British Educational Policy in India 1858-1921

Year: 1992

Author: Whitehead, Clive

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Academic research into the history of education in nineteenth and early twentieth century India has been both intermittent and of mixed quality. In 1970, R.P.Singh argued that it was high time that the writing of the history of Indian education rose above the level of textbooks.1 A decade later Professor Aparna Basu observed that academic writing about the history of education in India had been overly preoccupied with descriptive accounts.2 It might equally be claimed that much of the writing has been unduly coloured by anti-British sentiment, especially since Independence. Nevertheless, Professor Basu believes that the subject offers an important and relatively new area of study 'whose potentialities are only just beginning to be exploited'.3 The purpose of this paper is both to endorse her claim and to stress in particular, the need for a more scholarly reappraisal of British education policy in India in the period after the Mutiny and before the devolution of responsibility for education to provincial governments in 1921. It was during those years that the British Government was directly responsible for determining Indian education policy.