Thursday, August 20, 2020



Sir Charles Wood, the President of the Board of Control, had an important effect on spreading English learning and female education in India. When in 1854 he sent a dispatch to Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor-General of India, Wood suggested that primary schools must adopt vernacular languages, high schools must adopt Anglo-vernacular language and at college-level English should be the medium of education. This is known as Wood's despatch. Vocational and women's education were also stressed upon.

One of the most favourable steps taken was to create an English class among Indian people to be used as workforce in the company's administration.

The British had initiated the best developmental activities during this phase as it was the final phase where the British brought social reforms. After this period their policies tended to become reactionary.

  • Wood's Dispatch is called Magna Carta of English Education in India.
  • It came in July 1854, when Sir Charles Wood was the President of the Board of Control


He recommended there in that:

  1. English education will enhance the moral character of Indians and thus supply EIC with civil servants who can be trusted.
  2. An education department was to be set up in every province.
  3. Universities on the model of the London university be established in big cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.
  4. At least one government school be opened in every district.
  5. Affiliated private schools should be given grant in aid.
  6. The Indian natives should be given training in their mother tongue also.
  7. Provision was made for a systematic method of education from primary level to the university level.
  8. The government should support education for women.
  9. The medium of instruction at the primary level was to be vernacular while at the higher levels it would be English.
  10. Promotion and stress on teachers’ training at all levels.

Measures taken after the despatch

After Wood's despatch, several measures were taken by East India Company

  1. Setting up new institutions like the University of Calcutta, the University of Bombay and the University of Madras in 1857 as well as the University of the Punjab in 1882 and the University of Allahabad in 1887
  2. In all provinces, education departments were set up.
  3. Promotion of English education

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