Meaning of Indian Education in Different Periods

Meaning of Indian Education in Different Periods

Education is generally defined as the process of acquisition of skills, knowledge, values, beliefs, and habits. Indian education is commonly divided formally into such stages as primary, secondary and then college.
Just like any other field, Indian education has too evolved; let us look into the education practices that were followed in various stages of Indian civilization.

Education in Ancient India

Indian education in the Ancient era leads back to the third century BC. During those periods, sages and scholars taught education orally and after the alphabet writing practice was introduced, the instructions taught were written over palm leaves and barks of trees for future references. In ancient India mostly temples and religious places took the role of modern day schools. Gradually the concept of Gurukul System was originated which brought education as a full-time practice. The Gurukul system of education is one of the oldest and considered to be the most efficient on earth. Gurukuls were traditional residential schools of learning a certain set of skills and value. At the Gurukuls, the teacher imparted knowledge of religion, scriptures, philosophy, literature, warfare, statecraft and mathematics, medicine, astrology, and history.

Education in Medieval India

It is an undeniable fact that Religion was a core part of education. The changes brought in the education system of medieval India are due to the practices followed by Buddhism and Jainism. Due to their influence, the concept of higher education was introduced and the universities at Nalanda, Ujjain, Takshila, and Vikramshila flourished. As the Mughals invaded India they introduced the Madrasah system of the educational system. Apart from these during these, there was a significant visible Persian influence in the Indian educational system.

Indian education in Modern era

The British rule brought many drastic changes in Indian educational system which was embedded that strong in our country that we are influenced by those even in the 21st century. Education in Modern India refers to the period from that of 18th century. During that period the concept of school was developed. Every village in country had schools in their respective places either alone or inside a temple church or mosque. These schools guided the students to read and write about the concepts of arithmetic, law, astronomy, metaphysics, ethics, medical theology, science and religion. The style and content of Indian society during the 19th century witnessed a dramatic change both inwards and outwards. The British raj introduced women education and educational rights became a Fundamental Right for citizens of India.

Education in modern India gained a whole new face with a huge influence of westernized education which was almost inevitably started with the coming of the British. The British employed different strategies of emotional and intellectual colonization in India, to consolidate political immigration. Insertion of western style education was a major strategy of all. The elite section of Indian society was deeply attracted and started to get accustomed to the English culture, ideologies, and education, which facilitated the British to easily infiltrate into the Indian soil.

The three universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay established in 1857 were in the port cities of India training their human resource to the needs of the labor market.

The goals of British education in India were articulated in 1835 by Thomas Macaulay

“We must do our best to form a class of persons Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, words, and intellect.”


It is very important to get to that Indian education system went through. These were the educational systems that were actually in practice in their respective era. And here we stand following the inevitable process of evolution in the so-called 21st-century school-based educational system. In other words a pure practical oriented educational system has been transformed into a purely theoretical one. It is in our hands to interpret the same and to determine whether can caused is a boon or bane.

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