National Education Day on November 11 memorializes 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 and 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 emphasized 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 at as the epitome of educational excellence. It is hence befitting to honor 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
Leading by Example 1947
Abul Kalam is elected as independent India’s first Education Minister
Off The Press 1912
Abul Kalam starts a weekly publication titled ‘Al-Hilal’ to challenge British government policies
A Visionary Is Born November 11, 1888
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was born, sharing his birthday until this day with National Education Day in India.
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 centers 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 organizations doing great work towards this cause. Donate and do your part in the elimination of illiteracy.
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 colorful activities and competitions, the learning spirit is really enhanced on this day.