This essay Impact of British rule on Indian Education has a total of 539 words and 3 pages.
Impact of British rule on Indian Education
Initially, the East India Company did not think that it was its duty to impart education to Indians. It allowed the old system of education to continue. Pathsalas , which imparted a special type of education geared towards meeting the requirements of a rural society, were open to all.
Around the beginning of the 19th century, the Company became aware of the need for introducing Western education in India. However, Christian missionaries, who were interested in spreading Christianity through education, had already established several educational institutions which were attached to their churches.
The Charter Act of 1813 directed the Company to spend one lakh rupees on the education of Indians. Thomas Macaulay, the first law member in the Governor General's Council, promoted the English language as a tool for educating the people in Western thought and ideals (Macaulay's Minute of 1835). William Bentinck supported Macaulay's views. In 1835, the government passed an Act declaring that educational funds would be utilized for imparting Western education through the medium of English.
In 1844, English became the official language and it was declared that people having knowledge of English would be preferred for public employment. This helped the spread of English education in India. In 1854, Charles Wood, the President of the Company's Board of Control, worked out a plan for educational re-organization. Through the Wood's Dispatch the Government declared its intention of "creating a properly articulated system of education from the primary school to the university".
In accordance with the Wood's Dispatch universities were established in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras (1857). In 1858 Charles Wood Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, the famous Bengali writer became one of the first two graduates of Calcutta University.
Western education, influenced Indian society in a way that the British could never have imagined. Theories of philosophers like John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, Adam Smith and Voltaire instilled in the Indian mind notions of freedom, liberty, equality and democracy. As a result of the exposure to such ideas, Indians began to recognize the need for change.
The demand for social and religious reform that manifested itself in the early decades of the 19th century partly arose as a response to Western education and culture. India's contact with the West made educated Indians realize that socio-religious reform was a prerequisite for the all-round development of the country.
Educated Indians like Raja Rammohan Roy worked systematically to eradicate social evils. In 1829, Sati or the practice of burning a widow with her dead husband was made illegal or punishable by law. Slavery was declared illegal. With Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar's assistance, the Widow Remarriage Act was passed by Lord Dalhousie in 1856. Vidyasagar also campaigned against child marriage and polygamy.
The universities of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta were set up in 1857, followed by the universities of Allahabad and Lahore in 1887. Technical education for Indians was, however, neglected. The engineering college at Roorkee , for instance, was open to Europeans only. Thus, the new education system did not wholly benefit the Indians. It is said that even Gandhi described the traditional educational system as a beautiful tree which was destroyed during the British rule.
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