared in a resolution that the great object of British Government ought to be the promotion of literature and science among the natives, and that the funds appropriated for education should be best employed on English education alone.

Thus, through English language, history, philosophy, botany etc. were taught to Indians that removed the age-old dogmas from their mind and made them modern in outlook.

The Woods Dispatch 1854:


The Woods Dispatch of 1854 was a land-mark in the history in spread of English education in India. It was the magna carat of English education in India. The main features of this dispatch were as follows:

(1) It defined the aim of education as the diffusion of arts, science, philosophy and literature of the West.

(2) Institutions should be established to impart training to the teachers.

(3) The number of government schools and colleges were to be increased. More Middle English schools were to be started.


(4) Greater attention was to be paid to elementary education.

(5) The system of grants in-aid was to be started to help private institutions.

(6) The system of scholarship to brilliant students was to be introduced.

(7) Female, education was to be encouraged.


(8) The study of Indian languages was to be encouraged.

(9) The Dispatch emphasized on vocational education and the need of establishing technical
schools and colleges.

(10) A Director of Public Instruction remained in every province. He was to be assisted by Inspectors and Deputy Inspectors.

Hunter Commission, 1882:


It was a milestone in the spread of modern education in India. It was appointed by Lord Ripon which gave its recommendation in 1882.

(1) It laid emphasis on the improvement of primary

(2) Secondary education aimed at achieving two distinct goals, one was to prepare the students to face entrance examination to enter into the university. The second goal was to impart vocational education to the students for preparing them to pursue vocational and commercial careers.

(3) Private enterprises were to be encouraged for the spread of education in India. It extended and liberalized the grant-in-aid principle


(4) It emphasized on female education.

Besides these recommendations, the Commission also showed interest in the spread of oriental studies. Teaching-cum-examination method was introduced in the universities. Accordingly, the Punjab University was founded in 1882 and Allahabad University in 1887.

The Indian Universities Act, 1904:

This Act was passed in 1904 during Lord Curzon’s Viceroyalty. It recommended the following provisions.


(1) The universities became highest educational institutions to promote higher education and research.

(2) One university must contain Fellows at least 50 in number.

(3) Most of the Fellows were to be nominated by the Government.

(4) The regulations passed in the university Senate might be vetoed by the Government.

(5) Mainly, the University Act, 1904 aimed at promoting research and higher education in the country.

The Sadler Commission, 1917-19:

This University Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. M.E. Sadler, the Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University gave the following recommendations.

(1) It recommended a 20-year-course.

(2)The students can enter into university after passing the Intermediate Examination and not after matriculation.

(3) The duration of the degree course after Intermediate should be limited to three years.

(4)It recommended less rigidity in framing the regulations of universities.

(5) The Indian universities should be unitary residential-teaching autonomous bodies.

(6) It recommended extending facilities for female education and establishing a Special Board of Women Education in Calcutta University.

(7)The universities should put emphasis on technological and practical studies.

Accordingly, seven hew universities at Mysore, Patna, Banaras, Aligarh, Dacca, Lucknow and Osmania came into existence between 1916-1921.

The Hertzog Commission, 1929:

Under the Chairmanship of Sir Philips Haiti, the Commission recommended the following steps:

(1) It emphasized on compulsory primary education.

(2) It wanted to divert students after M.E. School to different technical lines.

(3) It recommended promoting all-round development of university education.

Wareham Scheme of Basic Education, 1937:

After the Congress Party came to power, Gandhi proposed his principles of Basic Education. Its aim was leading through activity. The Zakir Hussain Committee planned the course of structure accordingly. Suggestions were given concerning training of teachers, supervision, administration and examination.

Sargeant Plan, 1944:

This plan recommended for the establishment of elementary schools. It also put emphasis to impart free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 and 11. A six-year-course was formed for the children falling in the age group of 11 and 17. It gave emphasis on academic and technical education in India.

After that the Radhakrishnan Commission (1944-49), the University Grants Commission (1953), Kothari Education Commission (1964-66), National Policy of Education (1968) and the New Education Policy (1986) were distinct milestones in the then educational reforms in India.