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This session will now take place on the 9 December 2021, 13:00 GMT.

The data available of over 16,000 indigenous vernacular schools in the nineteenth century indicate that a vibrant and thriving system of schools existed in India. These schools taught modern Indian languages and arithmetic and were located in towns and villages. These schools were completely independent of any state support. Several myths have come into existence that these schools were informal in nature, conducted under trees, and gave oral instruction by Brahmin teachers, non-Brahmin and lower caste students had no access to them, and the colonial state destroyed these schools.
This talk will focus on access, curriculum, fee structure, school timings, holidays, and the quality of education in indigenous schools. How the colonial state began to adopt them from the 1840s onwards and how certain policies enabled their continuity while others adversely affected them.

Parimala V. Rao is a historian and teaches History of Education at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and she was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education in London during 2011, 2014. She has written extensively on education in colonial India, and is the author of Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism: Discrimination, Education, and Hindutva (2010, paperback 2011) and Beyond Macaulay: Education in India 1780-1860, Routledge UK, 2020. She has edited New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (2014, paperback 2016). Her latest is Encyclopaedia of Modern Asian Educators (Routledge UK, 2021) edited with Shin’ichi Suzuki, Gary McCulloch, Mingyuan Gu, and Ji-Yeon Hong.


All welcome- this seminar is free to attend but registration is required.