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Phase 1: Before 6 th century BCE: The Gurukulas of the Ancient Hindu Period

July 31, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

India has a long history of higher education that goes back to ancient times and even before
the Aryans. Not much is known about forms of education prior to the Aryans. However the
Aryans had well-developed systems of Higher Education (HE) and the institutions that
imparted this education while not being in the model of contemporary Higher Educational
Institutions (HEIs) will have been comparable to modern universities. These ancient Indian
institutions are traced back to the 7 th Century and include HEIs in Takshasila (in modern
Punjab), Vikramsila, Valabhi, Banaras and Kanchi. These institutions and their scholars will
have had international reputations that reached distant parts of India as well as neighbouring
kingdoms in modern day Tibet, China, Sri Lanka and Korea (Dongerkery 1967). This era is
described as the Brahmanic or Hindu era as the main objective of these institutions was the
study of the Hindu religion. The characteristic institution was the Gurukula. In addition to
teaching of the tenets and rituals of faith, Gurukulas had a balanced curricula including
teaching in the fields of philosophy, astrology, astronomy, medicine (Samuel 1983). During
this time the medium of instruction was Sanskrit, Pali and other historic Indian languages.


July 31, 2022
8:00 am - 5:00 pm