Education during the british era


Education under the colonial rule was a design to legitimize colonial domination, in a way to justify the colonial rule and to take advantage of their economic needs. the western thought and education brought cultural transformation in India. The education policy of british was to control the masses instead of developing them.


There were Madrasas and Matkas for Muslims and Tols And Patshalas for Hindus. The oriental learning was mostly inclined towards the philosophies and literature, it lacked scientific and secular learning. Before the colonial rule there were Persian schools. Woman were disbarred from education. The elementary schools run by elite individuals and scholars with the aid of village panchayats, taught elementary arithmetic and basic literary to meet the needs of day-to-day life. Secular and scientific learning on law, medicine, astronomy and mathematics were held in the form of discussion and memorization, as there was no availability of printing press. In the second half of the 18th century there was a growing debate on the education policy of the East India Company. Company started promoting learning after constant pressure from liberals, utilitarianists, missionaries and orientalists. It was difficult for the company to decide its way of learning. Warren hastings eastablished Calcutta Madrasa (1781) and banaras Sanskrit college by Jonathan Duncan (1791), mostly oriental schools were build to have good relations with the local rulers. Strong opposition was experienced to the orientals approach by different groups such as evangelicals, liberals, utilitarians. New cultural etho’s were established by the missionaries post the industrial revolution. Promotion of English Literature and European philosophies was the main objective of English Education. English Education was provided to only a few people at first, and it was decided that these people would teach the masses. However this system lacked the encouragement to the Indian people. Many national leaders like Raja Rammohun Roy preferred western education over oriental learning, as it brought closer to modern world topics.

Schwartz school in Tanjore, Ramnad and shivganga, Baptist missionaries in serampur, the London society, American Methodist in Bombay are some of the examples of western schools. In the charter act of 1813, the british parliament included a sum of 1 lakh rupees to be spent on western education by the company however it was substituted to oriental learning. The oriental learning in India was looked after by General committee of public institution. Moreover, due to the pressure of Macualay and governor general Bentick it was abolished and council of education took its place promoting English literature and European philosophies. A major setback of western education was that it never taught subjects like law, medicine, political science in the schools and university which the British had established.


The above discussion shows that how the western education changed the thoughts and reasoning of Indians with respect to religion and culture. Many positive changes were brought in during the time of British rule and many of the fields emerged during this time. The spread of education in India was a long process and before 1857 its roots were very limited. Due to the humanitarian developments done by the reformists India could come out of its backwardness and put its view at the global sphere. Religion and its tradition were very deep rooted in India and the comparison of the foundation of Religion with the modern grounds brought a sense of justice to women and scheduled castes.

It transformed a rural backward India into a urban nation. It is also essential to note, this turnaround was only possible because of western thought and education. India felt the need to take the responsibility of the country and emerge as a victor in the fore coming years, which also gave motivation to the nationalist movement. In addition to these reforms there are still some problems found in the current India. The evil practice of dowry, the caste system and superstitious beliefs are some of the difficulties faced by common man in rural areas. The state always strives to promote welfare of the people but its only in the hands of Indians to come out strong and continuously keep changing for the betterment of our Country.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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