NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 ‘Ancient Education System of India’: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)

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NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8

NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 represents the grandeur of the ancient education system of India that focused on holistic development, encompassing moral, physical, spiritual, and intellectual aspects. It was decentralised, personalised, and highly valued by society, serving as a foundation for contemporary learning. You can read key features of the ancient education system in India under the summary section of this blog. Also, you get details of Nalanda and Taxila in the subsequent sections. Use these notes for revision and download the NCERT Solutions PDF for your exam preparation. 

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

Summary of NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 ‘Ancient Education System of India’

In ancient times, India attracted travellers due to its rich culture and education because the Indian education system focused on holistic development, including moral, physical, spiritual, and intellectual aspects. Also, the ancient education system focused on values like humility, truthfulness, and discipline. Additionally, the emphasis on nature in education attracted people from all across the world to India. Furthermore, the education system also aimed at achieving a healthy mind and body while integrating these with life’s practical aspects.

Now, let us look at the summary of each section of the NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 “Ancient Education System of India”:

Salient Features of the Ancient Education System

  • Education evolved from the Rigvedic times, which emphasised holistic development.
  • It followed the Vedas and Upanishads, which covered various disciplines like history, logic, architecture, etc.
  • Physical education was essential, including games, exercises, archery, and yoga.
  • Learning involved debates, peer learning, and practical application.

Sources of Education

  • Education sources included Vedas, Upanishads, Dharmasutras, and writings of scholars like Aryabhata and Patanjali.
  • Subjects ranged from history to agriculture, with a focus on both scholarly and practical knowledge.
  • Physical education covered games, exercises, archery, and yoga.

Ancient Education System in India – A Way of Life

  • Education was imparted formally and informally in homes, temples, and gurukuls.
  • Gurukuls were residential centres where students lived and learned together, emphasising discipline and self-realisation.
  • Women had access to education, with notable female Vedic scholars.
  • Education was aimed at holistic development, integrating inner and outer dimensions of personality.

Viharas and Universities

  • Monasteries and viharas served as centres for meditation and learning, attracting scholars from various countries.
  • Notable universities like Takshashila and Nalanda were centres of advanced learning, attracting students worldwide.
  • Education included diverse subjects like language, arts, medicine, mathematics, and politics.
  • Scholars engaged in debates and discussions, fostering intellectual growth.

Role of the Teacher

  • Teachers had autonomy in student selection and curriculum design.
  • Teaching methods involved debates and discussions, assisted by advanced-level students.
  • Education was personalised, focusing on individual interests and capabilities.

Role of Community

  • Education was considered sacred, with no fees charged.
  • Financial support came from various sources, including rich merchants and society.
  • Contributions towards education were highly valued, with donations of land and buildings.

Continuation of Indian Education System

  • Ancient education continued through ashrams, temples, and indigenous schools.
  • The medieval period saw the inclusion of maktabas and madrassas.
  • Education was mostly religious and spiritual, supported by local donations.
Source: Magnet Brains

Also Read: Speech on Education for Students in English

Ancient Centres of Learning in India

NCERT Class 8 It So Happened Chapter 8 also highlights the ancient centres of learning in India: Nalanda University and Takshashila or Taxila. Let us explore these learning centres!!

Nalanda University

Nalanda was a famous centre of learning in ancient times, existing from the 5th to the 12th century CE. It was located in present-day Rajgir, Bihar, India, and was considered one of the oldest universities globally. UNESCO declared the ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara as a world heritage site. The new Nalanda University aims to foster dialogue between different civilizations.

During Xuan Zang’s visit, Nalanda was known as Nala and served as a hub for learning various subjects. It attracted scholars from across the country and beyond. Chinese scholars like I-Qing and Xuan Zang visited Nalanda in the 7th century CE and provided detailed descriptions of its activities. They noted that around a hundred discussions took place daily on different topics, using debate and discussions as teaching methods. Xuan Zang himself studied yogashastra at Nalanda and mentioned that the Chancellor, Shilabhadra, was highly regarded in yoga. Nalanda University offered a wide range of subjects, including the Vedas, fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics, and warfare.

Nalanda University

Takshashila or Taxila

Takshashila, now located in north-western Pakistan, was an ancient city recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. It was renowned for its university, where Chanakya is believed to have written his Arthashastra. The city served as a prominent centre of learning for centuries, attracting students from around the world until its destruction in the 5th century CE.

Takshashila’s curriculum included the study of various subjects such as ancient scriptures, law, medicine, astronomy, military science, and arts. It gained fame for its expert teachers, with notable students like Panini, known for his work in grammar, and Chanakya, a skilled statesman. Despite the challenging journey, students travelled from places like Kashi, Kosala, and Magadha to study at Takshashila.

NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 'Ancient Education System of India': Takshashila

Also Read: Speech on Indian Education System

Important Words and Phrases and Their Meanings

Now, we have tabulated the word meanings in NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 to help you understand the lesson better and expand your English vocabulary. Let’s have a look!!

TenetsThe key principle of a philosophy or a religion
HeritageAny act, cultural belief, or actions passed down from generations.
ViharaA Buddhist monastery
IndigenousPlace of origin
MonasteryA place of worship and residence for monks
UniversityAn institution of higher education
SummonTo arrange a meeting of people
StatecraftMethods and tools for governing a country
AutonomyFreedom to act at one’s will
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

NCERT Solutions Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 ‘Ancient Education System of India’ 

Lastly, we have solutions to questions in NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 8 ‘Ancient Education System of India’. All answers are curated by our subject experts who are thorough with the latest NCERT curriculum and CBSE guidelines. 

Comprehension Check I (Page No. 69)

Ques 1. Why were travellers attracted towards India?

Ans: Travellers from different places were fascinated by India’s rich culture, wealth, religions, philosophies, art, architecture, and education system. They saw India as a remarkable land and were drawn to it because of its fame. They believed that India’s education system held valuable knowledge, traditions, and practices that could guide and inspire humanity.

Ques 2. What were the sources of the ancient education system?

Ans: The following sources are considered as the ancient education system in India:

  • Vedas
  • Upanishads
  • Dharmasutras
  • Charaka
  • Sushutra

Ques 3. What were the features of education system in ancient India?

Ans: Here are the key features of the education system in ancient India:

  • Education evolved from the Rigvedic times, which emphasised holistic development.
  • It followed the Vedas and Upanishads, which covered various disciplines like history, logic, architecture, etc.
  • Physical education was essential, including games, exercises, archery, and yoga.
  • Learning involved debates, peer learning, and practical application.

Ques 4. What was the role of guru in pupils’ lives?

Ans: In ancient India, gurus or teachers and their pupils or students worked hard together to learn everything thoroughly. They organised debates to check how much the students had learned. Older students helped younger ones, similar to how we share knowledge in peer groups today. During that time, teachers and students lived together and supported each other in daily life. The main goal was to have complete learning, live a disciplined life, and discover each student’s inner talents. Students stayed away from home for many years until they achieved their goals. The relationship between teacher and student grew stronger over time. While studying different subjects like history, debate, law, and medicine, the focus wasn’t only on the subject itself. It also helped develop students’ inner qualities.

Comprehension Check II (Page No. 74)

Ques 1. Where did nuns and monks receive their education?

Ans: The nuns and monks learned at different monasteries or viharas, which were places dedicated to art and learning. These centres were established primarily for meditation, discussions, and debates with knowledgeable individuals, fulfilling their thirst for knowledge during ancient times.

Ques 2. What is Panini known for?

Ans: Panini was an exemplary Indian Sanskrit grammarian, who is referred to as the “Father of Linguistics.” He was an expert in language and grammar. He is renowned for his scientific understanding of phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Panini authored one of the greatest works on grammar known as Ashtadhyayi, which remains a cornerstone in linguistic studies. His meticulous analysis and detailed contributions to linguistic theory have earned him a prominent place in ancient Indian scholarship.

Ques 3. Which university did Xuan Zang and I-Qing study at?

Ans: Xuan Zang and I-Quing studied at the Nalanda University of India.

Ques 4. Which subject did Xuan Zang study in India?

Ans: Xuan Zang pursued Sanskrit, Logic, Yogashastra, and Grammar during his stay at the Nalanda University in India. 

Ques 5. How did society help in the education of the students?

Ans: In ancient times, knowledge was seen as a service, so no one had to pay to learn. Giving money for education was considered one of the best ways to help others. People who had a lot of money, like rich merchants and wealthy parents, usually helped out. Sometimes, they even gave land or buildings to universities. This kind of free education was common in places like Valabhi, Vikramshila, and Jagaddala.


Ques 1. Which salient features of the ancient education system of India made it globally renowned?

Ans: Here are the salient features of the ancient education system of India that made it globally popular:

  • Our ancient academic institutions aimed to develop the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.
  • Teachers in ancient Indian academic institutions taught about religion, exercise, being good, learning, and respecting everything around them.
  • Teachers of ancient India stressed honesty, humility, taking care of yourself, being disciplined, and appreciating everything made.
  • Also, teachers followed the ancient Indian teachings about doing your duty for family and community, thereby, covering all aspects of life.
  • Students learned to live in harmony with nature.

Ques 2. Why do you think students from other countries came to India to study at that time?

Ans: In the past, students from many countries like China, Korea and Nepal came to India to learn because it was famous for its amazing knowledge and universities. There were special places called “viharas” where monks and students could talk, learn, and meditate together. One famous university called Takshashila offered religious teachings for hundreds of years, attracting students from all over, until it was destroyed in the 5th century.

Ques 3. Why is education considered ‘a way of life’?

Ans: Education is considered a way of life because, in India of yesteryears, learning happened in various ways, both at home and in special places like temples and gurukuls. Gurukuls were like boarding schools where students lived and studied together, learning not just knowledge but also discipline and how to understand themselves better. Interestingly, even women received an education, with some even becoming famous scholars. Overall, education aims to develop the whole person, nurturing both their inner world and the skills they need for life.

Ques 4. What do you understand by holistic education?

Ans: Holistic education goes beyond just learning facts and figures. It aims to develop the whole person, including their mind, body, and spirit. It emphasises personal growth in areas like morality, creativity, and social responsibility, alongside academics. This approach fosters individuals who are well-rounded, self-aware, and equipped to navigate various aspects of life.

Ques 5. Why do you think Taksashila and Nalanda have been declared heritage sites?

Ans: Takshashila is an Indian city that is extremely important for learning and history. It’s like a museum and was declared special by UNESCO in 1980 because of its famous teachers and all the things they knew.

Nalanda was an ancient university that existed for many centuries, and its ruins are now considered super important for history by UNESCO.

Sound: Magnet Brains
Chapter 1: The Best Christmas Present in the World
Chapter 2: The Tsunami
Chapter 3: Glimpses of the Past
Chapter 4: Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory
Chapter 5: The Summit Within
Chapter 6: This is Jody’s Fawn
Chapter 7: A Visit to Cambridge
Chapter 8: A Short Monsoon Diary


Q1. Which university is mentioned in NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened ‘Ancient Education System of India’?

Ans: The chapter mentions Nalanda University and gives key details about this institution of excellence.

Q2. Where is Taxila or Takshashila?

Ans: Currently, Taxila is in north-west Pakistan.

Q3. Where can I download NCERT Chapters?

Ans: You can download NCERT chapters at

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