Evolution of Modern Education in India and Challenges

Evolution of Modern Education in India and Challenges

The term education has been originated by middle French and latin word ēducātiōn-- (stem of ēducātiō), equivalent to ēducāt (us) +-iōn  at 1525-35; which according to dictionary means the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge developing the powers of reasoning and judgment and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. At first glance answering the question ‘what is education?’ – with its roots in the thinking of  Aristotle, Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Dewey (to name a few) – is part of the progressive tradition of educational practice. It seems very different to the ‘formal tradition’ or ‘traditional education’.

If there is a core theme to the formal position it is that education is about passing on information; for formalists, culture and civilization represent a store of ideas and wisdom which have to be handed on to new generations. Teaching is at the heart of this transmission and the process of transmission is education…

While progressive educators stress the child’s development from within, formalists put the emphasis, by contrast, on formation from without— formation that comes from immersion in the knowledge, ideas, beliefs, concepts, and visions of society, culture, civilization. There are, one might say, conservative and liberal interpretations of this world view— the conservative putting the emphasis on transmission itself, on telling, and the liberal putting the emphasis more on induction, on initiation by involvement with culture’s established ideas.(Thomas 2013: 25-26).

As both Thomas and Dewey (1938: 17-23) have argued, these distinctions are problematic. A lot of the debate is either really about education being turned, or slipping, into something else, or reflecting a lack of balance between the informal and formal.

In the ‘formal tradition’ problems often occur where people are treated as objects to be worked on or ‘molded’ rather than as participants and creators i.e. where education slips into ‘schooling’ and that’s is the very origin of modern education. 

The history of evolution of the modern system of education in India may be likened to a great drama. The setting for this play is provided not only by the social, political and constitutional history of India but also by the social, political and educational developments in contemporary England. Several Indian institutions were planned on similar institution in England; often the controversies’ in India n education arose from contemporary controversies in English education; and oftener still, a change in the educational policy of England had. 

In 1813 east India Company accept the responsibility of education in India. Then the period comes of experiments that is 1813-1833 which was the three schools of educational policy. The period of twenty years between the two great charters of the company viz. those of 1813 and 1833, was one of experiments in the field of Indian education. Section 43 of the charter act 1813 had only defined the objects of the education policy viz. the revival and improvement of literature”, “the encouragement of the learned natives of India” and the introduction and promotions of a knowledge of sciences among the inhabitants of British territories in India”; but it had given no directions regarding the methods to be employed to secure these objects. It was the natural, therefore that controversies should arise on the subject and the events of the twenty years following the charter act 1813, showed that three different schools of thought grew up among the Europeans connected with India. The development or the evolution of the modern education is India had been completed in three periods.

In the second period centralization in educational policy was the order of the day. In fact, this period may be appropriately describe as one in which responsibility for the education of the people was assumed by the government of india itself. In no period of the education history of india did the central government taken so much interest in education as in this. After the Despatch of 1854 a comprehensive review of education in India was held by the central government on the occasion of Despatch of 1859. This was followed by similar comprehensive reviews held in 1865-66, 1867-68, and in 1870-71. Then came the Indian Education commission 1882-84. This was followed by the conference of directors’ of public Instruction held at Simla in 1901, the appointments of the Indian Universities Commission, 1902, the passing of the Indian Universities act, 1904, the issue of Government Resolution on Education policy in 1904 and 1913, and the appointment of the Calcutta University commission in 19711. An Education Department in the government of India was created in 1910-11. In addition to ‘Quin-qennial Reviews of the progress of Education in India’ which were first published in 1886, the government of India commenced issuing annual reviews of education in 1913-14. Besides this, the central Government also issued, from time to time, resolutions regarding special aspects of education such as Agriculture or technical education. It will be seen, therefore that throughout the second period and particularly after 1901 the Government of India took a very keen interest in education activities. In the third period, this keen interest shown by the Government of India came to a sudden end. 

If you look on the data of investment in education we see India is no where we are the second largest population of world but we are nowhere in investment in Education and payments of teachers which indicates that we still need to progress a lot. According to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), expenditure on education varies significantly between countries. The percentage of public expenditure set aside for the education system has been increasing in recent years and the OECD average now stands at 12.9 percent of total public expenditure. 

New Zealand is at the very top of the scale - 21.6 percent of the country's total public expenditure is devoted to education. Mexico isn't far behind with 20.5 percent. The story is similar in Brazil where a significant proportion of public finances, 19.2 percent, gets spent on the education system. Elsewhere, that figure is 13.6 percent for the United States and 12.2 percent for the United Kingdom. Italy trails a long distance behind with 8.6 percent.

Education Challenge in India

 The Government of India has committed to achieving universal elementary (grades 1-8) education by 2010. Although the government has made substantial investments to achieve this goal, several challenges remain:

  • About 3.5 crore children have not enrolled in school
  • About 39% of primary and 54.6% of upper primary students drop out of school
  • Quality of education is poor because of high student-teacher ratio – national average of 46.1 with some states as high as 68 (Rajasthan)
  • Gender Parity Index, at 0.77, is low for upper primary education (grades 6-8), while it is marginally better, at 0.83, for primary education (grades 1-5)
  • A large digital divide exists, and is growing, between students in affluent private schools and other students

There is a pressing need for solutions that address not only the quality of education delivery but also that of inclusiveness of the education for different stakeholders. The opportunity is to provide a solution that addresses the challenges outlined above without substantially increasing the cost of elementary education per child. The schooling system needs to be complemented in some innovative ways to help achieve the Government target of complete literacy by 2010.

Education, as we understand it here, is a process of inviting truth and possibility, of encouraging and giving time to discovery. It is, as John Dewey (1916) put it, a social process – ‘a process of living and not a preparation for future living’. In this view educators look to act with people rather on them. Their task is to educe (related to the Greek notion of educere), to bring out or develop potential. Such education is:

  • Deliberate and hopeful. It is learning we set out to make happen in the belief that people can ‘be more’;
  • Informed, respectful and wise. A process of inviting truth and possibility.
  • Grounded in a desire that at all may flourish and share in life. 
  • It is a cooperative and inclusive activity that looks to help people to live their lives as well as they can.Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. 


The Author of this article is Assistant Professor, Pioneer Institute of Professional Studies

Powered by Vivvo CMS from SIPL.NET