Chapter 11 - Ancient Education System of India, NCERT Textbook of CBSE Class 8 English Class 8 Notes | EduRev

English (It so Happened) Class 8

Class 8 : Chapter 11 - Ancient Education System of India, NCERT Textbook of CBSE Class 8 English Class 8 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


I
• Did you know that India has been the centre of learning since
ancient times? How did we come to know about this?
• There are inscriptions on stones and copper, palm leaf records
and our scriptures as evidences of the historic origins of learning
in India. Today we follow an education system in  which  learning
takes  place  through  syllabus,  curricula,  textbooks  and  assessment
practices. Have you ever thought what these were like in the past?
• In this feature story, we will give you glimpses of our ancient
education system.
INTRODUCTION
You must have heard or read that travellers from various regions
having different climates and cultures began to visit parts of India
from early times. To them, India was a land of wonder! The fame of
Indian culture, wealth, religions, philosophies, art, architecture, as
well as its educational practices had spread far and wide. The
education system of ancient times was regarded as a source for the
knowledge, traditions and practices that guided and encouraged
humanity.
Ancient Education System of India
2019-20
Page 2


I
• Did you know that India has been the centre of learning since
ancient times? How did we come to know about this?
• There are inscriptions on stones and copper, palm leaf records
and our scriptures as evidences of the historic origins of learning
in India. Today we follow an education system in  which  learning
takes  place  through  syllabus,  curricula,  textbooks  and  assessment
practices. Have you ever thought what these were like in the past?
• In this feature story, we will give you glimpses of our ancient
education system.
INTRODUCTION
You must have heard or read that travellers from various regions
having different climates and cultures began to visit parts of India
from early times. To them, India was a land of wonder! The fame of
Indian culture, wealth, religions, philosophies, art, architecture, as
well as its educational practices had spread far and wide. The
education system of ancient times was regarded as a source for the
knowledge, traditions and practices that guided and encouraged
humanity.
Ancient Education System of India
2019-20
It so happened... 90 90 90 90 90
SALIENT FEATURES OF ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM
From the time of Rigveda onwards, our ancient education system
evolved over the period and focused on the holistic development of
the individual by taking care of both the inner and the outer self.
The system focused on the moral, physical, spiritual and intellectual
aspects of life. It emphasised on values such as humility,
truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance and respect for all creations.
Students were taught to appreciate the balance between human
beings and nature. Teaching and learning followed the tenets of
Vedas and Upanishads fulfilling duties towards self, family and
society, thus encompassing all aspects of life. Education system
focused both on learning and physical development. In other words,
the emphasis was on healthy mind  and  healthy  body.  You  can
see  that  education  in  India  has  a  heritage  of  being pragmatic,
achievable and complementary to life.
SOURCES OF EDUCATION
The ancient system of
education was the
education of the Vedas,
Brahmanas, Upanishads
and Dharmasutras.  You
must have  heard  the
names of Aryabhata,
Panini, Katyayana and
Patanjali. Their writings
and the medical treatises of
Charaka and Sushruta were
also some of the sources of learning. Distinction was also drawn
A page from a manuscript* of the Rigveda
*This birch bark manuscript of the Rigveda was found in Kashmir. About 150 years ago, it
was used to prepare one of the earliest printed texts of the Rigveda, as well as an English
translation. It is now preserved in a library in Pune, Maharashtra. (Class VI, Our Pasts-1,
NCERT, 2017)
heritage: something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition  tenets: the main
principles of a religion or philosophy
2019-20
Page 3


I
• Did you know that India has been the centre of learning since
ancient times? How did we come to know about this?
• There are inscriptions on stones and copper, palm leaf records
and our scriptures as evidences of the historic origins of learning
in India. Today we follow an education system in  which  learning
takes  place  through  syllabus,  curricula,  textbooks  and  assessment
practices. Have you ever thought what these were like in the past?
• In this feature story, we will give you glimpses of our ancient
education system.
INTRODUCTION
You must have heard or read that travellers from various regions
having different climates and cultures began to visit parts of India
from early times. To them, India was a land of wonder! The fame of
Indian culture, wealth, religions, philosophies, art, architecture, as
well as its educational practices had spread far and wide. The
education system of ancient times was regarded as a source for the
knowledge, traditions and practices that guided and encouraged
humanity.
Ancient Education System of India
2019-20
It so happened... 90 90 90 90 90
SALIENT FEATURES OF ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM
From the time of Rigveda onwards, our ancient education system
evolved over the period and focused on the holistic development of
the individual by taking care of both the inner and the outer self.
The system focused on the moral, physical, spiritual and intellectual
aspects of life. It emphasised on values such as humility,
truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance and respect for all creations.
Students were taught to appreciate the balance between human
beings and nature. Teaching and learning followed the tenets of
Vedas and Upanishads fulfilling duties towards self, family and
society, thus encompassing all aspects of life. Education system
focused both on learning and physical development. In other words,
the emphasis was on healthy mind  and  healthy  body.  You  can
see  that  education  in  India  has  a  heritage  of  being pragmatic,
achievable and complementary to life.
SOURCES OF EDUCATION
The ancient system of
education was the
education of the Vedas,
Brahmanas, Upanishads
and Dharmasutras.  You
must have  heard  the
names of Aryabhata,
Panini, Katyayana and
Patanjali. Their writings
and the medical treatises of
Charaka and Sushruta were
also some of the sources of learning. Distinction was also drawn
A page from a manuscript* of the Rigveda
*This birch bark manuscript of the Rigveda was found in Kashmir. About 150 years ago, it
was used to prepare one of the earliest printed texts of the Rigveda, as well as an English
translation. It is now preserved in a library in Pune, Maharashtra. (Class VI, Our Pasts-1,
NCERT, 2017)
heritage: something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition  tenets: the main
principles of a religion or philosophy
2019-20
Ancient Education System of India
91 91 91 91 91
between Shastras (learned
disciplines)  and  Kavyas
(imaginative  and  creative
literature).  Sources  of  learning
were drawn from various
disciplines such as Itihas
(history), Anviksiki (logic),
Mimamsa (interpretation)
Shilpashastra (architecture),
Arthashastra (polity), Varta
(agriculture, trade, commerce,
animal husbandry) and Dhanurvidya (archery).
Physical education too was an important curricular area and
pupils participated in krida (games, recreational activities),
vyayamaprakara (exercises), dhanurvidya (archery) for acquiring
martial skills, and yogasadhana (training the mind and body)
among others. The Gurus and their pupils worked conscientiously
together to become proficient in all aspects of learning.
In order to assess pupils' learning, shastrartha (learned debates)
were organised. Pupils at an advanced stage of learning guided
younger pupils. There also existed the system of peer learning, like
you have group/peer work.
ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA — A WAY OF LIFE
In ancient India, both formal and informal ways of education system
existed. Indigenous education was imparted at home, in temples,
pathshalas, tols, chatuspadis and gurukuls. There were people in
homes, villages  and temples who guided young children in imbibing
pious ways of life. Temples were also the centres of learning and
took interest in the promotion of knowledge of our ancient system.
Students went to viharas and universities for higher knowledge.
Teaching was largely oral and students remembered and meditated
upon what was taught in the class.
Visual mapping of the various
disciplines encompassed in the Vedas
indigenous: originating or occurring naturally in a particular place
Vihara: Buddhist monastery
2019-20
Page 4


I
• Did you know that India has been the centre of learning since
ancient times? How did we come to know about this?
• There are inscriptions on stones and copper, palm leaf records
and our scriptures as evidences of the historic origins of learning
in India. Today we follow an education system in  which  learning
takes  place  through  syllabus,  curricula,  textbooks  and  assessment
practices. Have you ever thought what these were like in the past?
• In this feature story, we will give you glimpses of our ancient
education system.
INTRODUCTION
You must have heard or read that travellers from various regions
having different climates and cultures began to visit parts of India
from early times. To them, India was a land of wonder! The fame of
Indian culture, wealth, religions, philosophies, art, architecture, as
well as its educational practices had spread far and wide. The
education system of ancient times was regarded as a source for the
knowledge, traditions and practices that guided and encouraged
humanity.
Ancient Education System of India
2019-20
It so happened... 90 90 90 90 90
SALIENT FEATURES OF ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM
From the time of Rigveda onwards, our ancient education system
evolved over the period and focused on the holistic development of
the individual by taking care of both the inner and the outer self.
The system focused on the moral, physical, spiritual and intellectual
aspects of life. It emphasised on values such as humility,
truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance and respect for all creations.
Students were taught to appreciate the balance between human
beings and nature. Teaching and learning followed the tenets of
Vedas and Upanishads fulfilling duties towards self, family and
society, thus encompassing all aspects of life. Education system
focused both on learning and physical development. In other words,
the emphasis was on healthy mind  and  healthy  body.  You  can
see  that  education  in  India  has  a  heritage  of  being pragmatic,
achievable and complementary to life.
SOURCES OF EDUCATION
The ancient system of
education was the
education of the Vedas,
Brahmanas, Upanishads
and Dharmasutras.  You
must have  heard  the
names of Aryabhata,
Panini, Katyayana and
Patanjali. Their writings
and the medical treatises of
Charaka and Sushruta were
also some of the sources of learning. Distinction was also drawn
A page from a manuscript* of the Rigveda
*This birch bark manuscript of the Rigveda was found in Kashmir. About 150 years ago, it
was used to prepare one of the earliest printed texts of the Rigveda, as well as an English
translation. It is now preserved in a library in Pune, Maharashtra. (Class VI, Our Pasts-1,
NCERT, 2017)
heritage: something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition  tenets: the main
principles of a religion or philosophy
2019-20
Ancient Education System of India
91 91 91 91 91
between Shastras (learned
disciplines)  and  Kavyas
(imaginative  and  creative
literature).  Sources  of  learning
were drawn from various
disciplines such as Itihas
(history), Anviksiki (logic),
Mimamsa (interpretation)
Shilpashastra (architecture),
Arthashastra (polity), Varta
(agriculture, trade, commerce,
animal husbandry) and Dhanurvidya (archery).
Physical education too was an important curricular area and
pupils participated in krida (games, recreational activities),
vyayamaprakara (exercises), dhanurvidya (archery) for acquiring
martial skills, and yogasadhana (training the mind and body)
among others. The Gurus and their pupils worked conscientiously
together to become proficient in all aspects of learning.
In order to assess pupils' learning, shastrartha (learned debates)
were organised. Pupils at an advanced stage of learning guided
younger pupils. There also existed the system of peer learning, like
you have group/peer work.
ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA — A WAY OF LIFE
In ancient India, both formal and informal ways of education system
existed. Indigenous education was imparted at home, in temples,
pathshalas, tols, chatuspadis and gurukuls. There were people in
homes, villages  and temples who guided young children in imbibing
pious ways of life. Temples were also the centres of learning and
took interest in the promotion of knowledge of our ancient system.
Students went to viharas and universities for higher knowledge.
Teaching was largely oral and students remembered and meditated
upon what was taught in the class.
Visual mapping of the various
disciplines encompassed in the Vedas
indigenous: originating or occurring naturally in a particular place
Vihara: Buddhist monastery
2019-20
It so happened... 92 92 92 92 92
Gurukuls, also known as ashrams, were the residential places of
learning. Many of these were named after the sages. Situated in
forests, in serene and peaceful surroundings, hundreds of students
used to learn together in gurukuls. Women too had access to
education during the early Vedic period. Among the prominent
women Vedic scholars, we find references to Maitreyi, Viswambhara,
Apala, Gargi and Lopamudra, to name a few.
During that period, the gurus and their shishyas lived together
helping each other in day-to-day life. The main objective was to
have complete learning, leading a disciplined life and realising one's
inner potential. Students lived away from their homes for years
together till they achieved their goals. The gurukul was also the
place where the relationship of the guru and shishya strengthened
with time. While pursuing their education in different disciplines
like history, art of debate, law, medicine, etc., the emphasis was not
only on the outer dimensions of the discipline but also on enriching
inner dimensions of the personality.
Comprehension Check
1.   Why were travellers attracted towards India?
2.   What were the sources of the ancient education system?
3.   What were the features of education system in ancient India?
4.   What was the role of guru in pupils’ lives?
II
• In Part I, you have read about the ancient education system in
ashrams/gurukuls, and the way of life in them.
• This system continued to flourish during the time of the Buddha
and the subsequent periods.
Many monasteries/viharas were set up for monks and nuns to
meditate, debate and discuss with the learned for their quest for
knowledge during this period. Around these viharas, other
educational centres of higher learning developed, which attracted
monastery: a place where monks line and worship
2019-20
Page 5


I
• Did you know that India has been the centre of learning since
ancient times? How did we come to know about this?
• There are inscriptions on stones and copper, palm leaf records
and our scriptures as evidences of the historic origins of learning
in India. Today we follow an education system in  which  learning
takes  place  through  syllabus,  curricula,  textbooks  and  assessment
practices. Have you ever thought what these were like in the past?
• In this feature story, we will give you glimpses of our ancient
education system.
INTRODUCTION
You must have heard or read that travellers from various regions
having different climates and cultures began to visit parts of India
from early times. To them, India was a land of wonder! The fame of
Indian culture, wealth, religions, philosophies, art, architecture, as
well as its educational practices had spread far and wide. The
education system of ancient times was regarded as a source for the
knowledge, traditions and practices that guided and encouraged
humanity.
Ancient Education System of India
2019-20
It so happened... 90 90 90 90 90
SALIENT FEATURES OF ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM
From the time of Rigveda onwards, our ancient education system
evolved over the period and focused on the holistic development of
the individual by taking care of both the inner and the outer self.
The system focused on the moral, physical, spiritual and intellectual
aspects of life. It emphasised on values such as humility,
truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance and respect for all creations.
Students were taught to appreciate the balance between human
beings and nature. Teaching and learning followed the tenets of
Vedas and Upanishads fulfilling duties towards self, family and
society, thus encompassing all aspects of life. Education system
focused both on learning and physical development. In other words,
the emphasis was on healthy mind  and  healthy  body.  You  can
see  that  education  in  India  has  a  heritage  of  being pragmatic,
achievable and complementary to life.
SOURCES OF EDUCATION
The ancient system of
education was the
education of the Vedas,
Brahmanas, Upanishads
and Dharmasutras.  You
must have  heard  the
names of Aryabhata,
Panini, Katyayana and
Patanjali. Their writings
and the medical treatises of
Charaka and Sushruta were
also some of the sources of learning. Distinction was also drawn
A page from a manuscript* of the Rigveda
*This birch bark manuscript of the Rigveda was found in Kashmir. About 150 years ago, it
was used to prepare one of the earliest printed texts of the Rigveda, as well as an English
translation. It is now preserved in a library in Pune, Maharashtra. (Class VI, Our Pasts-1,
NCERT, 2017)
heritage: something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition  tenets: the main
principles of a religion or philosophy
2019-20
Ancient Education System of India
91 91 91 91 91
between Shastras (learned
disciplines)  and  Kavyas
(imaginative  and  creative
literature).  Sources  of  learning
were drawn from various
disciplines such as Itihas
(history), Anviksiki (logic),
Mimamsa (interpretation)
Shilpashastra (architecture),
Arthashastra (polity), Varta
(agriculture, trade, commerce,
animal husbandry) and Dhanurvidya (archery).
Physical education too was an important curricular area and
pupils participated in krida (games, recreational activities),
vyayamaprakara (exercises), dhanurvidya (archery) for acquiring
martial skills, and yogasadhana (training the mind and body)
among others. The Gurus and their pupils worked conscientiously
together to become proficient in all aspects of learning.
In order to assess pupils' learning, shastrartha (learned debates)
were organised. Pupils at an advanced stage of learning guided
younger pupils. There also existed the system of peer learning, like
you have group/peer work.
ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA — A WAY OF LIFE
In ancient India, both formal and informal ways of education system
existed. Indigenous education was imparted at home, in temples,
pathshalas, tols, chatuspadis and gurukuls. There were people in
homes, villages  and temples who guided young children in imbibing
pious ways of life. Temples were also the centres of learning and
took interest in the promotion of knowledge of our ancient system.
Students went to viharas and universities for higher knowledge.
Teaching was largely oral and students remembered and meditated
upon what was taught in the class.
Visual mapping of the various
disciplines encompassed in the Vedas
indigenous: originating or occurring naturally in a particular place
Vihara: Buddhist monastery
2019-20
It so happened... 92 92 92 92 92
Gurukuls, also known as ashrams, were the residential places of
learning. Many of these were named after the sages. Situated in
forests, in serene and peaceful surroundings, hundreds of students
used to learn together in gurukuls. Women too had access to
education during the early Vedic period. Among the prominent
women Vedic scholars, we find references to Maitreyi, Viswambhara,
Apala, Gargi and Lopamudra, to name a few.
During that period, the gurus and their shishyas lived together
helping each other in day-to-day life. The main objective was to
have complete learning, leading a disciplined life and realising one's
inner potential. Students lived away from their homes for years
together till they achieved their goals. The gurukul was also the
place where the relationship of the guru and shishya strengthened
with time. While pursuing their education in different disciplines
like history, art of debate, law, medicine, etc., the emphasis was not
only on the outer dimensions of the discipline but also on enriching
inner dimensions of the personality.
Comprehension Check
1.   Why were travellers attracted towards India?
2.   What were the sources of the ancient education system?
3.   What were the features of education system in ancient India?
4.   What was the role of guru in pupils’ lives?
II
• In Part I, you have read about the ancient education system in
ashrams/gurukuls, and the way of life in them.
• This system continued to flourish during the time of the Buddha
and the subsequent periods.
Many monasteries/viharas were set up for monks and nuns to
meditate, debate and discuss with the learned for their quest for
knowledge during this period. Around these viharas, other
educational centres of higher learning developed, which attracted
monastery: a place where monks line and worship
2019-20
Ancient Education System of India
93 93 93 93 93
students from China, Korea, Tibet, Burma, Ceylon, Java, Nepal
and other distant countries.
VIHARAS AND UNIVERSITIES
The Jataka tales, accounts given by Xuan Zang and I-Qing (Chinese
scholars), as well as other sources tell us that kings and society
took active interest in promoting education. As a result many famous
educational centres came into existence. Among the most notable
universities that evolved during this period were situated at
Takshashila, Nalanda, Valabhi, Vikramshila, Odantapuri and
Jagaddala. These universities developed in connection with the
viharas. Those at Benaras, Navadeep and Kanchi developed in
connection with temples and became centres of community life in
the places where they were situated.
These institutions catered to the needs of advanced level students.
Such students joined the centres of higher learning and developed
their knowledge by mutual discussions and debates with renowned
scholars.
Not only this, there was also occasional summoning by a king to
a gathering in which the scholars of the country of various viharas
and universities would meet, debate and exchange their views.
In this section we will give you glimpses of two universities of the
ancient period. These universities were considered among the best
centres of learning in the world. These have been recently declared
heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
TAKSHASHILA  OR TAXILA
In ancient times, Takshashila was a noted centre of learning,
including religious teachings of Buddhism, for several centuries. It
continued to attract students from around the world until its
destruction in the 5th century CE. It was known for its higher
summon: to officially arrange a meeting of people
university: institution of higher education
2019-20
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