National Education Day : Remembering Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad

Celebrating National Education Day to mark the birth anniversary of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad

National Education Day is celebrated every year on November 11, 2020, in India. This day is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was a reformer, freedom fighter, scholar and committed to build the nation through education. He served the country as the first Minister of Education in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet. He served office from August 15,1947 to February 2, 1958. He was also a journalist and a poet.

Azad was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1888. His family relocated to Calcutta to provide him a better education. In 1912, Azad started Al-Hilal, a weekly published to criticise the British policies. After it was banned, he started another weekly Al-Bagah, following which the British government banned him under the Defence of India Regulations in 1916. National education day is also a tribute to all the great contributions made by Maulana Abdul Azad in the field of the education system of Independent India. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education) on September 11, 2008, decided to commemorate the birthday of this great son of India by recalling his contribution to the cause of education in India and started celebrating this day as National Education Day.

Azad is responsible for shaping the modern education system of the country. The first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure as the education minister. The cultural and literary academies including The Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy as well as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations were built under the foresight of Azad. Azad strongly advocated for the education of women. In 1949, in the Central Assembly, he emphasised the importance of imparting instruction in modern sciences and knowledge. He also said that national education could be appropriate only through women education, then only the society advance. Understanding the fundamental role education plays in the development of the nation, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as the Chairman of Central Advisory Board of Education, gave impetus to Adult Education and Literacy. Not only did he lay emphasis on elementary education but also propogated diversification of secondary education and vocational training.