Caste, Colonialism and Schooling: Education in British India

27 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2012

Date Written: May 2012


This chapter reviews the development of enrollment and literacy in the colonial period with a focus on British India. Beginning in the 1850’s numerous acts were passed, various recommendations were made, and public and private funds were used to increase mass literacy. But, the outcome was disappointing — only 10 percent of the population could read and write by 1931. I identify potential factors responsible for this disappointing performance. Low public spending, a strong emphasis on secondary education and the presence of numerous castes and religions collectively appear to have constrained the development of human capital in India.

Keywords: Colonia India, Education, Returns, Caste

JEL Classification: N35, N45, O15, I24

Suggested Citation

Chaudhary, Latika, Caste, Colonialism and Schooling: Education in British India (May 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Latika Chaudhary (Contact Author)

Naval Postgraduate School ( email )

1 University Circle
Monterey, CA 93043
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics