New Delhi: November 11 is celebrated as India's National Education Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of the country's first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad whose visionary contributed much to the country's education system.
He is also remembered as the founding figure of nation building through education. An ardent freedom fighter who stood along with other luminaries for the cause of independent India, Azad rose to prominence through his work as a journalist, publishing works critical of the British Raj and espousing the causes of Indian nationalism.
As India's first Minister of Education, he emphasised educating the rural poor and girls. As Chairman of the Central Advisory Board of Education, he gave thrust to adult literacy, universal primary education, free and compulsory for all children up to the age of 14, girl's education, and diversification of secondary education and vocational training.
He oversaw the setting up of the Central Institute of Education, Delhi, which later became the Department of Education of the University of Delhi as "a research centre for solving new educational problems of the country".
Under his leadership, the Ministry of Education established the first Indian Institute of Technology in 1951 and the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1953. He also laid emphasis on the development of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Faculty of Technology of the Delhi University. He also worked for the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and foresaw a great future in the IITs for India.
Maulana Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al-Hussaini Azad was also, Islamic theologian, writer and senior leader of the Indian National Congress.
He was posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in 1992.
On National Education Day 2021, Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan paid their tributes to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.