Why National Education Day is celebrated on November 11

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The National Education Day is observed annually on November 11 in India. From its history, significance to theme, here is all you need to know about this day.

Why is National Education Day celebrated?

In India, National Education Day is celebrated every year on November 11 as it marks the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was India’s first education minister after independence.

Born on November 18, 1888, Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al-Hussaini Azad was an Indian independence activist, writer and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress. After the nation gained independence, he became the first Minister of Education in the Indian government. He served as the education minister from August 15, 1947 till February 2, 1958, and passed away in Delhi on February 22, 1958.

The day is observed to celebrate the work done by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in the education sector during his tenure as the education minister. In 1920, he was elected as a member of the foundation committee to establish Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh in UP. He also assisted in shifting the university campus from Aligarh to New Delhi in 1934. Now, the main gate of the campus is named after him.

As the first Indian education minister, Azad’s main focus in post-independence India was educating the rural poor and girls. Other key areas where he focused were adult literacy, free and compulsory for all children up to the age of 14, universal primary education, and diversification of secondary education and vocational training.

“We must not for a moment forget, it is a birthright of every individual to receive at least the basic education without which he cannot fully discharge his duties as a citizen,” he said addressing a conference on All India Education on 16 January 1948.

He also oversaw the establishment of the Department of Education of the University of Delhi, the first Indian Institute of Technology in 1951 and the University Grants Commission in 1953.