Indian PM criticizes British ‘servant class’ schooling

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the education system inherited from British colonialism and urged reforms that could help the country move forward, at an educational policy summit on Thursday.

“The British provided this education system to prepare a servant class for themselves to meet their needs,” Modi said at the opening of the three-day summit of educators in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

“After independence, there were some changes in it but a lot remained,” he added. As a result, India ended up with generations of degree-holders trained for government and service jobs.

“We should not just produce degree-holding youths but make our education system such that we create human resources that are needed for the country to take it forward,” Modi said, urging the participants to discuss “innovative thoughts and new ideas” over the course of the summit.

The meeting of over 300 educators and government officials, which is taking place in Modi’s home constituency, is intended to share experiences and practices in implementing the National Education Policy (NEP), adopted in 2020.

“We have to delve into the details of the challenges and problems and find solutions. The NEP is opening doors for education in Indian languages. I have confidence that India could emerge as a world education destination,” said Modi, who has been prime minister since 2014.

The British ruled over India for almost 200 years, first through the East India Company (1757-1858) and then directly by imperial crown until partition and independence in 1947. Western powers have recently tried to pressure New Delhi to break from Moscow, its longtime military and economic partner, over the conflict in Ukraine – causing an incident in May when the Indian ambassador to the UN told his Dutch colleague to stop being “patronizing.”

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