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Education in Colonized Sub-Continent

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.

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Thank you for all the information here! I would actually argue that they were very aware of the language barriers in the provision of their education and very consciously used it to create a divide between the hierarchies you rightly pointed out!

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Yes, you have pointed it out rightly. They knew and analyzed everything carefully. Everything policy they implemented was obviously coming from the mind of colonizers who were not the well-wishers of natives.

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i really appreciate the detail in the post! however, what you talk about during the colonized era, is similar to what goes on right now. linguistic prowess in english and comfort with western standards is considered the benchmark for intellect, ability, and intelligence. Our slave mindset has not changed, we keep our colonial masters alive in spirit.

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Glad to know that you liked it! Thank you so much for the appreciation. I totally agree with you. We became free, but our minds are still colonized.

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I would say it is a well researched blog.

The British government did everything for their own gain. They only thought about 'educating' Indians when they felt the need to educate them and get assistance from them in land administration.

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Glad you liked it!

Yes obviously colonizers have their own ulterior motives to do everything. Nothing is for the wellbeing of natives.

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We see the remnants of these colonial education systems within our current ones as well. The elements that dominated these education systems like the classism and the hegemony of English still persist to this day.

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Yes, We just passively adopted what they left, maybe because, we were too lazy to make our own education system and we were a little too obsessed with White men and their culture.

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Interesting and well-researched topic. I did not know about the developments by the British during the early 19th century. Thank you for sharing!


However, we can also see this classist education system in post-colonial era too. It is here since two centuries, and I wonder how much time it would take to eradicate this classist education system


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yeah, sadly :(

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