Introduction

India had been a land of wonders for many foreigners and travellers from time immemorial. The Indian culture and practices encouraged humanity.

Salient Features of Ancient Education System

It stressed the overall development of an individual from the inside as well as outside. It focused on truth, humility, and respect for all the creations. It encompassed all aspects of life. It was complementary to life.

Sources of Education

Vedas, Brahmanas, Upanishads and Dharmasutras were its sources. Some notable ancient scholars were Aryabhata, Panini, and Katyayana. There was a clear line between Shastras and Kavyas. 

History, Logic, Interpretation, Architecture, Polity, etc., were various subjects of the ancient education system. Universities also organized games, and modern-day peer working was also present. Teachers and pupils worked in close association. Universities also organized debates to test the knowledge of pupils.

Ancient Education System in India – A Way of Life

India had both formal and informal systems of education. Temples also took an interest in imparting quality ancient education. There were viharas and universities for higher studies. Residential places of learning were known as Gurukuls.

The main function of learning was to lead a well-defined and disciplined life. The living together of gurus and shishyas strengthened their relationship. The studies of both inner and outer personalities enriched the inner dimension of their personality.

Monks and nuns used to meditate in monasteries/viharas. This ancient system attracted people from China, Korea, Tibet, Burma, Ceylon, Java, Nepal, etc.

Viharas and Universities

According to the Jataka tales given by Xuan Zang and I-Qing, kings used to take a special interest in education. Some of the most famous universities, such as Nalanda and Vikramshila, came into existence due to the King’s contribution. The centers of learning catered to the needs of higher education students, which in turn developed their knowledge by discussion. Some occasions can be compared with modern-day conferences in which many scholars from different universities or viharas took part.

Takshashila or Taxila

This was a noted center of learning, including Buddhism. It was destroyed in the 5th century CE. It was known for higher education. Panini was a notable alumnus of this university. He authored Ashtadhyayi, one of the most famous works in grammar. Students visited this university from remote places of the country despite arduous journey. This university had now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Teachers were wholly responsible for designing the syllabi and rendering someone eligible for further studies. Higher-level students assisted them.

Nalanda University

This university was the hub of various subjects. Chinese scholars I-Qing and Xuan Zang visited here in the 7th century CE. Many debates were organized in Nalanda university in one day. Xuan Zang was also a student of Nalanda University. The courses offered in this university covered the entire spectrum of knowledge. Nalanda University was located in Bihar and was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Role of Community

Education was free of charge, and donations came in from rich merchants who promoted education. In south India, agraharas were the centers of education. Ghatika, a small size center of learning religion, was also present.

Continuation of Indian Education System

Maktabas and madrassas became an innate part of school education in the medieval era. Villagers also supported the schools. The foundation of education was laid down in rich cultural traditions, thereby developing the human being as a whole. The present education system must learn a lot from the ancient system of education.