New Delhi: The student community, academicians, intellectuals and people from different walks of life celebrate 11 November as National Education Day. National Education Day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education minister of independent India. He served as the education minister from 15 August 1947 to 2 February 1958.
The contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam towards the promotion of Indian education during the primitive stage of Independent India is immense. Under his leadership, the Ministry of Education established the first Indian Institute of Technology in 1951 and the University Grants Commission 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.
During freedom struggle, he also worked for Hindu-Muslim unity through the Al-Hilal newspaper and worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. In 1992 he was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. He is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad; the word Maulana is an honorific meaning ‘Our Master’, and he had adopted Azad (Free) as his pen name.
A number of institutions across India have also been named in his honour. Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in Bhopal, the Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad, Maulana Azad Centre for Elementary and Social Education (MACESE Delhi University), the Maulana Azad College and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology in Kolkata, and many others. The Ministry of Minority Affairs provides the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad National Fellowship, an integrated five-year fellowship in the form of financial assistance to students from minority communities to pursue higher studies in M Phil and PhD programmes.
The Union Government first in September 2008 declared 11 November, the Birth Anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, as the National Education Day. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed all universities and higher education institutions at all levels to be involved in the celebration of the National Education Day. The National Education Day celebration consists of organizing seminars, symposia, essay writing, elocution competitions, workshops and rallies with banners, cards and slogans on the importance of education and the nation’s commitment to all aspects of education.