The Menlo Roundtable

History of Education in India

According to the 2011 census, 41% of the population of India is currently under the age of 19. This enormous concentration of young people—if they can access education—is India’s key to revitalizing economic growth and unlocking prosperity.

To reinvigorate and redirect themselves toward this transition, the Indian government of 2022 should look back into its history at the newly-independent, optimistic IPC of 1951 for two reasons. First, contemporary India should be inspired by the 1951 Commission’s ambition because the two governments have identical needs—a skilled workforce to bolster the economy and an informed democracy—and challenges—an enormous, heavily-stratified population, a large rural class, and damage from exploitative and corrupt entities. Second, and most importantly, contemporary India should examine the 1951 Commission because the errors and ignorances that marred the success of the first plan five-year plan can now inform a successful educational expansion in 2022. India is at a pivotal moment, and it must listen to the lessons of its history to finally complete what the 1951 IPC had begun.

Photo: Courtesy of SuSanA Secretariat, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons