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  • Volume 2015

    Impact of Colonial Rule on Todays Educational System of Pakistan
    (International Journal of Business, Economics and Management Works)

    Vol. 2, Issue. 9, PP. 51-58, Sept. 2015
    Keywords: Colonial, Rule, Educational System, Pakistan.

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    The British ruledIndia for more than 150 years. They came as separate entity with different religion, language, culture, style of politics and economic system. They colonize India for financial benefits. They institutionalized the systems more efficiently. Their focus was more on to facilitate their own rule than to work for the social welfare of the natives. They came to India as traders, however within short span of time they realized the weaknesses in then system of governance and planned to capture India. Local segments joined them to weakening the cohesive forces and asthey succeeded in capturing Indian lands bit by bit and weakening the existingsystem, ultimately capturing Indian sub content in 1857. They built their own kind of education system. The aim was to produce work force which follow the mindset of the rulers without causing any problems. They philosophy behind the system was to educate the people in such a way to think like rulers and oppress their own countrymen. In the beginning they adopted the language and culture of India and their tone was liberal and neutral but as they got dominating force they became harder in promulgating their systems. In 1835 English was made the mediumof instruction and whole of the education system was handed over to the missionaries. It is a general perception that educational system of Pakistan is still under the influence the colonial mind set.This system does not give the sense of independence as the educated people try to enslave their own countrymen. This system teaches to hate fellow beings. This study aims at to see the impact of colonial rule on today’s educational system of Pakistan.


    Abdul Qayyum : PhD Scholar at AIOU, Islamabad-Pakistan.

    AtifSaleem: MSc (Post-Graduate) Scholar, UMT, Lahore-Pakistan.

    KhurramShezad: M.Phil Scholar at UOG,Gujrat.

    Full Text

    Education is an act or experience that has formative effect on the mind, character and physical ability of a person [8]. In Pakistan education was to have formative effect on the mind, character and physical ability of the inhabitants. But unfortunately it could not happen. The policy makers diverted from the two nation theory. In the two nation theory, the main idea was that the Muslims have distinct culture, language, religion, education system and law [2]. In every policy the set goals and objectives were not achieved. In place of the goals of the foreign imperialism were imposed. English as a foreign language was given more importance then the mother tongue and national language. Instead of creating nation hood a class system was created and that status quo never let the nationhood prevail. Colonial rule prevailed in one or the other form. This study will explore the education system of the colonial masters and it impacts on our education system.

    A. Background
    India has a troubled history. Whoever had courage invaded it and ruled it until came the next power. In the known history first came Alexander the great, then came the Muslims, then came the English along the Sikhs for a short period of forty years. The East India Company was a phenomenon which started as business and ended as capturing of owner ship of India. The company spread itself slowly and steadily. They started as traders. They did everything hook or by crook to find financial benefits. In the beginning they did not behave like separate entity. East India Company was established on 31 December, 1600. They got permission from the court of Mughal emperor Jhangir in 1617 to establish business in Calicut. Their business competitors were Portuguese. With the passage of time they threw out the Portuguese and became the dominant traders. They adopted local languages, culture, sometimes religion (change their name to get business benefits from the local rulers) and married local women [12]. Initiallytheynever claimed to be aseparate entity except a trading partner. As they got more space they got more right and more power. They started as traders mercenaries for the local rulers. They supported one ruler against the other squeezed money from both the parties. In this way they weaken the local rulers and spread their activities and become a force by war of Plays (1757). They defeated the Nawab of Uwad and Mughal umpire Shah Alam. In the return they got rights of collection of revenue of Bengal [12].
    They had nothing to do with the Indians or their development. Their aim was to get as much money as they could. Their concern for education was only up to the internal condition preventing in the company. In the beginning priest accompanied them for the religion needs of the company employs. When they got foot hold as missionaries, they started campaign to spread Christianity. The company sent out chaplains in India primarily to look after the spiritual welfare of the Christian employs and their families and impudently spread the Gospels among the Indian people [12].

    More over in 1659 the company shared its desire to spread Christianity among the Indians but soon it come to its track and adopted the neutrality policy as religion matter irritate the locals. In this way the company could stabilize its rule in India without being called upon to face any serious opposition from the masses. So the company had nothing to do with spread of education as education was dominated by religion and they don’t want to spread both financial and political gains [2].
    B. Charity Schools
    Education was not purpose of the East India Company. They only believed in business. The charter of 1698 directed the company to maintain the ministers of the religion at their factories in India and to take a chaplain in every ship of 500 tons or more. The ministers were required to learn Portuguese which was commonly understood by inferior servants at the factories. So the policy was adopted to learn the native language [6].
    The company encourages the establishment of schools at principal towns within its territories. The first regular activity was establishment of St. Mary’s charity school in 1715. In 1781, Warren Hastings the first Governor General of India founded Madrassah in 1781 in Calcutta for the cultivation of Arabic and Persian studies to help the English judges to understand Muslim and Hindu laws [10].
    C. Educational Policy of Lord Minto
    The first systematic Educational plan wasMinto a minute. He defined educational policy as,
    • One lac of rupees each year shall be set apart for the revival of improvement of literature.
    • Encouragement of the learned natives of India.
    • Introduction and promotion of a knowledge of sciences among the inhabitants of India.
    It was urged to promote Indian education. One party, whose view is typified in that of CharlesGrant, believed that the best education for Indianswas to teachthose English and the principles of Christian’s religions and argued that the work should be left entirely to the missionaries. On the other hand Minto, believed that the best education for Indians was that of their own classics and argued that the company itself should give liberal encouragement. Stressed was laid on religious neutrality.
    But that neutrality did not remain for a long period of time and the missionaries were given free hand to promote the Christianity. In this fight ultimately Grant won and missionaries began to land in India in large numbers and establish English schools, thereby laying the foundation of the modern educational system. In the following years to come this charter became the give rise to three schools of thoughts [7].
    • The first school consisted of the older officials like Hastings and Minto who believe the Indians must be educated thing Arabic and Sanskrit- Western knowledge.
    • Second school of thought was Menro who encouraged the Indians in Modern Indian languages.
    • Third school of thought presents the wisdom of grunths advice and advocated the spread of Western knowledge through medium of English.
    D. Educational policy of Macaulay
    Educational activities took rhythm in 1823, when Governor-General of India granted one lakh of rupees for education. That committee consisted of 10(ten) European members of which Lord Macaulay were the president. The committee decided to spend major portions from the grant for the improvement of oriental literature.
    As the power of Mughal emperor in Delhi weekend, there was a rapid change in attitude towards the importance of English education, mainly due to the English intervention in state affairs, free move moment of the missionaries and the political influence of the English language. Therefore, for the Council of East India Company, the decision for granting the money faced a greater problem. However the Court of Director of the East India Company was in favor of English education. It was very difficult for the East India Company to decide the medium of instruction by vote; because out of ten members, five were supporters of English language or Anglicism as the medium of instruction and the rest were supporters of oriental or classic language or Classicists as a medium of instruction. This is the famous Anglicism and Classicists controversy. The Indian of the orientlists’ literature was not willing to accept European knowledge and science unless it was presented to them through the classical languages. Actually, the oriental party wanted to preserve the oriental learning from existing educational institutions while the other group of anglicist party wanted to abolish the preservation of the oriental education.
    Macaulay promoted that their education policy would enable the emergence of a class of people in the Indian society, who would be well versed in English language, western ideology, taste and opinion. This class would serve as a medium of contact with the great mass of Indian people who were culturally different from the English. This class would also be the agents of change of the great Indian society.
    Macaulay’s opined that the public mind of India may expand under the English system and through the English language; it may educate the people into a capacity for better government. In his minute, he immensely urged that ”We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern-a class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellects.” Thus, from this minute, he anglicized the education in India as a whole so as to get benefits in their business policy. The Government of the East India Company wanted to educate some great Indians for profits in their business through the Downward Filtration Theory. The English, to expand their rule to the grass root level, started education from the primary level. The established their own education system parallel to the Muslim Madrassah system. They made their style of education compulsory for the government jobs. In the beginning education was provided to a small portion of the people, and through them, education was conveyed to the masses.
    Education was imparted to some favorable persons as they liked to engage them in their business policy. In his minute, Macaulay criticized the oriental learning as “a single shelf of good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabic”. Macaulay believed that English should be introduced because it is a language of the ruling class and also the familiarity has been gained by higher classes of Indians [12].
    Macaulay’s contribution was appreciated as the torch bearer in the path of progress by some people of the higher classes in India and the Company. In fact it was the successful step towards colonizing of India. He was the mind behind promoting the English language and severe condemnation of oriental literature and religion. He was not to be the torch bearer to create the desire for English education. Macaulay was also blamed by some Indians for his. Thus, in lieu of the British rule over India. Lord Macaulay’s Minute was accepted by Lord Bentinck, the Governor General of India and passed the resolution to accept the English language as a medium of instruction for the Indian education system.
    E. Wood’s Educational policy 1854
    British parliament could not make it separate from the Indian affairs and intervened. It increased the sum of money to one million yearly from the one lakh in 1813 to be sent on education in India. When the time for renewal came in 1853, education in India had come to suffer numerous problems. The directors of the company decided to lay down a definite policy for education in India. Therefore, it became necessary to make a comprehensive survey of the entire field of education. In his dispatch he wrote:
    The Dispatch first throws light on the aims and objectives of educational policy of the Company in India. It gave highest priority to the responsibility of Indian Education overall other responsibilities of the Company. The Dispatch had the following objectives in view:
    • To impart Western knowledge, information about the western culture to the Indians.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Education: The Wood’s Dispatch, 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. The head of the Department would be called the Director and he was to be assisted by a number of inspectors. The D.P.T. had to submit an annual report to the government about the educational progress in his province.
    Education for Masses: Another major recommendation of the Dispatch was expansion of mass education. It was observed that the common people were deprived of educational opportunities and therefore much emphasis was given on the increase of setting up primary, middle and high schools. The DowaywardFiltration Theory as proposed earlier was discarded and in its place importance to primary education was given. Elementary education was considered to be the foundation of the education system.
    Establishment of Universities: The Dispatch 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.
    Grant system: The Wood’s educational policy sanction of a grant system in the Indian educational system. To educate the large number of people of India was a difficult task and so the grant-in-aid system was adopted by the government. Grants were given to those schools and colleges which satisfied the conditions given below:-
    • The schools must provide secular education.
    • The school management should run the school well.
    • The school should agree to state inspection from time to time.
    • The schools should follow any rule prescribed by the government for the regulation of the grant.
    • The school must charge fees from the students.
    Grants were given to the schools for increasing the salaries of the teachers, construction of school buildings, granting scholarships to students, improving conditions of literacies, opening of science department etc.
    F. Hunter’s educational policy 1882
    The administration of India by East India Company came to an end in 1857. As a result of the first struggle for independence by Indians in 1857, the power of administration was transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown. The Queen’s proclamation of 1858 advocated a policy of strict religious neutrality. It was because of the Government policy of religious neutrality the missionaries were greatly disappointed. After the transfer of administrative power from the East India Company, it was considered necessary to assess the development of education in the country. It was felt that the grant -in-aid system as suggested by Wood’s Dispatch was not properly carried out. Because of all these reasons, the missionaries started an agitation and formed an organization in London which was known as the “General Council of Education in India”. When Lord Ripon was appointed the viceroy of India, a deputation of the General Council of Education requested him to institute an enquiry into Indian Education [5]. The commission was appointed with the following aims:

    • To enquire into the manner in which effect had been given to the principles of the Dispatch of 1854.
    • To assess the position of primary education in India and to suggest measures for its reform.
    • To enquire into the position of the State institutions and their importance.
    • To evaluate the work of missionaries in the field of education.
    • To enquire into Government attitude towards private enterprise.
    Accordingly the Commission made valuable recommendations for the development of primary education. The recommendations can be discussed under below heads:
    I. Policy:
    • Primary education should be regarded as the instruction of the masses.
    • It should be closely related to the practical aspect of the life of the masses.
    • Primary education should be imparted through the medium of mother tongue.
    • The Government should extend more patronage to primary education than before.
    • In selecting persons for appointment to the government post of a lower order, preference should be given to the candidates who can read and write.
    • Primary education in backward districts, especially in those areas inhabited by aboriginal races, to be extended by the Department of The control of primary education should be handed over to District and Municipal Boards.
    • The local boards should deal with the whole system for primary education as regards to finance, management, expansion and inspection of primary education of the particular local area.
    • Transfer of all government primary schools to the local boards was considered necessary.
    II. Establishment of Native of Schools
    Indigenous schools need encouragement for their improvement. Efforts should be made to encourage these schools.

    • The Commission held the view that the Districts and Municipal Boards consisting of Indians would be more sympathetic to the indigenous schools than the Education Department and recommended that the work of assisting indigenous schools should be assigned to them.
    • The Commission recommended that a system of “Payment by Results” should be adopted in dealing with indigenous schools.
    • The same standard of examination should not be maintained throughout the whole state.
    III. School Management:
    Regarding the management of the schools the Commission recommended.
    • School houses and furniture should be simple.
    • The managers should be free to choose the text books for their schools.
    • School hours and holidays should be adjusted according to local needs.
    • Instruction in primary schools should be simplified. Practical subjects like native methods of arithmetic, accounts and mensuration, elements of natural and physical sciences, agriculture, health should be introduced.
    • Various native games and exercises should be introduced for physical development of the students.
    • Night schools should be established wherever necessary.
    IV. Teachers’ Training:
    • Normal schools should be established for the training of primary school teachers.
    • There should be at least one Normal School in each division.
    • The cost of Normal schools should be met from provincial fund.
    V. Financial support:
    • Every District and Municipal Board should maintain a separate Fund for primary education.
    • The Provincial Government should grant one third of the total expenditure to the local bodies.
    • The cost of maintaining, aiding and repairing of primary schools should be met from local fund.
    VI. Medium of instruction:
    This problem has always been a big question. Since the company started its educational activities in IndiaMedium of instruction was the major question. Warren Hasting, the first governor general of India, strongly believed that natives of India must be taught in SnsikratArabic [7]. Charles Grant regarding the utility and importance of English wrote:
    • Teaching of English Language: The Wood’s Dispatch gave importance to teaching of English, but at the same time, it also stressed on the teaching of Indian languages. The dispatch realized that any acquaintance of European knowledge could be communicated to the common people and that could be conveyed to them only through learning their own mother tongue. Therefore the Dispatch clearly stated that Indian languages as well as English should be used as media of instruction [3].
    • Education for Women: It was appreciated that the British urged the education for women. The Dispatch recommended that the government should always support education for women. The wood’s Dispatch stated, “The importance of female education in India cannot be over rated; and we have observed with pleasure the evidence which is now afforded of an increased desire on the part of many of the natives of India to give a good education to their daughters. By this means a far greater proportional impulse is imparted to the educational and moral tone of the people than by the education of men”. The Dispatch also encouraged the private enterprises to promote women education. The schools for girls were to be included among those to which grants-in-aid would be given [11].
    • Training of Teachers:- The Wood’s Dispatch recommended the establishment of teacher training schools in each of the provinces. There should be training schools for teachers of engineering, medicine and law. The qualified teachers should be given better pay scales. The Dispatch further emphasized on the provision of scholarships to the teachers during their training period [11].
    • Education for Professional traits: The Wood’s Dispatch encouraged professional education. Itrecommended the establishment of medical, engineering law and other institutes of professional education. The Dispatch stated that in order to develop vocational efficiency of people and also to make people realize that the British rule was progressive. Another reason for the encouragement of vocational education was to control the problem of unemployment.
    • Introduction of Graded Schools: A network of graded schools all over the country was introduced. At one end were the universities and the colleges, then the high schools followed by the middle schools and the bottom of the middle schools and at the bottom of the network were the primary schools, both government and indigenous. Both the Anglo-vernacular and vernacular schools were to be included in the same class. This system was recommended in order to enable an individual to receive higher education after completing the different levels of schools education [13].
    Due to Curzon’s policy of shrinkage and control of higher education received widespread criticism among the nationalist Indians. After the establishment Allahabad University in 1887 no new universities were opened for the next thirty years, but the number of the Colleges increased. At the time of the Government of India Resolution in 1913 there were only five universities in India and the number of colleges was beyond the control of the various universities within their territorial limits. As a result different administrative problems piled up in that period. Sir AsutoshMukherjiwas the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University. He started imparting post-graduate education in the university in 1916 as recommended by the University Education Commission of 1902. This has attracted the attention of the Government. By this time the London University was reorganized and reformed as per recommendations of the Royal Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Halden. Therefore it became a necessity to reform the Indian Universities also. All these circumstances led to the formation of the second university commission I.e. Calcutta University Commission, 1917 introduced the following reforms [4].
    A. Reforms
    • The duration of degree course should be three years after intermediate stage.
    • Honors courses as distinct from pass course, should be opened in the universities.
    • Provisions should be made for imparting instructions in Arts, Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Commerce and Medicine.
    • Women should be given training in medicine and teachers’ training.
    B. Teachers’ Training
    • Applied Science and other allied subjects should be included in the university courses and proper arrangement should be made for their teaching.
    • Vocational education should be started at the Intermediate stage. This measure would facilitate the beginning of vocational education at the university stage.
    • The medium of instruction at the university level should be English.
    • For the sake of better student teacher relationship seminar and tutorial classes may be held.
    • Department of Education should be started and education should be taught as a discipline in MA, BA and Intermediate Course.
    • A Director of Physical Training should be appointed for paying greater attention to the health and physical welfare of students.
    • A Board of Students’ Welfare should also be appointed in each university to look after their wellbeing.
    • The Commission recommended that oriental studies should be cultivated in the university.
    • Muslims should be provided special educational facilities in order that their backwardness may be removed.
    C. Teachers’ Training
    • The commission rightly realized necessity of teachers’ training without which it is not possible to improve the standard of secondary education. The commission recommended the following
    • The number of trained teachers should be increased without any delay.
    • Education should be taught as an independent subject in both intermediate and in BA Classes.
    • Department of education should be created in Calcutta and Dacca universities for teaching education as an independent subject.
    D. Education for Women
    • For encouraging women education the commission gave the following suggestions :
    • The Government should start Purdah schools for those girls whose parents have a desire to educate their daughters up to the age of 15 or 16.
    • Co-education should be encouraged in those places where there were no separate institutions a special Board of Women’s Education should be established in the Calcutta University and a special curriculum should be provided according to the educational needs of women [9].
    • Professional and vocational courses should be introduced in the universities.
    In words, all the British education policies were excellent but the intentions behindit were to suppress and prolong their rule. They created a mindset which was to promote their master. They promoted the type of education that created hate for the fellow beings and to consider the government job holders superior to the rest.
    E. Education in Modern Indian Languages
    The Calcutta University commission laid special emphasis on the development of modern Indian languages and on the study of vernacular at different stages of education. In the opinion of the commission systematic effort must be made to promote the serious study of the vernaculars in secondary schools, intermediate colleges and in the university [1].
    F. The Hartog report-1929
    In the second decade of 20th the British Empire has to fight for her imperial integrity in the form of First World War in 1914. The outbreak of the war had brought about significant changes in the British policy of administration in india.
    After describing the defects of primary education Hartog committee condemned the policy of its hasty expansion and recommended concentration on consolidation and qualitative improvement. Its main recommendations were:-

    • The locality should be carefully studied while making education compulsory
    • Policy of consolidation should be adopted and haphazard expansion should be dropped. Qualitative development
    • The time table of the schools should be drawn up in accordance with the environment and the circumstances of the schools
    • Standard of the primary teachers should be improved. Training institutions should have better equipment and efficient staff. Refresher courses should also be arranged from time to time. Salary conditions of the service should be made attractive.
    • Special attention should be given to the lowest class in primary schools and determined effort should be made to reduce the large extent of stagnation and wastage that prevail therein.
    • The inspecting staff of the Government should be considerably strengthened both in quality and quantity.
    • Primary schools should serve as centers for rural uplift works, medical relief, adult education, mass literacy, sanitation, recreation etc.
    • The Hartog committee opined that primary education should be a national concern and imperial Government should not entirely withdraw from the field of educational finance. It should provide necessary funds to meet financial deficiencies in the interest of India as a whole.

    Soon after the inception of Pakistan first National Education Conferencewas convened in 1947 by the foundering father, Quaid-i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself. Conference made three basic recommendations:
    These changes had made long standing impact on both political and educational scenario of our country. It is necessary for us to know what these changes were and how they influenced the political and educational aspects of the country. After the restlessness created in the result of division of Ottoman Empire the British thought to revise its education policy in India and appointed the Hartog Committee in 1929 alongwith its recommendations on Primary, Secondary, Higher and other aspects of education. We will conclude with an assessment and evaluation of the recommendations of the committee and its result [10].

    • Primary education should be made compulsory, but there should be no hurry about it. Environment and circumstances of should be made instead of increasing the number of primary schools.
    • The minimum duration of the primary course should be of four years.
    • The curriculum of primary schools should be liberalized. It should be based on the needs and conditions of village life.
    • Education should be inspired by Islamic teachings.
    • Free and compulsory education in Pakistan
    • Emphasis on technical education.
    Unfortunately, the first objective could never be achieved as the successive government borrowed hectic amounts to raise funds. The donors tried to implement their own wishes. Despite winning freedom we could never get freed. Second objective to some extent achieved up to matric level but the third objective could never be achieved due non serious ness of the policy makers. We could never make our own constitution for nine years.In 1959, commission on national education revised almost all the previousclaims which meant:
    • Compulsory primary education for all.
    • Urdu as national language.
    • Vocational educational
    • Islamic education
    • Establishment of university grants commission.
    It was merely a lip service. Sometimes objectives were physically but in spirit they were never achieved. The education system never changed the mindset of the people. Educational institutions imparted education just for information and not formation.Culture of absolute power by enlarge has proved prohibited for the growth of political institutions and furthermore this resulted in dis continuous policies and plans and lack of pasteurization of the work of government by the incoming government and social development of the masses. The plans and policies address the growth of those educational sectors and subsectors which are meant for the children of the elites. An education policy advocated to the extent that need of a leadership group cannot be catered through common colleges and thus emphasis the establishment cadet colleges throughout the country.
    • According to an estimate the cost of a cadet college is twenty times higher than an ordinary school. It nevertheless downplays the question of education of the masses. The common primary and high schools and vocational school were and still are for the children of someone else [14].
    • The education policy following so-called socialistic references nationalized all the private institutions. This again hampered the participation of private sector on the one hand and on the on the other added to management problems. The policies, which followed adopted to denationalize the institutions.
    • Every government tried to impose its own agenda regardless of the national interest under the pressure of funder raiser. In educational policy of 2009 it was recommended to achieve 88% enrolment at the primary level in the next five years but economic survey shows that only 58% enrolment could be achieved (Economic survey of Pakistan, 2015).

    In short, from the above analysis this shows the despite freedom from Hindus and the English we as a nation could never get rid of colonialism. The developed countries never let us alone to implement our own needs. Ruling classes never tried to through away the chains of slavery. They always fulfill their own interest even on the loss of half of the country. We suffer from the duel neo-colonialism; industrial imperialism of the west and cultural imperialism of Hindus and the west. Education system is of no exception. This system suffered the most. After 68 years of independence our education could not inculcate the sense of nationalism. It is still under the influence of colonialism.


    Abdul Qayyum, Atif Saleem, Khurram Shezad, "Impact of Colonial Rule on Today's Educational System of Pakistan" International Journal of Business, Economics and Management Works, Vol. 2, Issue. 9, PP. 51-58, Sept. 2015.


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