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Indigenous Education to the Western Form of Education System in India

India has had various indigenous forms of education throughout history. Its origin is not completely uncovered, but over some time, we have written records and evidence about the theme and the nature of the indigenous education system in India. We shall mainly focus on the pre-existed indigenous forms of education and their transition to the western form of schooling and method of education. 


From the ancient medieval until the modern world, we could see the transmission of indigenous forms of education to the people. There was a primarily informal form of learning in the beginning. There was a more beautiful form of a student-teacher relationship. Especially teaching was based on human values, social values, and people-to-people relationships. There were four types or forms of indigenous forms of education. Pathshalas of Hindu learning, Madrassah of Muslim belongs to the school of learning and submitting forms such as Persian schools and school teaching through the modern Indian language. This system belongs to elementary forms of education. 


As we all know, the patronage system is the tradition of ancient, medieval, and even modern years. The learning school got innumerable help from the rulers and chief and even religious leaders and members. We could say that teachers were averagely learned, but they have seen all the good and wrong sides of society so that they can teach the students all the human values. But the fact is that medievality is seen in the school of learning. There was the use of Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian as a medium of teaching and instruction in both schools of education and elementary school ( BEAUTIFUL TREE – 132). There was no regular fee for students; as a result, there was a land grant system for teaching students. 


Elementary education has a relation or flavor to modern style or things related to religious instruction. Later on, this form of education was considered a useless form of the education system. The Britisher could not appreciate the system against their will. But from an Indian point of view, it is the elementary form that pushes the education system till now. Teachers were limited in knowledge, but their teaching was close to their hearts. There were fewer students in terms of boys and girls. It is fascinating to see that teachers keep on earning from side to side to maintain the daily wages of families.


The above paragraph clearly shows how professional the teachers were in their profession. They keep it very close to their heart. They use simple forms of teaching methods and instruments. The most exciting and most beautiful thing is teaching students under the tree. Teachers took students to their houses to teach and sometimes to patrons' houses.  There were no printed books that proved the use of locally prepared forms of writing material. Teaching time is arranged according to the comfortability of the social structure. 


There were no regular classes, but the most exciting thing was that the seniors taught and helped the juniors learn; the system attracted dr. Bell came to be known as the Madras system later on. Parents pay the teacher according to their wishes. Over some time, the indigenous system remains despite social and political change. The whole structure is beautiful, but the worst side is the exclusion of girls and Harijan pupils. There was a limited curriculum as well, and there was student punishment. The literacy rate was 4 to 6 percent.  


The indigenous system could be considered the foundation of the national education system. But it was always in the form of decline. The declining conditions of indigenous education are because of the ruling state of the British. On the other hand, Adam has some great plans for the upliftment of the indigenous system. It was divided into seven stages. Attempts were also made to encourage the school of learning. The Monitorial system now has a significant influence from the indigenous system.


One of the most disappointing things is that the historian of Britain emphasizes the importance of the British contribution to the Indian education system and less emphasis on the contribution made by indigenous education to the development of the British education itself. Some considered that the teachings were according to the requirements of the zamindari system and other administrative systems. 


Going further into the system, we could find fewer women's education, it is when we see the general education of women in India. But in some specific regions, women's education was standard in Bengal. Braces in Bengal, which non-formal education focuses on women's education. There were broadly five forms of learning for higher learning: Sanskrit tols and Arabic madrasas, elementary education pathshalas and maktabs, and lastly, the Farsi schools impart training in training Farsi languages and literature.


The most exciting aspect is that the prevailing indigenous system corresponds to the existing social structure. The brahmin, Kshatriyas, and vaishyas were considered educated. There was the least number of non-brahmins restricted in choosing subjects; they mainly decided on medicine. The brahmins in Bengal took little interest in Vedic studies. The Buddhist system of thought was absorbed into the Brahmanic system, as said by Satish Chandra.


W Watch says in Bengal smriti and nyay are favorite subjects (NIGEL CROOK – 101). Writing has no place in indigenous Sanskrit teaching and learning. Teachers are considered supreme as they look after the well-being of the student. Gargi and Maitreya were the most prominent examples that can be given to prove that there were learned women. A girl receives training for child care and household arrangement and undergoes a socialization process to be a good housewife (NIGEL-115). But at the same time, there was a prohibition against women learning was probably from various causes (BEAUTIFUL TREE – 90). A few females could be found in the reading school.  


Let us now focus on the transition phases and the changes and nature of the education system during the British era. The popularity of the British education system has emerged all over the country. Without the knowledge of English, it was hard to get government jobs even though they are highly educated indigenous forms of education. The modern system of education was established during the British period. The western writers underestimated the indigenous education system, saying that they do not contain any value.  

There was a massive distinction between the formal and informal types of education. People have little interest in attending traditional education. People were chasing after the vocational type of courses and systems. The informality of Indian education is why the British consider Indian education useless and valueless. 


All the information that we found about indigenous education and the later steps taken by the British government to improve the system or degrade the system, comes out of the various reports provided by the governors and leaders in charge of the government. First of all, let us see the report of Munro conducting an inquiry at Madras. Several reports collected from the reporters show that the minimum number of people went to school. 1 out of 67 only went to school. Here what we can see is that the British assessment was based technically, at school and colleges, it is correct, but literally, it does not mean that only 1 out of 67 know or are educated.


The number of people going to school does not give the exact actual meaning of education.  The above inquiry by Munro was challenged by Sir Philip Hartog, stating that the statistics provided by Munro were overestimated statistics. The views given by Munro are not correct, according to Philip Hartog. The statistics for children under domestic instruction were excluded in the figure given by the collectors. Munro does not refer to domestic instructions. There was a massive lack of belief by Munro to its collector and their report.  


This inquiry was conducted in Madras. Further, there was a report of Bellary. Here we could find that Hindu youths generally commence when they are five years old. On reaching this age, the master and scholar of the school to which the boy is to be sent are invited to the parents' house. Scholars were divided into different classes.  Let us now see the inquiry in Bombay. Mountstuart Elphinstone's investigation in Bombay was not extensive and did not cover the whole province. Home education was held in various places such as temples, sheds, teachers' houses, etc. 


Most schools are single-teacher institutions with 2 to 150 students in them. The majority of the teachers were  Brahmins. Other teachers are Prabhus, Marathas, Bhaharees, Kumbis, Wanis, Shimpis, Banis, etc. Shri R.V  Perulikar says that teachers' educational attainment was also far from satisfactory. Teachers should have good handwriting to read and write. Most of the teachings were on things that were happening in ordinary life. There was no mention of female education. The domestic system of education was neglected. 


The Muslim student has different institutions for Muslim only. This report is considered to be a reasonably accurate report. Most villages have one school. Natives mainly maintained local schools.  Lastly, let us see the inquiry in Bengal. This inquiry is considered to be different from Madras and Bombay. William Adam conducted it. It was supposed to be informal. Indigenous elementary schools were indigenous and had no religious motives or influences.


Schools must have fixed students and teachers in the modern sense, but it has a domestic form of education in an indigenous mind. Philip says that Adam couldn't summarize his statistics thanas inquiry by Adam center to compare with other educational investigations. There was no indigenous education conducted by Muslim. 27 elementary schools with  262 pupils or students. There was a Bengali school, Persian school, and Arabic school. There was no female education. William Adam also collected statistics for five districts. He gave his proposal for the reform of indigenous schools.


This phase was also considered the transitional phase to the modern British form of education. He conducted a new investigation since he was not satisfied with his agent's report. People were frightened, so they did not reveal the exact number of females in the family. Children were also considered in his third report. Further, there were various steps taken up by the British to improve the system. 


Let us consider some of them as examples. Warren hasting founded Calcutta madrasa to provide customs. Jonathan Duncan established the  Benares Sanskrit college; mount Stuart Elphinstone established the college of Hindu learning in puna. Fraser founded a school for the instruction of children of zamindars in reading and writing the Persian language. There was the privatization of schools and colleges all over the country (NIGEL-99). 


In the 19th century, the indigenous schools were in a state of decline. The British never wanted to interfere with the indigenous system. But it could not go in that manner. Duncan believes that the British have a mission of generating  Hindu society. The orientalist wanted the Indian Indian to be given traditional Indian Indian education. Some others, however, wanted Indians to be educated in the western style of teaching and be taught western subjects. There was another difficulty regarding the language of instruction. Some wanted to use Indian languages, while others preferred English. Due to these issues, the sum of money allocated was not given until 1823, when the general committee of public instruction decided to impart oriental education.


In 1835, it was decided that western sciences and literature would be imparted to Indians through English by Lord William Bentinck's government. According to Macaulay minute, English education should be imparted in place of traditional Indian Indian learning because the oriental culture was defective and unholy. Macaulay was an ardent anglicist who had absolute contempt for  Indian learning. Macaulay was trying to spoon-feed the people with the English language. He thinks that the education system has remained the same. Hence it needs to be changed.


His views go parallel with that of the gentry class, therefore getting support from them sometimes. His policy could also directly or indirectly affect the mainstream Indian leader because of not knowing and learning English. Over time education would trickle down to the masses. The evangelical, the liberal, and the practical were against oriental education. Indian society has to be radically transformed. Duncan believed that Hindu society could be regenerated only by teaching and learning English. Darkness or loopholes can be filled only with the introduction of English education and through Christianity.


East India Company, as per se, has no policy to remove indigenous education. Schwartz's schools in Tanjore, ramnad and shivaganga in the 1770s and 1780s were among the first to teach English to Indian Christian. The rich support the indigenous education, but the oriental says that the public demand for indigenous learning and the charter act of 1813 found the company to encourage it. The anglicists wanted the moral and social regeneration of ideas by assimilating European ideas and knowledge. 


The East India company's primary educational aim was to turn out clerks who could be employed cheaply. Trevelyan, CH Cameron asks for university implementation. Woods was more interested in the advocacy of the lower sphere. He agreed with the idea of universities primarily for examining and conferring degrees on students who came up from various colleges. He is against the government subsidizing higher education. Woods dispatch also recommended the establishment of a department of public instruction and giving grants in aid.


With the establishment of departments and universities, the new education system took firm roots. Excessive emphasis on examination dominated high school and university teaching. There was a mechanical way of learning, more information gathering and less understanding, no teacher training activities, more emphasis on humanities. Even Curzon thinks that Indian education is a mess.  Therefore we can conclude that Indian education has problems, but less since the number of schools and colleges is less. It wasn't essential and the system of education has political consequences. Sir Michael (1917) says that Indian education is defective. It was of low standard and poor quality. The nationalists even thought that they were not imparting patriotism to students.  

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