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India marks National Education Day on November 11 to memorialize the birthday of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Minister for Education in India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s exemplary contributions to the field of education and institution building paved the way for the country’s modern system. Reputed as the main architect of education, he served as India’s first Vice President as well as the first education Minister from 1947 to 1958. Now, all educational institutions in the country mark the day with seminars, essay-writing, workshops and rallies with slogans on the importance of literacy and India’s commitment to education.
History of National Education Day
In September of 2008, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development declared the birthday of ‘the great son of India’ — Maulana Abul Kalam Azad — to be nationally recognized as Education Day. The day is also seen as an occasion to remember Abul Kalam’s contribution in laying the foundations of the education system in an independent India and evaluating and improving the country’s current performance in the field.
After its independence in 1947, India struggled to completely revamp and stabilize its institutions and sectors. Recognizing that education would be crucial for nation-building, the leaders of the country shifted their focus towards education. Abul Kalam, in particular, served as the flag bearer for this cause. Speaking in 1948 at All India Education, he highlighted the importance of this birthright of every person to receive basic education necessary for their well being, without foregoing their duties as a citizen.
As a freedom fighter and academician, Abul Kalam was the best fit for the role of Education Minister for independent India. Illiteracy was a major hurdle for the development of the country, which had already struggled and suffered through years of exploitation prior to it gaining status as a separate nation.
Understanding the integral role played by a healthy education system for the development of the country, as Chairman of the Central Advisory Board of Education, Maulana Abul Kalam was the driving force towards the eradication of illiteracy. He emphasised heavily on elementary education and propagated the expansion of secondary education, especially for girls.
But perhaps his largest contribution is the Indian Institutes of Technology. Under his leadership, the first IIT was inaugurated in 1951. Abul Kalam truly believed in the potential of establishing IITs for the progression of research and technological advancement in India. True enough, today IITs have created a niche for themselves. Whether nationally or internationally, IITs are looked as epitome of educational excellence. It is hence befitting to honour the memory of the man behind India’s educational might by celebrating his birthday as National Education Day every year.
National Education Day timeline
Established Indian Institutes of Technology, revolutionizing India’s education and technology sectors
Abul Kalam is elected as independent India’s first Education Minister
Abul Kalam starts a weekly publication titled ‘Al-Hilal’ to challenge British government policies
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was born, sharing his birthday until this day with National Education Day in India.
National Education Day FAQs
Who is the first Indian education minister?
The first Education Minister of India was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
How did the need for national education arise in India?
Following its partition from being a Subcontinent to an independent entity, the need for education in India was prevalent from the get-go. Under the leadership of dedicated leaders championing for education and its spread among people, the sector thrived.
What is the contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad?
The first education minister of Independent India, Maulana Abul Kalam strongly advocated education for women and free and compulsory primary education for children up to the age of 14. He also contributed to the establishment of educational institutes like Jamia Millia Islamia and IIT Kharagpur.
How To Celebrate National Education Day
Participate in a competition
There are countless essay writing, debates, and other competitions on this day in schools and universities across India. Participate or help prepare a student you may know to encourage and advocate the importance of education.
Visit a heritage site
Countless buildings, monuments and centres are set up for the cause of education. Take a trip to a campus or research facility. It will be a learning experience like no other!
Illiteracy is still a big problem in modern India. Fortunately, there are a number of organisations doing great work towards this cause. Donate and do your part in the elimination of illiteracy.
5 Interesting Facts About Education In India
With the second-largest population in the world, it’s not surprising that India has the second-largest school system in the world, after China.
Free education for minors
A Right to Education Act makes education compulsory and free for children aged between 6 and 14 in India
The pen is mightier than the sword
India states its vast education system as the primary contributors towards its fast-growing economy, increasing the budget for it by 80% in recent years.
Going the distance
Despite limitations, many children in rural India dedicatedly travel far to attend school.
Dedication to education
1 in 40 schools in India are in open spaces or based in tents.
Why We Love National Education Day
Education is a fundamental human right
Among the necessities of life, it is important for each human being to be equipped with a minimum education, which is integral for paving out a successful path in every domain of life. We are all for it!
With child labor and early marriages a continuing issue in some parts of India, a dedicated education day helps in spreading awareness on the importance of education, especially for girls.
Learning is fun!
We all know that it is easy to take education for granted, especially when students are bogged with homework and assignments! With the colourful activities and competitions, the learning spirit is really enhanced on this day.
National Education Day dates