Modern India Simplified: Wood’ Despatch 1854

1. In 1854, Charles Wood prepared a despatch on an educational system for India.
2. This document was the first comprehensive plan for the spread of education in India. Hence considered the “Magna Carta of English Education in India”.
3. The ideals and methods of Wood’s Despatch dominated the field for five decades which saw rapid westernisation of the education system in India, with educational institutions run by European headmasters and principals. Missionary enterprises played their own part. Gradually, private.

Important recommendations of Wood’s Despatch

1. They asked the government of India to assume responsibility for education of the masses, thus repudiating the ‘downward filtration theory’, at least on paper.
2. They systematised the hierarchy from vernacular primary schools in villages at bottom, followed by Anglo-Vernacular High Schools and an affiliated college at the district level, and affiliating universities in the presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.
3. They recommended English as the medium of instruction for higher studies and vernaculars at school level.
4. It laid stress on female and vocational education, and on teachers’ training.
5. It laid down that the education imparted in government institutions should be secular.It recommended a system of grants-in-aid to encourage private enterprise.

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