What Happened to The Local Schools?


The British established and founded the educational system, which has a Western aesthetic and curriculum, in the 20th century. William Adam first came up with it in 1813. He travelled to Calcutta to learn more about the system of Indian education that Christian missionaries had established. According to British records, there was a school for every temple, mosque, and village throughout most of the country in the 18th century. Reading, writing, arithmetic, theology, law, astronomy, metaphysics, ethics, medical science, and religion were among the disciplines covered in class according to the new rule. Students from all social classes in society attended the schools. The British introduced a drilling, logic-based educational system that helped people's thinking develop and contributed to the elimination of many problems in Indian society.

Girls School in India – 1848

The Missionary Repository for Youth, and Sunday School Missionary Magazine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What Happened to Local Schools Under British Rule?

In India, there were numerous pathshalas prior to British control. There were more than 100,000 pathshalas, and each had 20 students or less. Books, blackboards, benches, timetables, roll-call registers, and exams are all part of the educational system. The lessons were delivered at the guru's residence, at a shop, a village temple, or even outside under a tree. There were no separate courses, and all instruction was given orally. The parent's income determined the pathshala's fees. Since many rural kids were working in the fields during harvest, there were no courses at the pathshala.

The British decided to reform the pathshalas in 1854 and assigned government officials to oversee operations and raise the pathshalas' teaching standards. The gurus were instructed to keep to a set schedule, teach using textbooks, and produce recurring reports. The pupils had to come to class on a regular basis, pay a set fee, and pass exams. Government grants were provided to pathshalas that agreed to follow British regulations but not to those that dissented. Numerous impoverished children' lives were negatively impacted by the new system since they were no longer able to attend school due to fixed costs and set schedules. It was challenging for many gurus who wanted to operate independently to compete with the government-supported pathshalas.

The Report of William Adam

William Adam travelled to the areas of Bengal and Bihar in the 1830s at the request of the Company to provide a report on the development of education in local schools. In Bengal and Bihar, nearly 1 lakh pathshalas with little more than 20 pupils each were reported, according to Adam's research. Rich people or the local community established these institutions. The educational system was open-ended and did not include a set tuition fee, printed textbooks, a separate school building, benches or seats, blackboards, a system of separate classes, roll call registers, annual exams, or a set timetable. The guru's house, the corner of a village store or temple, or a banyan tree were all common locations for classes.

The amount of tuition was based on the parents' income, with the wealthy having to pay more than the underprivileged. Based on the demands of the students, the guru selected what to teach them orally. The guru worked independently with groups of kids who had varying levels of learning while the class was all seated together. Local needs were met by this adaptable system. No lessons were held during the harvest season. As soon as the crops were cut and stored, the pathshala began once more.

New Routines, New Rules

Higher education was the focus of the company. The East India Company made the decision to strengthen the vernacular education system after 1854 by bringing order to the system, setting procedures, defining norms, and ensuring regular inspections. new customs and regulations The Company hired several government pandits and assigned them to four to five schools. The pandit's responsibility was to check on the quality of instruction in the pathshalas. Every guru was required to turn in reports on a regular basis and attend classes on the scheduled days. Teaching was centred on textbooks, and learning was assessed via an annual exam system. Students were required to pay the standard cost, attend regularly scheduled classes, take fixed seats, and abide by the new regulations. Government funds were provided to pathshalas that complied with the new regulations. Due to the flexibility of the schedule, children from low-income peasant households had previously been able to attend pathshalas because of the new norms and procedures. Even during harvest when children from low-income families had to labour in the fields, the new system required frequent attendance.


From the Vedic and Buddhist periods through the Islamic period to the British era, there were numerous modifications to the Indian educational system. English-medium schools were established by the British, who arrived in India as traders and brought with them knowledge of western science and literature. The Indian educational system has been substantially impacted by British control. The British altered Indian education through several reforms and policies. The English language and Western education had a significant impact that is still felt today. The establishment of universities has helped the population's degree of literacy rise. The British rule helped to advance technical education, the sciences, and the arts in the nation.


Q1. Explain Charter Act of 1813

Ans. The introduction of the Charter Act of 1813, implied the permanence of British Rule in India. Amounts for education under this Act were set at INR 1 lakh annually. The East India Company Act, 1813, is another name for this. This law is significant because it established the status of British Indian territory in the constitution for the first time.

Q2. Who brought India to the British educational system?

Ans. In 1854, Sir Charles Wood was the company's President of the Board of Control and sent a despatch to Lord Dalhousie, who was then the Governor- General of India. This text is often referred to as the Magna Carta of English instruction in India.

Q3. Who was Lord Macaulay?

Ans. Lord Macaulay was a poet and historian. From 1834 to 1838, he served as the first member of the law department on the governor general council, ensuring that English was widely used in India.

Q4. What is Wood's Despatch?

Ans. Sir Charles advocated for the adoption of vernacular languages in primary schools, the Anglo-vernacular language in high schools, and the use of English as the principal language of instruction in universities. Informally, this message is referred to as Wood's dispatch.

Q5. Who and why did Asiatic society begin?

Ans. A British lawyer and Orientalist named Sir William Jones formed the Asiatic Society of Bengal on January 15, 1784, to promote Oriental studies. Orientalism was a Western academic field of study in the 18th and 19th centuries that included the study of the languages, literatures, religions, philosophies, histories, art, and laws of Asian countries, particularly those from ancient times.

Updated on: 22-Dec-2022


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