Intentionally or unintentionally many new things have been associated with India, which are tarnishing her striking image. But the notion that Indians are conservative and not smart is not true. We are from the land, which is admired for its long and golden history, brave leaders, scientists, and educationalists.
The education sector of ancient India has made enormous contributions in various fields. By developing algebra, algorithm, techniques of surgery, game of chess etc, India had enriched the education of that time at global level. Contribution in mathematics is so immense that mathematics in Arabic is known as ‘Hindsa’ which means ‘from India’. We were ahead of many others in the field of medicine. ‘Charaka Samhita’, written by the father of Ayurveda, Charaka almost 2500 years ago is the true example of this. During Vedic period very big numbers were used, such as; there are evidences of using numbers up to 10*53(10 to the power of 53) when Romans were using numbers till 106 only. Till 17th century, before the invasion of Britishers, India was the richest country and the only source of diamonds all across the world. Owing to its wealth, many invaders invaded India from time to time and looted its wealth as well as damaged its education system.
Takshila, the World’s first University was located in ancient India. It was established in 700 BC at Takshila or Taxila or Takshashila which is now in Pakistan. Sixty different courses were offered in the University and there were more than 10,500 students who studied there from all across the world. Many famous persons such as Chandragupta Maurya, Chanakya, and Charaka are the products of this University.
Then we had Nalanda University (presently in Bihar) that was the first university with residential facility for over 10,000 students, about 2,000 teachers and staff members. The glory and contribution of the university was well described by the Chinese traveller Hsuan-Tsang during 7th century. It was the only university in India at that time which provided food, bedding, clothing and even free medicines to its staff. Royals and wealthy people out of generosity used to provide many grants for this purpose. Nalanda University was also the architectural marvel of India with ten temples, many meditation halls, compounds and classrooms. Library known as Dharma Gunj (Mountain of Truth) or Dharmagañja (Treasury of Truth was huge and occupied nine storied building with vast collection of text. This was the place where the old texts were copied with great effort.The extensiveness of the Nalanda Library can be estimated from the fact that when Turkish invaders set the library on fire, it tool six months to get damaged. These universities are now considered as the IIT and MIT of that time. Every single student of these universities after completing the education would become a scholar.
Hence right from ancient times, India had a very rich education system. Before these universities was the Gurukul System of education in India. In this, students used to go to teacher (guru) and requested for studies. If accepted, then the students used to stay at teacher’s home. Pupil was then taught all the subjects he wanted and in return helped his guru and his wife in household work. There was a strong bonding of students with teachers and nature. Students were given moral, social, philosophical teachings along with subjects like mathematics, Vedas etc. Much emphasis was laid down on the practical use of that knowledge rather than just bookish. But Britishers brought modern education system with them to India and rightly hit the backbone of India i.e. its education system. Old Gurukul style of teaching was replaced by modern schools and classrooms. Today’s education system in India focuses more on theoretical knowledge than practical. Hence we are now producing a generation that for sure will lack required skills. Another very critical aspect of the present day education system in India is its quality. Poor quality of education is given in most of the government schools where students from economically weak society (EWS) go for study. This is leading to another social issue of income disparity.
Though, at present our society and many of its systems need a massive transformation but with positive mind set and collective efforts we can achieve all these. Private schools have now started taking kids from EWS and giving them the same education, as it is the right of every child to get quality education. To improve the quality of education in India, teachers at government school must be given adequate teaching facilities and salaries. We should work more towards this issue. Also it is one of the major responsibilities of government and teachers to take the present day’s education system of India to its past glory as ‘History repeats itself’. We must hope for a better India that will be as bright as her historical past. The education system again will be very rich and we will start producing brains like Chanakya. Our contributions will then be thoroughly recognized.
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