Before the British rule, India had its own education system, such as Madrassas and Pathsala for Muslims and Hindus respectively. But with the intervention of British rule in India, along with many other changes, the legacies of traditional schools of learning were breached by British policies and measures.
In the early years, the British were not interested in the development of the education system as their only goal was trading and profit-making. However, the British felt the need to “educate” people of India who would work closely with the British government and assist them in the administration of the land. For this purpose, they chose to educate the upper and middle classes to create a new class who were “Indian in color and blood but English in taste.”
The Charter Act of 1813 was the first step for the development of education in India. After this act, there were two groups in the government, one who preferred the traditional education system – orientalist – and the other who preferred the western education system – Anglicist. Later on, in 1835, another education policy was introduced by Lord Macaulay which attempted to create an education system in English only for the upper class. After this policy, orientalist education was given lesser attention by the British government. In 1854, another education policy, Wood’s dispatch was passed which only focused on the spread of western education in India. Wood’s dispatch also introduced the hierarchy education level, such as vernacular primary school at the bottom; Anglo-vernacular High Schools at the district and affiliated college, and affiliated universities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras Presidency at the district level.
Of course, there were various problems attached to these education policies of the British government in India, as those policies represented the ulterior motives of the British government of “land administration.” Also, they did not consider the language barriers in the provision of Western education.