Education in Indian villages has always been one of the pillars of the society. The Indian people are well aware of the advantages of education since the ancient period and as a result, a proper educational structure was available in most of Indian villages in ancient period. The people used to send their children to schools at an early age and the children received education on different subjects.
In a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I am convinced that if India is to attain true freedom, and through India, the world also, then sooner or later it must be recognized that people will have to live in villages, not towns; in huts, not palaces.” The concept of “the village” a romantic, agrarian, simple, complete has captured the imagination of the Indian government ever since independence.
In the ancient period, education in Indian villages was in a good state. The backbone of the education system in ancient India was the Gurukul system. The children used to receive education from their Gurus or teachers in the Gurukul. In a Gurukul, the students lived in the house of their Guru. The Gurus taught the students about the religious texts like Vedas, Upanishads and other texts and also gave lessons about archery, sword fighting, gymnastics, etc. The main objective was to make a student fully prepared to face any kind of difficulties in life. The Gurukul system continued to be in existence for a long period and was practised in the medieval period also. The introduction of Madrassa system was an important event in education in Indian villages during the medieval period. The British rulers made huge changes in the educational scenario of the Indian villages and they introduced schools that eventually replaced the Gurukuls.
After the independence of India, education in Indian villages witnessed another massive change. The Government of India followed the education system set up by the British to a large extent and established new government schools in the villages. The government viewed rural education as an effective tool for bringing social change through community development. They are taught various subjects including the languages, mathematics, science subjects, arts subjects, agricultural subjects, housekeeping subjects, etc. The elementary education of eight years has also been made compulsory and free for the children in the villages of India.
It was the local budget school delivering its students from village to village. The village life in India, in many ways, is the agrarian ideal of Gandhi. But there are many infrastructural, social, and economic barriers that keep those growing up in the village from having opportunity. The bus bouncing from village to village, delivering poor children to local budget schools, is one tangible link of the potential of this movement to the future of the Indian village.