Education in India has a history stretching back to the ancient urban centres of learning at Taxila and Nalanda. Western Education became ingrained into Indian society with the establishment of British Raj. Since Independence, the Education policies of successive governments have built on the substantial legacies of the Nehruvian Period, targeting the core themes of Plurality and Secularism, with a focus on excellence in higher Education, and inclusiveness at all levels.
Traditional Education in India served a very limited purpose of a particular section of the society belonging to certain cost. During medieval period Education was similarly elitist, favouring the rich. These pre- existing elitist, tendencies were reinforced under British rule. The modern Education system of British Raj first developed in three Presidencies (Bombay, Calcutta, Madras). In the early 1900s, the Indian National Congress called for national Education, placing emphasis on technical and vocational training. In 1920 the congress initiated a Boycott of Government-aided and Government-controlled schools and founded several ‘national’ schools and colleges. In 1937 Gandhiji raised his voice in favour of universal Education. Nehru aimed that Education for all and industrial developments were seen as crucial tools to unite a country divided on the basis of wealth, cost and religion, and formed the corner stone of the anti-imperial struggle. So after Independence, school curricula were thus imbued with the twin themes of inclusiveness and national pride, placing emphasis on the fact that India’s different communities could be peacefully side by side as on nation.
Drawing on Nehru’s vision, the Kothari commission was set up to formulate a coherent Education policy for India. According to the commission, Education was intended to increase productivity, develop social and national unity, consolidate democracy modernize the country and develop social, moral and spiritual values. To achieve this main pillar of Indian Education policy was to be free and compulsory Education for all children up to the age 14. Other features included the development of languages, equality of Educational opportunities and the development and prioritization of scientific Education and Research. The commission also emphasized the need to eradicate illiteracy and provide adult Education.