Significance of the Despatch

The Wood’s Despatch remains one of the most significant documents in the history of Indian Education. It was for the first time that comprehensive scheme encompassing all the major aspects of Indian education was presented. “The Despatch is so comprehensive in its nature that educationists have not yet succeeded in fulfilling the tasks, which it had set. It provided a scheme which tried to touch all aspects of Indian education, rightly defined the comparative position of English and Indian languages in a general scheme of education for this country.”

The following merits may be pointed out:

  • The Despatch is considered to be the ‘Magna Carta of English education in India’. It admitted that the education of people is the duty of the state. It suggested a complete system of education for the country.
  • The establishment of the D.P.I, office resulted in better performance and greater co-ordination of work.
  • Education of women was given the first place.


  • Most of the suggestions were not carried out. These were found to be too ambitious.
  • Indian languages and Indian culture continued to be backward and neglected while English dominated. Over all, the Despatch laid the foundations of English education in India.

We may conclude in the words of H.R. James: “The Despatch of 1854 is thus the climax in the history of Indian education. What goes before leads up to it, what comes after follows from it.”

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