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India became a colony under the British rule. India is largest country under the British colonization. India was known as the jewel of the British crown. Since there was ideology conflict between the British administrators and British intellectuals to, what form of education system should offer to the India. One group said that education system should be done in Sanskrit and Arabic languages. Because Hindu literature had been written in Sanskrit language and Muslim literature was written in Arabic language. But another suggestion was education of India should be done in English, because all the science and ideas that are developing in the world had been published in English. Finally, English language was becoming the British policy of education system in India.
The final conclusion of this debate was explained by Lord McCauley , who plays major role in the formulation of colonial education policies and legal policies. He stated, education should be done in English and everyone in the country should be taught English. Meanwhile he stated Britain did not have ability to teach English for every person in that proposed way. But he said, should educate a selected small group of students in English with the hope that group will teach it to another people in their own language. Finally, that proposal became the government policy of the India.
Above policy adopted in India, became the common policy of South Asia and other British colonies. Sri Lanka also adopted it. After that special schools were established for them. Students were got knowledge from English Language in those schools. Instead of hoping that the group would teach to others what they had learned, the group who had been educated in English would be interested in furthering their interests and becoming a separate group.
In the fourth volume of Encyclopedia of history of the British Empire describes how a low country people of Sri Lanka acquired a new form of English Education and thereby used It for own their benefit and for their own social and economic status.
Later, the leaders of India became the leadership India, who educated from the English. But them are the people who took the lead in the struggle to get rid of the British. But it wasn’t happened in Ceylon. As a result, about 2% were got opportunity to enter the new education field, while others lost it. In accordance with the British policy, education of all the people in the country was made a important step got by the leadership of the C.W.W.Kannangara and with the support of the officials around him. This created a huge opportunity to change the education system of the country. It took time.
We are now living more than 70 years after our free education. Therefore, the opportunity is being created to reap the benefits of free education.
In this background, the ultimate concern of all should be how to develop their powers of expression in all aspects of society. Using the education, they have acquired to develop their thinking ability and to create the power of speaking with their own future.
Written by Basil Fernando
Translated by Sarala samanmalee