Ancient education in India was based on lifelong study of theology and philosophy. And one of the most visionary elements of our current system comes from the ancient Vedic age. Till date, the Gurukul tradition is remembered for its superior features and excellent educational standards, wherein, education was imparted through gurus/scholars or sages. Students were taught the way of life through the teaching of the Vedas.

And they lived away from their families throughout the duration of their formal education. From ancient times to the pre and post-independence era there has been a tremendous change in the education system. Today, with the innovative alternatives like virtual schools, the schooling system has been revamped.

This article will cover all these essential elements to explain modern education system in India. Let’s explore more about the features of our modern and ancient education system along with innovative advantages of online education. 

What are the Main Features of Traditional Education System of Ancient India?

 Traditional Education System

India’s conventional education system was more about the inculcation of values. It aimed at the development of one’s personality through the knowledge of topics that were relevant in practical life. Even in the modern era, many stakeholders believe in incorporating the values of ancient Indian education within the present system. Because the features of our conventional system are impeccable to promote discipline. And shape the lives of students with cultural understanding.  

Another striking feature of this system was the emphasis on the individual’s social development. There was a lot of importance attached to the transmission of knowledge (including traditions, beliefs, and religion, etc.)

The biggest drawback of this education was the discrimination basis of the castes or the segregated communities within the society. Education was a privilege that was meant to serve only the higher caste people.

What is the Importance of Traditional Education in Ancient India?

Despite the drawbacks of limiting access to education for the upper sections of society, the importance of traditional education cannot be undermined.

The best part about the traditional education system was the focus on leading a disciplined life. Students were taught the dignity of labor. And the development of morality (ethics) helped them to be productive members of society. Value inculcation, character building, and ethics were the focus areas.

The traditional education system is often applauded for its stupendous quality. But it also had some challenges.

Challenges Faced by Traditional Education System in Independent India

The greatest challenge of the traditional education, system was the limited scope of exposure. The masses were deprived of availing the benefit of formal education. And students who had access studied in a highly controlled environment. There was hardly any flexibility in the teaching and learning process. And the structure remained rigid (unlike modern education in India which offers alternatives like online schools) for all students with varied learning needs.

Moving on, let’s now scrutinize the aspects of the modern education system.  

How Does the Modern Education differ from Traditional Education?

The modern education system in India post-independence era has evolved with an all-encompassing approach. And the aim of modern education in India is to provide equal educational opportunities to the masses. With the implementation of the RTE in 2009, education became a right for all children between the age groups of 6 to 14 years. This inclusiveness and accessibility of the modern education system makes a common space for all students despite any background, caste, creed, or financial status.

The greatest difference between the traditional and modern education systems is their scope. There has been a remarkable improvement in gross enrollment rates because of the universalization of education in modern times. The chart below shows the enrollment rates from 2009 to 2020.  

School Enrollment Rates % after 2009

Another noteworthy difference between traditional education vs modern education is the expansion of educational opportunities and the modern trends in education. Fully online schools are one of the biggest advantages of modern-day education. These platforms are the real face of modern education in India. And allow non-traditional learners to be a part of mainstream schooling. This form of education also adds value to the teaching and learning processes. And it is certainly more interesting and practical for students.

Here’s more!

Ancient Education VS Online Education

In this information age, our education system has moved ahead from the mundane chalk-and-talk methods. The world has embraced online learning as a new and convenient method to continue or complete education. In the past few years, this industry is booming with a massive revenue hike year on year. The number of online students (enrolled in online schools or institutions) is also increasing at a stupendous rate.

Online education has an edge over traditional mediums in terms of flexibility, personalization, and reduced costs, etc. Let’s take a quick look at some facts that reveal the popularity of online education. And these figures speak volumes about the advantages of online education over traditional mediums.

Online Education in India- KPMG Report 2017-2021:

  • The growth of online education market in 5 years was remarkable (from 247 US dollars in 2017 to 1.96 billion in 2021).
  • The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) was 44%.
  • The online test preparation category had a CAGR of 64%.
  • Reskilling and online certifications weightage went up by 38%.
  • Online supplemental education was another dominant category with a 39% market share in 2021.

Worldwide Online Education Statistics 

  • By the year 2022, the global online education revenue is projected to reach 146.90 billion US dollars.
  • The annual CAGR is expected to be 10.17%.
  • The projected market volume of online education by the year 2027 is 238.40 billion.

Coming back to our main topic, it’s time to discuss more about ancient and modern education.

Ancient Education VS Modern Education in India

Traditional vs Modern Education In India

Ancient education was based on the integral elements of character development and the preservation of knowledge. It aimed at imbibing qualities like self-control. And the students were expected to stay pious in their student life. The subjects taught were grammar, astronomy, warfare, arts, economics, and law.  However, there was no or little relaxation with discipline.

Students were expected to follow the rules without any scope for questioning/negotiations. And upon the successful completion of the entire process, students thanked their gurus and gave them gurudakshina before leaving for their homes. While the ancient education system was quality oriented and stringent, modern education is quite different.

Modern trends in education are more about a structured way of promoting the holistic development of students. Students study a set of academic subjects and also indulge in extra-curricular activities in brick-and-mortar schools. For schooling options, a network of government and private schools are operational across the country.

How many private and government schools are there in India?

Modern India has seen the growth of the private education sector other than the government schools. As of 2018, India had over a million government schools. The count of private schools at the same time was 460 thousand.

Schools in India by 2018

What is the Importance of Modern Education with schooling alternatives?

Modern education is a one-stop solution for challenges like overpopulation, teacher quality, and inclusion, etc. With the modern approach to the teaching and learning processes, our system has become more resilient to combat challenges. Today, we are able to impart high-quality instructions in an online learning environment with lower teacher-pupil ratios. Similarly, one-size fit all approach of new-age learning has also improved the accessibility of education for differently-abled students.

Modern-day education has also eliminated challenges like academic stress and made learning fun for students. It has also improved the features of traditional learning by introducing new and engaging ways of imparting instructions.   

The modern education system has some unparalleled advantages. But does it mean that the traditional system is totally obsolete?

Let’s figure it out!

Which among the Traditional and Modern Education is more Effective?

Our modern-day education is certainly more accessible for students. And therefore productive for the students. It has a lot of elements that are beneficial for students. And is capable of individualizing the learning experiences as per the unique needs of the students.

Despite all these advantages, the value aspect still lacks in our current system. It is a great feature of our ancient heritage. And this legacy should be carried forward to improve the inculcation of ethics and morality in children. Some of the ancient subjects like arts and astronomy have also lost their importance in the hustle-bustle of this digital world. We must bring these elements back into our system.

And help our young generations to master age-old art forms. Lastly, the aims of education in the traditional system were better than the present times. Education then was a medium to develop as a person. Whereas today, most of the focus is on employability and survival.

Now that we have discussed traditional education VS modern education, let’s jump to the challenges in the current times before we wrap up.

Challenges Faced by Modern Education System In India

None of the education systems are totally perfect. And the same holds true for the modern education system as well. With all the innovations of the new age-mediums, our system still needs to combat challenges like school violence, bullying, drop-outs teacher quality. Despite the global measures, children in many countries experience issues like bullying (at least once in a couple of months). India too has a number of these traumatic events reported all-round the academic year. In fact, a survey shows that almost 42% of kids face some sort of harassment in schools.

School drop-outs are another big reason that defeats the purpose of numerous educational policies. The Hindustan Times states that only 70 out of 100 Indian students finish school.

Final Thoughts

From the age of the Gurukuls to the world of immersive learning and online schooling, the journey has been both tremendous and rewarding. Our values are rooted in our ancient systems, and the modern-day advantages allow us to eliminate the barriers to learning. A healthy blend of innovative technology along with a touch of the best practices of ancient India will help us to be resilient and support students with character building.

Let’s give our students the best of all education systems. And help them to unleash their innate potential to the fullest!

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Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are the differences between traditional education vs online education?
    Traditional education was more about teacher-led instructions and inflexible learning. On the other hand, online education allows more individualized instructions and helps students to thrive as per their pace and learning style. 
  • What are the main features of Traditional education system?
    Traditional education gave more importance to rote learning and lectures conducted by teachers. There was an emphasis on memory-level teaching. And students were not given many opportunities to interact with the teachers.
  • How modern education differs from traditional education?
    Modern day education system has evolved to be more student-centric and convenient for learners. With options like online schooling, students can decide their own time, space, pace, and style of learning. All this was hardly possible in the traditional education system.
  • Who introduce modern education in India?
    Modern education system in India was introduced by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1830

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