Military Education in British India

'There is not a country' wrote Thomas in 1891 'where the love of learning had so early an origin or has exercised so lasting and powerful an influence'. According to him, The English found in India, a widespread style of elementary education and higher education, of which the former was mainly practical while the latter mainly literary, philosophical and religious.

For about 150 years, the British were involved in trade and conquest in India. The educational training of the Indian troops started with the establishment of the East India Company. The beginning of an educational system for the army in India can be traced to the establishment of the British Regimental Schools, which provided training to the British troops.

Some of the British Regiments had brought the sergeants who were called "The School Master", along with them for the purpose of imparting instructions to their troops. But the number of schoolmasters and mistresses were negligible in proportion to the strength of the troops. As a result, the commanding officers were permitted to appoint educationally qualified non-commissioned officers as acting masters. Thus, a new system of formal education of troops was started.

Education under the Crown

From 1774 to 1785 British East India Company opened a number of regimental centres for British and European troops. The East India Company did not bother too much about educating Indian sepoys. However, after the 1857 mutiny, the Queen took over the reigns as new ruler of India, from The East India Company. New and more army units with native Indian sepoys were raised. Far reaching changes took place in army education under the Crown. These were:

  1. Aims and objectives of educational training were defined for the first time.
  2. Organizational set up was worked out to keep pace with the developments of educational training from time to time.
  3. Army certificates were introduced and linked with pay and promotion.
  4. Roman Urdu was adopted as the medium of instruction for the army.
  5. Training directives were issued for implementation of the educational training.
  6. Army Educational Corps was raised in 1921 to train instructors for the British and Indian troops.

Indianization of Military Training

During the pre-independence period, the Indian army had a two fold pattern of training. The soldiers were recruited from different regions such as Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, and others. Each of these regiments had Regimental Centres where the troops received formal education and training. Separate Academies were built for officers.

Apart from these centres, a number of schools were also set up. These were:

  • Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun was founded in March 1922. This college provided basic school education and physical training for those who wanted to become officers in the Indian Armed forces.
  • Chail Military School (oldest military school) was established in February 1922.
  • Ajmer Military School
  • Belgaum Military School
  • Dholpur Military School
  • Sainik Schools were opened in each state as feeder institution for National Defence Academy, Pune after 1962 war.