How did the Students Learn in Ancient India?

The pupils in ancient India were also taught by teachers, but quite differently. This ancient indian education system is very impressive and we should learn about it.

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Majorly there were two education systems in ancient India – Vedic and Buddhist. The Vedic system revolved around the Vedas, Vedangas and Upanishads and they were taught in sanskrit, while the Buddhist system preached the thoughts of the major Buddhist schools and they were taught in Pali. 

Education in ancient India was very different from the rest of the world back then. A child would leave his home to get an education, a child had to leave home and live with a teacher in a gurukul for the entire duration of his studies. No fee was charged for education; in fact, the teacher took care of everything, including food, clothing and housing. According to this system,  even if a child was interested in acquiring philosophical knowledge, he would still have to do some manual work every day along with debates and discussions.

Education for women was quite important in ancient India. Women were trained in housekeeping, as well as in dancing and music. Girls also had to conduct the Upanayana ceremony. Vedas and Vedangas were taught to women, too, but were limited to religious songs and poems necessary for rituals. Some notable Vedic and Upanishad women scholars were Apala, Lopamudra, Gargi and Maitreyi.

The teacher used to ask some students to sit in groups and then they would recite the Vedas  for hours. Same verses were also taught in different tones so that it would be easier for the students to learn it. Teachers or gurus also taught separately based on the ability and the capability of the student. 

According to ancient education, there were 3 processes of learning – Sravana (listening to the truths that the guru speaks), Manana (Interpreting the meaning of the words spoken by the guru in your own words so that you can remember it for a long time.) and Nididhyasana (The complete comprehension of the truth so that he may live to it and not just remember it as a theory) To them knowledge was the realization of truth and this truth must be passed on to the next generations.

There were very popular educational institutions in India during the ancient times as well. Four of these institutions were quite prominent and known for different specializations. The University of Nalanda was famous for its Catholic and cosmopolitan character and its department of logic. It was located in the east of India. Takshashila University, in an area what is now modern-day Pakistan, was well-known across the world for its medical school and was the chief learning center in 6th century BC. Vallabhi was a very well known university in west India. It was also a famous study center that had specialized in subjects like law, medicine and economics, and had students attending from all parts of the country. Vikramshila was yet another esteemed institution, best known for Tantric Buddhism.

The ancient Indian system of education focused on the training of the mind and process of thinking. But the British rule erased this system and erected an education system that had written examinations and had scheduled classes. India has now introduced a new education policy for the betterment of students.

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