Woods Despatch (1854): Educational Development Under British



Charles Wood wrote a letter outlining a possible educational system for India. This paper, dubbed the "Magna Carta of English Education in India," served as India's first elaborate strategy for the expansion of education. Charles Wood was a Liberal Party supporter and British parliamentarian. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852. Later, he was chosen to lead the Board of Control of the East India Company. In 1854, he delivered the "Wood's despatch" to Lord Dalhousie, the governor-general. 
Woods Despatch (1854): Educational Development Under British

Features In Wood's Despatch

•    The Board of Control's President, Sir Charles Wood, had a significant role in India's adoption of English language instruction and female education.
•    He sent a letter to Lord Dalhousie, who was India's Governor-General at the time, in 1854.
•    Woods advocated for the use of vernacular languages in elementary schools, Anglo-vernacular languages in high schools, and English for college students.
•    The Despatch outlines the goals and objectives of the Company's educational programme in India in the first place.
•    It gave Indian education a higher priority than any other task the corporation had to complete.

Wood's Despatch: Objective

•    To educate Indians on Western culture and to share knowledge of the West.
•    Indian indigenous should receive education in order to produce a class of public officials.
•    To promote the moral development of the next generation while simultaneously fostering intellectual growth.
•    Enhancing Indians' practical and vocational abilities in order to increase production of commodities and develop a healthy market for their consumption.

Recommendations For Wood's Despatch

•    For the first time, Wood's Despatch suggested that each of Bengal's five provinces Bombay, Madras, Punjab, and the North-Western provinces create a Department of Public Instruction.
•    Another important recommendation made by the Despatch was to increase public education.
•    Many efforts were made to increase the number of elementary, middle, and high schools once it was recognized that the common people lacked educational possibilities.
•    The Despatch advocated for the creation of universities in the three Presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. The University of London was to serve as the inspiration for the universities.
•    The universities planned to develop departments of law, civil engineering, Arabic, Sanskrit, and Persian.
•    Indian education needed a grant-in-aid structure, according to Wood's Despatch.
•    The Wood's Despatch emphasized the value of educating Indian languages with the value of teaching English.
•    The Despatch advocated for continued government support of women's education.
•    The Wood's Despatch suggested opening teacher training programs in every province. Teachers in special schools should have training in engineering, medicine, and law.
•    The Wood's Despatch promoted the creation of a network of graded schools across the country.
Woods Despatch (1854): Educational Development Under British

Impact of Wood's Dispatches

The following things happened after Charles Wood's dispatch:
•    The universities at Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta were founded in 1857.
•    In every province, education departments were established.
•    J.E.D. Bethune started Bethune School to provide education for women.
•    Both an engineering institute in Roorkee and an agricultural institute in Pusa, Bihar, were founded.
•    With European headmasters and principals in schools and colleges, British India's educational system quickly underwent a Westernization process.
•    Private Indian educator’s existed.


Modern education in India was brought to a whole new level by Wood's Despatch. This despatch, which was addressed to the then-Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, provided recommendations for the British government on how to treat education in British India seriously and for the Indians' benefit.

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