Maulana Abul Kalam Azad laid the foundation for higher education and scientific research in the country while significantly influencing the nation's education system.
NEW DELHI – In recognition of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s contribution to the field of education, National Education Day is observed every year in India on November 11 marking the birth anniversary of first education minister of Independent India.
The National Education Day was declared in 2008 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, now known as the Ministry of Education in commemoration of the role of Maulana Azad in laying the foundation of education in the country.
After India attained Independence in 1947, Maulana Azad became the first education minister of India and immensely contributed to the spread of education in the society till February 1958. He is known as an architect of modern education in India.
Foundation for higher education and scientific research
Maulana Azad laid the foundation for higher education and scientific research in the country while significantly influencing the nation’s education system.
Born on November 18, 1888, Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed, Maulana Azad, as he is popularly known, was an Indian independence icon, writer and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. As a staunch votary of secularism he had opposed the partition of India propounded by the Muslim League to establish a separate Muslim land.
In 1920, he was elected a member of the foundation committee to establish Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in UP. He also assisted in shifting the university campus from Aligarh to New Delhi in 1934. Today, the main gate of the campus is named after him.
Maulana Azad’s main focus in post-independence India was educating the rural poor and girls. Other key areas where he focused were adult literacy, free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14, universal primary education, and diversification of secondary education and vocational training.
Addressing a conference on All India Education on 16 January 1948, Maulana Azad had said, “We must not for a moment forget, it is a birth right of every individual to receive at least the basic education without which he cannot fully discharge his duties as a citizen.”
Maulana Azad was also instrumental in establishing the first IIT along with other universities in India. He also played a very important role in establishing the University Grants Commission (UGC) under the MHRD.