instead of a large number of elementary schools led to the neglect of the
education of the masses. This was so because the government was not willing
to spend more than an insignificant sum on education. To cover up this defect
in their policy, the British took recourse to the so-called ‘Downward
Filtration Theory’ which meant that education and modern ideas were
supposed to filter or radiate downwards from the upper classes. In other
words, the few educated persons from the upper and middle classes were
expected to assume the task of educating the masses and spreading modern
ideas. This policy continued until the very end of the British rule in practical
terms, though it was officially (in theory only) abandoned in 1854.
Third Phase (1854–1900)
The Educational Despatch of 1854, also known as Wood’s Despatch (because
it was drafted by Sir Charles Wood, the then president of the Board of
Control, who later became the first secretary of state for India) and generally
considered as the ‘Magna Carta of English Education in India’, formed a
landmark in the history of modern education in India. It outlined a
comprehensive plan which supplied the basis for the subsequent development
of education system in India. This dispatch rejected the ‘filtration theory’ and
laid stress on mass education, female education and improvement of
vernaculars, and favoured secularisation of education and a coordinated
system of education from the lowest level (primary school) to the highest
stage (university). The second half of the 19th century witnessed the gradual
implementation of the policies laid down by the Despatch of 1854.
    Creation of education departments in the provinces of Bombay, Madras,
Bengal, NorthWestern Provinces and Punjab in 1855 and later in the new
provinces which were formed at a later date; organisation of the Indian
Education Service in 1897 to cover the seniormost posts; and establishment
of the Universities of Calcutta (January 1857), Bombay (July 1857), Madras
(September 1857), Punjab (1882) and Allahabad (1887) were some landmark
developments of this period.
    The Indian Education Commission of 1882, generally known as ‘Hunter
Commission’ (Sir W. W. Hunter was its President) was appointed by Lord
Ripon to enquire into the manner in which effect had been given to the