The present day educational system in India, originated from the Britishers. They were Christian missionaries who developed schools, to provide education to the general population of India. However, this was not the case decades back.
If one considers the Indian (Hindu) society, the educational system was based on the Gurukul system. and in this system, the relationship was solely based between the Guru (teacher) and the Sishya (student).
This system dates back from the time of our mythological age amid the 2 great epics of our country, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
The gurukul system, emphasized on adjusting life, giving up on your comfort, leaving your parents and family, and going with your guru to his gurukulam (his home or place) to learn the art. We the people of India, even today strongly believe that if one must learn an art from a guru, then they should abide by his rules, serve him whole heartedly with a lot of love and affection, to gain the greatest wealth a man can get, that is, the wealth of knowledge. The subjects main included martial arts and use of weapons, philosophy and astrology, mathematics . We go by the famous saying, which is one of the first things taught to a child, “Mata, pita, guru, deivam”, which when translated means “mother, father, teacher, god”. So, in India, the value for a teacher is much more than god.Education was based on the Varna basis, where women and sudras (lower class people), were denied the right to education.
Now, let’s move on to the medieval period. This system was called the madrasa educational system. the Hindus were given teachings by Brahmin priests and the Muslims were given education by the maulvis.
No problem occurred during this period as the Muslims also strongly believed in tradition and spirituality. During this period, only well learned priests and great scholars were the source to procure education.
During this time in India, children started education at a very very young age. And usually, the elders educated or rather passed on the legacy to their kids, and they to their kids and so on. The concept of reading, retaining, writing exams did not exist, and more so they were not at all necessary.
Not to forget, education, in whatsoever form available was available only and only to the higher-class people and not to the lower class and women. the modern education system of India, came from the Britishers.
The British educational system can be divided into three stages:
The main aim to starting schools, was to promote Christianity, to have scholars in Hindu and Muslim laws and to inculcate the British way of life, in India.
The British had their own objectives behind introducing this education system in India. They transformed education into a commodity, and it could be gained to only the people who could purchase it. It was widely believed that they needed clerks to serve their administration. This of course had its own long term consequences.
The colonial education, was clearly one of the strongest reasons of the propagation of the nationalist movement in India. During the 19th century, leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Anne Besant and later Jawaharlal Nehru, and Mahatma Gandhi were all well versed in the English language. These leaders were the torch bearers of the Indian independent movement. Due to their English education, they had thoughts like liberty, gender equality etc.) prevailing from the west. These great freedom fighters believed that education was the path to drive away the darkness in the country.
Moving to the 19th century, there emerged three kinds of schools.
Schools run by the government. schools run by India rulers to who taught students in the traditional way of teaching, by using languages like Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian, and finally missionaries run by the church and other Christian bodies.
The process of industrialization, demanded for more specialized schools which offered various other courses apart from the basic ones. and such knowledge could not by any means be inherited from generation to generation, since everything started to develop and expand.
The colonial education system, created a divide between the educated people and the uneducated masses. The British ignored the existing educational system of India. This created a lot of chaos among the citizens of the country, which led to their fight for freedom.
The movement for justice demanded the right to education for the people of the lower castes.
The movement of self-identity demanded the right to bring back the ancient believing and traditional value system of India.
The movement of Indigenization of Education was led by one of the great leaders like mahatma Gandhi. He not only criticized the model educational system, but also suggested a basic educational model.
This led to the increase in the quality of education in India and led to major growth of the nation. But, the pattern of colonial education to an extinct remained the same. Before 1990, most education was public and it was funded by the government.
After independence, the rulers and freedom fighters, have given utmost importance to education in India.
In the 20th century, the concept of universal education began to develop in India. And it was during this time, where it was said that every child will be given the right to education.
Presently, there are 2 types of schools. private and public schools. The minimum age for a child to start school is 3 years and he/she ends her schooling at the age of 17.
The ages from 3 to 5, children are taught basic subjects like math, English, and social science.
Then from 5 years they are exposed to a language, e.g. Hindi and Tamil, and also to core subjects like science.
They are also taught the basics of the ancient Sanskrit language which is one the most traditional languages of the nation.
At the age of 15, that is during end of the 10th grade, student is to choose a group. either science, commerce or humanities.
And finally, at the last year, that is 12th grade, they write public board exams. After getting the results, they choose their desired college. Students complete college at the age of 21, and choose their career paths.
Today, India has some of the best colleges, like IIT (Indian Institute of Science and Technology), SSN (Sri Sivasurbamaniya college of engineering), etc. The CA (Indian Charted Accountancy) body is also world widely recognized and respected.
India has got a lot of criticism when it comes to its educational system, but keeping aside all that, one can surely say, some among the most successful people in the world today, are Indians.
The Indian Educational system is one of the best systems, since its aim is to not only educate and imbibe knowledge into its students, but to shape up their overall development and to bring the best out of them.
And in the words of the great Albert Einstein,
"EDUCATION IS WHAT REMAINS AFTER ONE HAS FORGOTTEN WHAT ONE HAS LEARNED IN SCHOOL."