During the first quarter of nineteenth century a great controversy was going on regarding the nature of education and medium of instruction in schools and colleges.
The Orientalists led by Dr. H.H.Wilson and H.T. Princep advocated in favour of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian as the medium of education.
The Anglicists led by Charles Trevelyan, Elphinstone advocated the imparting of western education through the medium of English.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy advocated for the study of western education as the “key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of the modern west.”
Lord Macauley, the Law member to the Supreme Council of Calcutta was appointed Chairman of the Committee of Public Instruction.
He gave his verdict in favour of English as the medium of instruction and western education, literature and science as the subjects of study for the Indians.
Lord Macauley showed his hatred towards Oriental Literature when he said that, “a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.”
Lord William Bentick, the then Governor-General of India, approved Macauley’s recommendations.
Macauley had faith in the “infiltration theory”.
In 1842 a Council of Education was established in place of the Committee of Public Instruction.
During 1843-53, Mr. James Thomason, the Lieutenant Governor of North Western Provinces had introduced a comprehensive scheme of village education.
Under this scheme some villages were grouped in one unit and every Zamindar of the unit had to pay one percent cess on the revenue for the maintenance of the schools in his jurisdiction.
In 1835 Bentick had established a Medical College at Calcutta.