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Wood's Despatch 1854 B.ed notes | Merits and demerits of Wood's despatch 1854


In 1853 AD, the opportunity came to change the mandate of the English East India Company, on that occasion the British Parliament decided that it was necessary to solve the major problems of Indian education. 

Inspired by this idea, the Parliament appointed an inquiry committee and ordered it to give its suggestions regarding Indian education.

Based on the suggestion of this committee, the directors of the company published their Indian education policy in an order letter on 19 July 1854. 

At that time Sir Charles Wood was the Chairman of the Board of Control of the Company.

Therefore, this order letter was called Wood's order letter or Wood's declaration letter in his name. It is a long writing paper of 100 paragraphs. In which all levels of Indian education have been considered and detailed and important recommendations (suggestions) have been made in relation to them. 

An order for the Indian education policy was printed on nineteen July,1854 below the place of Sir Charles wood.

The Despatch contained one hundred principal clauses.

The main recommendations of Wood's Despatch of 1854 are as follows:

The Aim of Education: The aim ought to be impart helpful data toi the Indian individuals in such how on raise their intellectual, ethical and economic standing.

The Curriculum: Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian ought to be enclosed in the program along side English, Western literature and science. Education in Law was additionally suggested.

The Medium of Instruction: The Despatch suggested that along side English, Indian languages ought to even be accepted because the media of instruction.

Department of Public Instruction: The Despatch suggested that a department of public instruction ought to be planted in every province. The Director of Public Instruction ought to be the Chairman of this Department.


Expansion of general education: Education ought to be created accessible to any or all. It suggested for education of the Indian individuals altogether directions.

University Education - For development of upper education too Universities ought to be established, one every at metropolis and Mumbai on the pattern of the London University.

The Despatch additionally suggested for a university at Madras and different places if a necessity was felt.

Importance of hierarchic Education- For receiving education, one ought to get education from the lower stage.

The Despatch urged the Company to ascertain hierarchic establishments.

Grant-in-Aid for Education- The Despatch suggested the Provincial Government to formulate its own rules of grant-in-aid system.

The foundations ought to be accepted for all classes of academic establishments, primary or higher.

Teachers' Training: Despatch counseled that there ought to be a minimum of one college in every province for coaching of academics.

Women's Education: Despatch recognized the importance of personal enterprises during this space and suggested that {they ought to|they ought to|they must} be any inspired and ladies should be education all told the provinces.

Education and Employment: Despatch expressed that the aim of education was to develop human qualities for fulfillment in life.

Therefore education ought to be obtained with a wider outlook and not solely to get services.

Vocational Education: Despatch steered for education of the individuals through faculties and faculties to be established for their purpose.

Objectives of Education :- 

a) To promote mental and character development among Indians by spreading education.

b) To enrich Indians materially by making them aware of western knowledge.

c) To make Indians fit for the royal posts.

d) To help Indians to make their country prosperous.

Syllabus :-

Describing Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit as useful, the order letter placed them in the curriculum. But by making Europe's rich art skills science philosophy and spiritual useful for Indians, special place was given in the curriculum. Describing these subjects as European knowledge, they were declared in the order letter.

"We emphatically declare that the education which we wish to see spread in India is European knowledge."

Establishment of systematic educational institutions: -

Systematic educational institutions were established in this way -

a) Native Primary School (Classes 1-5)

b) Middle School (grades 6-8)

c) High School (Class 9-10)

d) College (Class 11-12)

e) University 

Education of Muslims :-

It was accepted in the order letter that the education of the Muslims was in a backward condition. Therefore, he firmly said that the officials of the Company should make special efforts to expand the education of the Muslims.

Promotion of ancient literature and native languages: -

In the order letter, this desire was written that ancient literature and indigenous languages ​​should be encouraged, in addition to this, it was also written that books should be composed in indigenous languages, their authors should be given good labor and books of western science and literature should be translated into Indian languages



If we evaluate the impact of Wood Despatch on Indian education from the point of view of the present Indian society, we may find the following merits in it:

1. Responsibility of Education on the Government : For the first time in the history of India it was accepted that the organisation of education is the responsibility of the Government. In the present circumstances it has become all the more necessary.

2. Establishment of the Department of Education : If the organisation of education becomes the State's responsibility than the establishment of the department of education also becomes necessary to fulfil this responsibility.

The suggestion for the establishment of the Department of Public Instruction in every province was the second biggest merit of Wood Despatch.

At present, the education department is made so extensive that the organisation of education in its absence is almost unthinkable.

3. Beginning of the Grant-in-Aid System : It was neither possible in the past nor it is possible at present for the Indian Government to organise complete education.

Therefore, the beginning of financial aid to institutions run by individual efforts, and that too on a regular basis, provided they fulfil certain conditions, was the third commendable step of the education policy declared in this Despatch.

The same grant-in-aid system is being followed by us, even at present, though in a slightly modified form.

4. Provision of Scholarship for Poor Students : Provision of scholarships to poor and meritorious students inspite of the limited resources was its another laudable step.

5. Organisation of Education at Different Levels : Prior to this Despatch education in our country was organized at two levels only, namely primary and higher education.

In this Despatch education for the first time was declared to be organized on the basis of the students age or psychological differences in primary, middle, high school and higher education.

6. Establishment of Graded Schools : Establishment of graded schools for different levels of education as primary, middle and high-schools and the establishment of different institutions for higher education as colleges and universities was its sixth merit.


7. Emphasis upon the Development of Character and Morality of Indians:

Though in this Despatch five aims of education were fixed, namely mental development of the Indians;

to make Indians aware of the Western knowledge and science;

to raise thel living standrd of Indians;

to develop the character and morality of Indians and to prepare able workers for State service (East india Company) but all these aims were such which were the hallmark of our Indian culture and through their progress only that we headed towards the Independence of our country.

8. Emphasis upon the Knowledge of Western Language, Literature and Science:

It was clearly Stated in this Despatch- 

'We must emphatically declare that the education which we desire to see extended in India in European knowledge', in the final analysis, no matter whatever their motives were, they ultimately benefitted us. We must therefore regard this as its merit.

9. Emphasis upon the Development of Oriental and Western Schools :

This Despatch clearly Stated that:

 'We desire to see the progress and development of educational institutions of every domination—Indigenous, missionary and government. " The government, at present, must adopt this policy whole heartedly.

10. Establishment of Universities :

The universities of Buddhist period were destroyed much earlier by the Muslim Kings.

Since then no institutions of university level existed in India.

This Despatch declared the establishment of universities in India.

Universities were accordingly established in Calcutta and Bombay.

At present, they have been established all over the country.

11. Rejection of the Filtration Theory and Emphasis upon Mass Education :

The discriminatory filtration theory accepted by Lord Bentick and thereafter by Lord Auckland on the advice of Macaulay was rejected in this Despatch and emphasis was placed on making education available to everyone. This is the need of the hour specifically in the present day Indian society.

12. Emphasis upon Women Education : In this Despatch for the first time the need for women education was felt for the prosperity of the country and for this it was declared that the number of girls school will be increased. Today, it is universally accepted that women education is more important and necessary than the education of men.


13. Emphasis upon the Education of Muslims :

Muslim children during that period were not being attracted towards the English education.

Britishers understood this and declared that separate arrangement will be made for their education.

This situation prevails to this day. The Government should pay attention to it.

14. Emphasis upon Vocational Education :

For the first time Britishers accepted in this Despatch the necessity of vocational education for the economic progress of India.

This education policy declared to organise vocational education properly.

Educationist at present are emphasizing on job oriented vocational education.

15. Organisation of Teacher Education:

Although till then, one or two teacher training schools were already established by the missionaries but the training imparted in them was of different type (religion oriented).

Therefore to raise the standard of education it was declared in this policy that the teacher training schools will be established on thei pattern of England.

Our present teacher training schools and colleges are functioning sill l on the same basis.


The demerits of the Wood Despatch may be presented as follows :

1. Education under Company's (Government) Control :

Rights and duties are thei two sides of the same coin.

When Company was made responsible to organize education, its control over education was but a natural outcome.

This obviously meant that they would mind their own benefit first.


2. Beginning of Red Tapism in the Field of Education :

Establishment of thei department of education meant the beginning of red tapism.

Higher posts were reserved for the Britishers in this department and subordinate posts for the loyalist Indians.

Expectation of moral behaviour from them, therefore was a distant dream.

3. Strict Preconditions for Grant-in-aid :

Beginning of the grant-in-aid system was a laudable step, but to get this grant the schools were required to fulfil a lot of preconditions and these conditions were so many and so strict that only a few Oriental schools could be benefitted from it.

4. Development of Western Civillization and Culture the Main Aim of Education :

'Though five aims of education were declared in this policy but if we observe these aims minutely we find that the main purpose behind these aims was the development of western civilization and culture in India.

5. More Importance to Western Knowledge and Science in the Curriculum :

Every race regards its language, literature, civilization and culture as the best.

It was thus natural for the Britishers to regard their language, literature and knowledge as the best.

But, they should have thought atleast what was best for the Indians.

The long term effect of this policy was the development of inferiority complex among the Indians which they are yet to overcome.


6. English to be the Medium of Higher Education :

Although it was declared in this policy (Despatch) that Oriental languages and English both will be made the medium of education and Western knowledge and science will be translated into Oriental languages but English only was made the medium of higher education. As a result children of common people remained devoid of higher education.

7. Keeping Bible in Government Schools was made Compulsory:

Although religious neutrality in the field of education was declared in this policy but at the same time it was directed to keep the copies of Bible compulsorily in the libraries of the government schools. One could well understand their real intention behind it.

Kothari Commission

Delors Commission Report