National Education Day!


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Education is highly sought after around the world. It often acts as the key to knowledge and wisdom in different areas of our lives. From four year old kids to adults, everyone is indulged in learning something at schools, colleges or even homes. Whether you like it or not, the sense of achievement one experiences as they clear an examination and witness their qualification add value to their name (Ashish Edwin LLB for example) is priceless. 

Today is regarded as National Education day in India on account of the birth anniversary of India’s first education minister named Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. He served as the first education minister for an independent India. The National Education day has been observed every year on November 11th since 2008. 

Who was Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad?

Abdul Kalam Azad was an independence activist, writer and a senior member of the Indian national congress. After India became independent, he went on to become the first education minister of an independent India. He was fondly referred to as Maulana, a hororrary term meaning ‘Our master’. He took up Azad (free) as his pen name for his writings. 

His contribution to the educational foundation of India is remembered by celebrating National Education Day on his birth anniversary across India. 

A journalist

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At an early age, he began his career as a journalist by contributing to Urdu newspapers and magazines. He further went on to purchase a monthly journal, until its closure due to lack of resources. He also became an editor for a newspaper from Amritsar. 

A freedom fighter

Azad heavily criticised the British and Muslim politicians of his time. He opposed the British for discriminating and failing to provide for the needs of Indian civilians, and opposed the Muslim leaders as they focused on communal issues over common interests of the nation. Azad, alongside two others are accredited to the establishment of Jamia Millia Islamia Institution of higher education in Delhi. It was being run solely by Indians without any British involvement. 

His post independence career

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Azad initiated the construction of schools and colleges, and encouraged children and adults for enrollment to popularise formal education. Being India’s first minister of education, he encouraged educational privileges to be extended to the rural population and girls. He also laid emphasis on free and compulsory education for children till the age of 14. Azad addressed the All India Education conference on 16th January 1948 stating that, 

We must not for a moment forget, it is a birthright of every individual to receive at least the basic education without which he cannot fully discharge his duties as a citizen.” By Abdul Kalam Azad.

The first Indian Institute of Education (IIT) was established by the ministry of education in 1951 under his leadership. He also encouraged the development of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, alongside the faculty of technology in Delhi university. 

How is the National Education Day celebrated?

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Educational institutions across India celebrate this day by conducting seminars and workshops, holding essay writing and elocution competitions, and initiating rallies with banners and slogans that emphasises the importance of education, in remembrance of the honorable Abdul Kalam Azad’s emphasis on importance of education during his tenure as the education minister of India. 

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