Albert Einstein a physicist and a phenomenal educator said “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”. Education is what makes you different in the herd, it sets your personality, groom you in many ways, it gives wings to your knowledge. Education can be defined as a process of facilitating learning, or the attainment of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. I believe education is an integral part of human life since its existence, in prehistory, as adults trained the young in the knowledge and skills deemed necessary in their society. In pre-literate cultures this was achieved orally and with help of simulation. Story-telling passed knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to the next. As societies began to extend their knowledge beyond skills that could be readily learned through imitation, formal education developed. The history of education date back centuries, Plato founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in Europe. The city of Alexandria in Egypt, established in 330 BCE, became the successor to Athens as the intellectual cradle of Ancient Greece. There, the great Library of Alexandria was built in the 3rd century BCE. European civilizations suffered a collapse of literacy and organization following the fall of Rome in CE 476.
In China, Confucius (551-479 BCE), of the State of Lu, was the country's most influential ancient philosopher, whose educational outlook continues to influence the societies of China and neighbours like Korea, Japan and Vietnam
The history of education in India is pretty interesting. It was assumed that in the medieval period the education was conveyed to student with the help of intellectuals and the scholars. All the knowledge was passed from one generation to another generation. Initially palm leaves and barks of trees were used for writing Vedas to educate the children of the society. In ancient times temples were used to fulfill the purpose of schools. Later after some decades the Gurukula system of education came into reality. The gurukula were basically established Hindu domestic schools of learning where the students and teachers stay together. In gurukula the education was free but the students of rich families had to pay gurudakhina after the completion of their studies. In gurukula, teacher teaches students various aspects of Vedas, religion, philosophy, history and different kinds of literature. This was one of the oldest and most efficient systems of education across the world.
In the beginning of 5th and 6th century many universities like Nalanda, Takshila, and Vikramshila were established in order to provide higher education. Architecture, painting, art, economics, Buddhism, Hinduism, law, and medicine were some of the important subjects that were taught in that era.
Nalanda University was one of the largest universities where more than 10000 students were getting all branches of knowledge. According to British records the awareness of education in India spread around 18th century. Law, astronomy, medical, ethics, mysticism, metaphysics and religion were some of the prominent subjects that were taught during that era. The current education system of India was established by the British government around 20th century after the proposal of Mr. Macaulay. But the education system has more western style and western content because the British government did not realize the value of tradition Vedas and cultures of Indian society. Mahatma Gandhi the father of the nation also oppose this type of education system and described the traditional education system as a lovely tree which was ruined during the Britishers.
During 1942-43, the first medical science college of Kerala was established. During World War II there was shortage of doctors in India and because of that British government had to open madras medical science college in Malabar district.
After independence in 1964 the central government decided to set up education commission which comprises of 16 members out of which 11 were Indian professionals and 5 were of different foreign country experts. The main objective of this commission was to make most efficient and effective education system with the help of international agencies, professionals and consultants in both educations as well as in scientific field.
Later in 1976 the education system became as sole responsibility of state and central government. In November 1998 the prime minister of India announced Vidya vahini network to link up university, UGC and CSIR.
Today in India has 47 central universities, 738 public, private and deemed universities, 50+ Boards of Education including CBSE. Thousands of schools, a stretch of good network of primary and secondary education across the nation ranging from cities to villages. India has made its mark with exchange programs and cross culture education from all over the globe, students from different countries visit India for their education and Indian students go abroad for the same. Surely we can say, we have come a long way as far as education is concerned, though miles to go!
Niyaz Varis (Assistant Professor-B.Ed.)
JIE, Greater Noida