NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 6 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation Notes (Free PDF)

12 minute read
NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 6 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation Notes

In the NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 6 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation chapter, we embark on a journey to explore the complex dynamics of colonial education systems and their impact on indigenous populations. We will delve into the historical context of colonialism, examining how education was used as a tool for cultural assimilation and control.

Overall, NCERT class 8 history chapter 6, Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation, aims at understanding the challenges faced by indigenous communities and the resilience they demonstrated in preserving their cultures and identities amidst colonization.

Download NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 6 Civilising the “Native, Educating the Nation” Notes (Free PDF)
Download NCERT Solutions For Class 8 History Chapter 6  Civilising the “Native, Educating the Nation” Notes (Free PDF)
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

Introduction to NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 6 Notes Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation

In the pages of the chapter Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation, we will provide the important events that shaped colonial education, such as the establishment of boarding schools aimed at assimilating indigenous children into Western culture. We’ll explore the impact of policies like forced relocation and cultural suppression on native communities, and the resistance movements they sparked. 

Through accounts of resilience and cultural revival, we’ll witness how indigenous peoples preserved their heritage despite immense adversity. 

Join us as we uncover the complexities of colonial education and its enduring legacy on indigenous societies.

Also Read: NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 1 Resources Notes (Free PDF)


In this chapter, we explore how British rule in India impacted students’ lives, focusing on the educational and cultural changes introduced by the colonial administration. 

The British aimed not only for territorial control but also sought to “civilise” the Indian population, leading to debates about how to educate and assimilate them into what was considered “good subjects.”

1. British rule in India affected not only rulers, peasants, and tribals but also students.

2. The British believed in a cultural mission to “civilize” the natives and change their customs and values.

3. Questions arose about how to educate and assimilate Indians into what the British considered “good subjects.”

4. Debates continued for decades about the best approaches to education and cultural transformation under British colonial rule.

Also Read: NCERT Class 6 History Chapter 10 Buildings, Paintings, and Books: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)

How the British saw Education

In this chapter, we delve into the evolution of education in India over the past two hundred years, examining the perspectives and actions of the British colonial administration as well as the responses and adaptations of Indian society. 

We explore how ideas of education, which are now considered commonplace, took shape amidst the interactions between British authorities and Indian communities. 

Additionally, we investigate how Indians reacted to British educational concepts and formulated their visions for educating the populace.

1. The chapter explores the development of education in India over the past two centuries.

2. It examines the perspectives and actions of the British colonial administration regarding education.

3. The evolution of ideas about education, now commonly accepted, is traced through historical interactions.

4. The reactions of Indian society to British educational concepts are analyzed.

5. The chapter also highlights how Indians developed their own perspectives on education and formulated strategies for educating the population.

The Tradition of Orientalism

NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 6 Civilising the “Native, Educating the Nation” Notes (Free PDF)

In this paragraph, we learn about William Jones, a British linguist and judge, who arrived in Calcutta in 1783. Jones, along with other British officials, embarked on a mission to explore and understand ancient Indian texts. 

They founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal and translated Sanskrit and Persian works into English. Jones and his colleagues believed that studying India’s ancient heritage was crucial for guiding its future development.

1. William Jones, a British linguist and judge, arrived in Calcutta in 1783.

2. Jones, along with other British officials, studied Sanskrit language and literature.

3. They founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal to explore ancient Indian texts.

4. Jones and his colleagues translated Sanskrit and Persian works into English.

5. They believed that understanding India’s ancient heritage was important for its future development.

6. Some Company officials supported this approach and established institutions like the madrasa in Calcutta and the Hindu College in Benaras.

7. However, there was criticism of the Orientalists’ approach from some officials.

“Grave errors of the East”

During the early nineteenth century, a shift in educational philosophy occurred among British officials in India, leading to criticism of the Orientalist approach to learning. This shift was spearheaded by figures like James Mill and Thomas Babington Macaulay, who advocated for a more practical and Western-oriented education system.

1. British officials in the early nineteenth century began to criticise the Orientalist vision of learning in India.

2. They argued that Eastern knowledge was filled with errors and lacked seriousness.

3. James Mill and Thomas Babington Macaulay were prominent critics of the Orientalist approach.

4. They believed that education should focus on practical and scientific knowledge rather than Eastern literature.

5. Macaulay particularly emphasized the superiority of English literature and language.

6. Macaulay’s ideas influenced the English Education Act of 1835, which made English the medium of instruction for higher education in India.

7. The act also led to the discontinuation of support for Oriental institutions like the Calcutta Madrasa and Benaras Sanskrit College.

8. As a result, English textbooks began to be produced for schools, marking a significant shift in educational policy towards Westernization.

Also Read: NCERT Class 9 Science Chapter 1 ‘Matter in Our Surroundings’ Notes (Free PDF) 

Education for commerce

In 1854, Charles Wood, the President of the Board of Control of the East India Company in London, issued an educational dispatch known as Wood’s dispatch. This despatch outlined a new educational policy for India, emphasizing the practical benefits of European learning over Oriental knowledge.

1. In 1854, Charles Wood issued an educational despatch known as Wood’s despatch to the Governor-General in India.

2. Wood’s despatch highlighted the practical advantages of European learning, contrasting it with Oriental knowledge.

3. It was argued that European learning would benefit India economically by promoting trade and commerce and developing the country’s resources.

4. European education would also influence Indian tastes and create a demand for British goods, contributing to economic growth.

5. Wood’s Despatch claimed that European learning would improve the moral character of Indians, making them more truthful and honest, and thus producing trustworthy civil servants.

6. The despatch criticised Oriental literature for its errors and inability to instill a sense of duty and commitment to work.

7. Following the 1854 Despatch, measures were introduced to extend government control over education, establish university education, and reform the school education system.

8. Despite the unrest of the 1857 revolt, efforts were made to establish universities in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, and reforms were initiated in school education.

What happened to the local schools? 

Before British rule, education in India followed traditional methods that varied across regions and communities. Schools existed, but their nature and organization differed from those of modern educational institutions. The advent of British rule brought significant changes to the Indian education system.

1. In pre-British times, education in India was primarily imparted through traditional methods such as gurukuls, madrasas, and pathshalas.

2. Gurukuls were residential schools where students lived with their guru (teacher) and received education in various subjects like scriptures, philosophy, languages, and warfare.

3. Madrasas were Islamic schools where students studied the Quran, Islamic law, theology, and other subjects under the guidance of a scholar.

4. Pathshalas were community-based schools where children learned basic literacy, numeracy, and religious teachings from a local teacher.

5. Education was often confined to certain social groups, such as the Brahmins and the elite, and access to learning varied based on caste, gender, and economic status.

6. With the arrival of British rule, traditional educational systems underwent significant changes.

7. The British introduced Western-style education influenced by European ideas and methods.

8. They established English-medium schools and universities, emphasizing subjects like English language, science, mathematics, and history.

9. Traditional educational institutions faced challenges and transformed under British rule, with some adapting to the new system while others declined.

10. The British implemented policies aimed at standardizing and modernizing education, leading to the decline of traditional methods and the emergence of a new educational landscape in India.

The Report of William Adam

In the 1830s, William Adam, a Scottish missionary, conducted a survey of education in Bengal and Bihar on behalf of the East India Company. His report provides insights into the state of vernacular education in the region during that time.

1. William Adam’s survey in the 1830s focused on vernacular education in Bengal and Bihar, commissioned by the East India Company.

2. He discovered over 1 lakh pathshalas (traditional schools) in these regions, with each school having around 20 students, totalling over 20 lakh children.

3. Pathshalas were typically established by affluent individuals or local communities, sometimes initiated by a teacher (guru).

4. The education system in Pathshalas was flexible, lacking many features commonly associated with modern schools.

5. Pathshalas operated without fixed fees, printed books, dedicated school buildings, furniture like benches or chairs, blackboards, class divisions, attendance registers, examinations, or strict timetables.

6. Classes were often conducted outdoors under a tree, in a village shop, temple, or at the guru’s residence.

7. Fees varied based on parents’ income, with wealthier families paying more than poorer ones.

8. Teaching was primarily oral, with gurus deciding the curriculum based on students’ needs.

9. Students of all ages and abilities studied together in one place, with the guru providing
personalized instruction to different groups.

10. The flexible nature of pathshalas accommodated local needs, such as suspending classes during harvest seasons to allow rural children to work in fields and ensuring education accessibility even for peasant families.

Also Read: Sectors of the Indian Economy Class 10 Notes and NCERT Solutions

New routines, new rules

Until the mid-nineteenth century, the East India Company focused primarily on higher education, allowing local pathshalas to operate with minimal interference. However, after 1854, the Company aimed to enhance the vernacular education system by introducing order, routines, and regulations.

1. The company sought to improve vernacular education by introducing order and imposing routines, rules, and inspections after 1854.

2. Measures included appointing government pandits to oversee multiple schools and being tasked with enhancing teaching standards through regular visits and reports.

3. Gurukuls were required to follow a set timetable, teach from textbooks, conduct annual examinations, charge regular fees, enforce attendance, assign fixed seating, and maintain discipline.

4. Government-funded support was provided to pathshalas who adhered to the new regulations, while those unwilling to comply received no assistance.

5. Over time, independently operated gurukuls struggled to compete with government-aided and regulated pathshalas.

6. The new rules posed challenges for children from poor peasant families who previously attended pathshalas with flexible timetables.

7. The requirement for regular attendance, even during harvest seasons when children assisted in farming, led to attendance issues being viewed as a lack of interest in learning.

The Agenda for a National Education

In the early nineteenth century, as British officials contemplated education reforms in India, various Indian thinkers also began advocating for wider access to education. Some Indians believed that Western education could modernize India and urged the British to establish more schools, colleges, and universities. 

However, there were also Indians who opposed Western education, advocating for alternative approaches.

1. Some Indians, inspired by European developments, saw Western education as a means to modernise India and called for increased investment in education by the British.

2. Others, like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, opposed Western education and advocated for alternative approaches.

3. Gandhi and Tagore’s perspectives offered critiques of Western education and emphasised the importance of preserving Indian culture and traditions while also embracing modernity.

4. Aurobindo Ghose, in a speech delivered in 1908, outlined his vision of national education, emphasizing the need to awaken the national spirit, impart education in vernacular languages, integrate modern scientific knowledge, and provide vocational training.

5. These diverse perspectives reflect the complex debates surrounding education in colonial India and the varied responses to Western influence.

¨English education has enslaved us¨

Mahatma Gandhi criticized colonial education for instilling a sense of inferiority among Indians and promoting Western civilization as superior, eroding pride in Indian culture. 

He believed that this education enslaved Indians and fueled admiration for British rule, advocating for an education that restored dignity and self-respect.

1. Gandhi denounced colonial education, arguing that it poisoned Indian minds by promoting admiration for the West and British rule.

2. He believed that education in English alienated Indians from their own culture and social context, rendering them “strangers in their own lands.”

3. Gandhi advocated for education in Indian languages to foster a deeper connection with local culture and empower Indians to relate to the masses.

4. He criticized Western education for its focus on literacy and textbooks over practical knowledge, emphasizing the importance of hands-on learning and vocational skills.

5. Gandhi viewed education as a means to develop both the mind and soul, stressing the need for holistic development beyond mere literacy.

6. As nationalist sentiments grew, other thinkers joined Gandhi in envisioning a national education system that diverged from the colonial model.

Tagore’s “abode of peace”

Santiniketan, established by Rabindranath Tagore in 1901, was envisioned as a unique educational institution aimed at fostering creativity and freedom in children. 

Tagore’s own negative experiences in traditional schooling shaped his vision of a school where children could explore their thoughts and desires without rigid discipline.

1. Rabindranath Tagore founded Santiniketan as a response to his unhappy experiences in traditional schooling, where he felt suffocated and oppressed.

2. Tagore believed in creating a school environment where children could be happy, free, and creative, nurturing their curiosity and self-learning.

3. He criticized existing schools for stifling children’s natural creativity and wonder with rigid discipline.

4. Santiniketan was located in a rural setting, 100 kilometers away from Calcutta, to provide a peaceful environment in harmony with nature, conducive to cultivating children’s creativity.

5. Tagore’s educational philosophy emphasized the importance of imaginative teachers who understood children and encouraged their natural curiosity.

6. While Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi shared similar views on education, they differed in their approach to Western civilization.

7. Gandhi criticized Western worship of machines, while Tagore sought to integrate elements of Western modernity with Indian tradition at Santiniketan.

8. Santiniketan aimed to teach a wide range of subjects, including science, technology, art, music, and dance, reflecting Tagore’s holistic approach to education.

9. Many thinkers debated the concept of “national education,” with some advocating for reforms within the British system and others proposing alternative educational models aligned with Indian culture.

10. The definition of “national education” remained a subject of ongoing debate even after independence, highlighting the complexity of shaping an educational system that truly reflects the nation’s values and aspirations.

10 Important Dates and Events of the chapter Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation Notes

Find the important dates and events of the chapter Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation below:

Dates Events Brief
1783Arrival of William Jones in CalcuttaWilliam Jones, a linguist and scholar, arrives in Calcutta and begins studying Sanskrit texts, laying the foundation for Orientalist studies in British India.
1830sCriticism of OrientalismBritish officials like James Mill begin to criticize Orientalist views, arguing for the superiority of Western education and knowledge over traditional Indian learning.
1835English Education ActThe English Education Act is introduced, making English the medium of instruction for higher education in India and signaling a shift towards Western-style education.
1854Despatch of Wood Charles Wood issues the famous educational despatch, advocating for European learning and reforms in Indian education, leading to the modernization of the education system.
Late 18th-19th CenturyPathshala SystemThe traditional pathshala system of education flourishes in Bengal and Bihar, characterized by informal teaching methods and flexible structures.
Mid-19th CenturyBritish Intervention in
Vernacular Education
The British government intervenes in vernacular education, imposing standardized curricula, examinations, and disciplinary rules.
1857Rebellion of SepoysWhile the British are implementing educational reforms, the Indian Rebellion of 1857 erupts, challenging British authority and causing significant disruptions in education.
Late 19th CenturyDebate on National EducationIndian thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore engage in debates about national education, advocating for education in Indian languages and alternative educational models.
Early 20th CenturyEstablishment of SantiniketanRabindranath Tagore establishes Santiniketan as an alternative educational institution, emphasizing creativity, freedom, and harmony with nature.
Post-IndependenceContinuing Debate on
The debate on education continues even after independence, reflecting ongoing discussions about the balance between Western and Indian education models and the definition of “national education.”

Also Read: Working of Institutions Class 9 Notes


Q.1. What happened in chapter 6 of class 8 social history?

Ans: Chapter 6 of class 8 Social History discussed the changes in education during colonial times.

Q.2. What was civilizing the native education of the nation?

Ans: Civilizing the native education of the nation aimed to change the education system of colonized countries to match that of the colonisers.

Q.3. What is the concept of the civilizing mission?

Ans: The concept of the civilizing mission was about the belief that colonizers had a duty to bring civilization and progress to the colonised people through various means, including education.

Related Reads

NCERT Solutions Class 8 Civics Chapter 2 Understanding Secularism (Free PDF)NCERT Solutions and Notes for Class 7 Civics Chapter 3: How the State Government Works
NCERT Solutions and Notes Class 6 English Honeysuckle Unit 5 Notes (Free PDF)NCERT Solutions and Notes for Class 6 Geography Chapter 1: The Earth in the Solar System
NCERT Class 6 History: Chapter 6 New Questions and IdeasNCERT Class 6 Civics Chapter 6 ‘Urban Administration’: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)
What were the Diwani Rights?NCERT Class 9 Science Chapter 1 ‘Matter in Our Surroundings’ Notes (Free PDF) 

Follow Leverage Edu for complete study materials on CBSE Notes of Class 8 History. 

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *