Education in ancient India: Education was given utmost importance even in the ancient period. We do not have any evidence of education during the Indus valley civilisation but however on seeing the layout plan, drainage system it is understood that people were very intelligent.
During the Vedic
civilisation education was done through orally. All the Vedas were first
transmitted orally from one person to another person. It was only in
1300-1500BC Rig Veda was written. In Vedic period medium of instruction was
Sanskrit, while Pali became the medium of instruction in Buddhist education. In
ancient period teaching was considered as a holy work and the teachers were
given utmost respect. Education was taught to a person not only to gain
knowledge but also for his character development, gaining self control and
confidence and understanding the social issues. Hence education was completely
free and none of the administration involved in the education system.
During the Vedic period education to the child commenced at the age of 4. Before a child could start pursuing education, the child’s parents performed a yagna and offering prayers to Goddess Saraswati for the success of his/her education. Ones the boy attained a certain age usually 8 years, Upanayanam or the thread ceremony was performed to him. Later he was sent to his Gurus house to stay for higher education. This system of going and staying in Guru’s house is called as Gurukul. During the ancient times the guru shishya relation was considered as very sacred and important for imparting education. In a gurukula all students were considered on equal par irrespective of their social status. In this system all the students together learnt education in guru’s house and in turn helped guru in his daily household chores. At the end of the education the student offered gurudakshina to the guru before leaving the gurukula. In the gurukula system a student was not only given education but was also made to learn other social life activities which are very essential for life. By the time a student walked out of gurukul he was completely transformed into good character person along with education.
There was no examination in ancient days. Education was a continued process. After each step of learning the guru’s used to conduct Samavartana in front of many other guru’s and public. Curriculum constituted mainly of Vedas during the Vedic period. The student was also made to learn all household activities and some other important training of life skills was taught. There were mainly three steps of instructions in ancient India. Sravana, Manana, Niddhyasana. Sravana is listening to the words uttered by the teacher, Manana is that pupil had to think about the topics taught and Niddhyasana was the reflection of the teachings.
The spread of Buddhism and Jainism took education in ancient India to another level. During the Buddhists period monastaries became the centre for education. During this period education became accessible to all class and castes. Some of the famous universities that came up during the Buddhists period were Takshashila and Nalanda. The education in ancient India not only focused on learning Vedas but also focused more on over all development of the child. It helped in the growth of Indian civilization.