To commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, November 11 is celebrated as the National Education Day in the country since 2008.
The National Education Day was announced on September 11, 2008 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, saying, “The ministry has decided to commemorate the birthday of this great son of India by recalling his contribution to the cause of education in India. November 11 every year, from 2008 onward, will be celebrated as the National Education Day, without declaring it a holiday.”
Various educational activities such as writing articles, 2 speeches, holding seminars and activities like quizzes and tests and games are organized to mark the day.
The day is also celebrated to raise awareness about the underprivileged children who don’t have access to good education or live in regions where good schools aren’t available.
Born on November 11, 1888, Abdul Kalam Azad served as the Education Minister from August 15, 1947 to February 2, 1958.
An academician and a freedom fighter, he considered schools as laboratories which produce future citizens of the country and, therefore, emphasised on quality education.
Considered as builder of modern India, he strongly advocated universal primary education, girls’ education, free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14, vocational training and technical education.
In 1912, he started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruit.
He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour the Bharat Ratna in 1992.
He had established some of the prominent educational and cultural institutions including the Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Also, the first IIT, IISc, School of Planning and Architecture and the University Grants Commission were established under his tenure as education minister.
In October 1920, Azad was elected as a member of foundation committee to establish Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in UP without taking help from British colonial government.