Evolution of higher education and research in post independence India

Since the beginning of human civilization, India has been referred to as a hub of knowledge. The higher education system in India has been witnessing a lot of changes as well as challenges through the ages. Millions of lives have been changed from the transmission of the ancient Gurukul system to the modern system of technology based learning. 

Features of evolution of higher education and research in post independence India

● In the 7th century BC, the centre of learning was Buddhist monasteries and in the 3rd century AD, it was Nalanda. However, they have been extinguished in the modern age due to national invasions and disorders. 

● The first college to impart Western education in India was set up in 1918 in Serampore, Bengal.

● There were three Central Universities in India namely Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras in 1857 with an affiliation of 27 colleges. By 1947, there were 19 Universities across India.

● Due to the joint responsibility given to the union and state government for promoting education, the higher education system has developed and advanced. 

● The country also facilitates varying education systems in the country based on academic, financial flexibility, and administrative provisions.  

● UGC or University Grants Commission is the apex body that governs the higher education system in India. 

Policies for Education in India

Post independence, the growth of Indian Higher Education has been phenomenal. There are various other initiatives taken in India in terms of education which are as follows:

1. Samagra Shiksha

Samagra Shiksha’s mission was launched in 2018-2019. It is an integrated scheme for School Education aimed at the welfare of children with special needs from classes 1 to 12 under the Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD. The scheme is governed and regulated by the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.

2. Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009

The Right to Education Act (RTE) is enacted to make the right to education a fundamental right in the country. It marks a watershed in the Indian education system and that is why it is essential legislation. In August 2009, Parliament passed the act, and came into force in 2010. Following this, India became one of the 135 countries that have made education a fundamental right of every child.

3. National Policy of Education (1986)

The main goal of NPE was to universalize elementary education through facilities such as quality education, trained teachers, adequate teaching and learning materials. It also took steps to remove inequality and discrimination based on social criteria.

4. The Kothari Commission (1964)

The Kothari Commission was an ad hoc commission formed by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari on 14 July 1964 and dissolved on 29 June 1966. He was the chairman of the University Grants Commissions (UGC) when the Kothari Commission was formed. The Commission consisted of twenty members who were experts in the education domain and based out of the UK, USA, Japan, Sweden, and France.

5. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a flagship program started by the government of India in 2001. It was developed to achieve the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The provision of legal backing for SSA occurred when the Indian Constitution under Article 21 A, made free and compulsory education for the children in the age group of 6-14 a fundamental right in. In a time-bound manner, SSA aims to fulfil the objectives of this fundamental right. It is anchored by The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GoI) and has been operational since 2000-2001.

The government ensures that the differently-abled students are given special care and attention but also not treated differently at the same time so that they do not feel excluded. Hence, these schemes ensure that there is an inclusion of all learners in education despite their physical or mental abilities.