Describe the Recommendations in Wood’s Despatch (1854) and Their Effects on Indian Education

Charles Wood, the President of the Board of Control of English East India Company who was also the Secretary of the state of India once, has a great impact on the widespread of education in India. He sent a Despatch in 1854 to Lord Dalhousie who was the then Governor-General of India. Wood’s Despatch recommended primary schools adopt vernacular languages and also made various other recommendations.

Wood’s Despatch rejected the ‘downward filtration theory, and promoted education by putting forward the following recommendations;

Primary Education

It suggested the promotion of vernacular languages, education departments to be established in every province, the presence of at least one government school in every district, and a systematic education method.

Higher Education

Universities based on the London university to be established in big cities like Bombay, Madras and Calcutta and follow a systematic education method.

Women’s Education

Promotion of female education on all levels.

Systematic Hierarchy in education

  1. Primary schools in villages (Bottom)
  2. Anglo-Vernacular High Schools
  3. Affiliated colleges at district level
  4. Affiliating universities in the presidency towns

English Education

English to be the medium of instruction for higher education.

Vernacular Education

Promotion of vernacular languages at the primary level.

Teachers’ training

Promotion of teachers’ training at all levels.

Secular Education

Promotion of secular education.


Promotion of and support to institutions. 

Effect of Wood’s Despatch on India

The effect of Wood’s Despatch on India are as follows:

  1. Establishment of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta universities in 1857.
  2. Establishment of education departments in all provinces.
  3. Establishment of Bethune School (founded by J.E.D. Bethune) for women education.
  4. Establishment of Agriculture Institute at Pusa (Bihar) and an Engineering Institute at Roorkee.
  5. Rapid westernisation of British India education system with European headmasters and principals in schools and colleges.
  6. Appointment of private Indian educators.

Due to the various changes brought by the Despatch, it is regarded as the ‘Magna-Carta’ of English Education in India.Describe the Recommendations in Wood’s Despatch (1854) and Their Effects on Indian Education

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