jul 19, 1854 - Education Despatch


The education despatch of 1854, popularly called the woods Despatch is considered as the "Magna Carta" of Indian Education.

The East India Company had to renew its Charter after every twenty years. Before renewing the Charter in 1853, the British Parliament constitutes a Selection Committee to enquiry into the Progress of education in India and suggests reform. The suggestions of the Committee were issued as a Charter of Education on July 19, 1854. Charles Wood was the president of the Board of Control. So this is known as Wood’s Despatch of 1854.

Reasons for making Despatch :
Among many subjects of importance, none can have a stronger claim to our attention than that of education. It is one of our most sacred duties to be the means, as far as in us lies, of conferring upon the natives of India those vast moral and material blessings which flow from the general diffusion of useful knowledge, and which India may, under Providence, derive from her connexion with England. For although British influence has already in many remarkable instances, been applied with great energy and success to uproot demoralising practices and even crimes of a deeper dye, which for ages had prevailed among the natives of India, ..

(Ref: Education despatch-1854- from -Selections from educational records-II, 1840- 1859, J A Richey )

Aims and Objectives

(1)To impart Western knowledge, information about the western culture to the Indians.
(2) To educate the natives of India so that a class of public servants could be created.
To promote intellectual development and also raise the moral character of the young generation.
(3) To develop practical and vocational skills of the Indians people so that more and more articles could be produced and also to create a good market for consumption of those goods.

Notable recommendations:

Creation of Department of Education: The Wood’s Despatch, for the first time, recommended the creation of a Department of Public Instruction in each of the five provinces of Bengal, Bombay, Madras, the Punjab and the North Western provinces.

Expansion of Mass Education: Emphasis was given on the increase of setting up primary, middle and high schools.

Discarding of the The Downward Filtration Theory : The importance to primary education was stressed. Elementary education was considered to be the foundation of the education system.

Grant - in-aid system: Direct establishment of schools by government to masses was difficult. Grants were given to those schools and colleges which satisfied the conditions such as :
a) The schools must provide secular education.
c) The school should agree to state inspection from time to time

Training of Teachers: - The Wood’s Despatch recommended the establishment of teacher training schools in each of the provinces.
There should be training schools for teachers of engineering, medicine and law.

Establishment of Universities

The Despatch recommended the establishment of universities in the three Presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.
The universities were to be modeled after the London University and these were to have a senate comprising of a Chancellor, a Vice-Chancellor, and fellows who were nominated by the Government.

The Universities would confer degrees to the successful candidates after passing the examinations, (of Science or Arts Streams) conducted by the Senate. The universities were to organize departments not only of English but also of Arabic, Sanskrit and Persian, as well as law and civil engineering.



2. Nurullah and Naik, A students history of education in India

Added to timeline:

11 months ago
History of Education in India during Colonial Times- 1700-1947
Editors: Shivakumar Jolad, Susanna G and Pranjali Kulkarni ...


jul 19, 1854
~ 164 years ago


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