From naming ‘IIT’ to setting up of UGC: Initiatives by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Bharat Ratna awardee and India’s first Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was not only an educationalist but also a journalist. Homeschooled for the early part of his life, Azad is considered to be the father of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) which are still considered among the best Indian educational institutes. Here is a look at some of the major initiatives taken by him in setting up the Indian education system.
Naming IITs – When India was looking to set up higher educational institutes which would impart knowledge in the field of science and technology, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-like (MIT) model was thought of. The name ‘Indian Institute of Technology’ was adopted by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad before the inauguration of the institutes. The first Indian Institutes of Technology – IIT Kharagpur came into establishment in 1950.
Establishing UGC – A committee headed by S Radhakrishnan under the leadership of Azad as HRD Minister suggested extending the Universities Grant Commission (UGC)’s role to supervise work of all Indian varsities, make recommendations and grant funds. Earlier, UGC looked after three central universities, namely Aligarh, Benaras and Delhi.
DU and IISc – He laid the foundation stone of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in 1909, then known as the Tata Institute and granted deemed university status in 1958. Azad also oversaw the setting up of the ‘Central Institute of Education, Delhi’, which later became part of University of Delhi (DU) as the Department of Education. He was also a member of the foundation committee to establish Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in UP.
Minority community – A supporter of education for poor, women and minority communities, Azad had said, “It is a birthright of every individual to receive at least the basic education without which he cannot fully discharge his duties as a citizen.”
To honour his efforts, Ministry of Minority Affairs of the Central Government of India set up the Maulana Azad Education Foundation to promote education among educationally backward sections of the society. The Ministry also provides the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad National Fellowship, an integrated five-year fellowship in the form of financial assistance to students from minority communities to pursue higher studies. The education institutes include Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, the Maulana Azad College among others.
Courtesy : The Indian Express