National Education Day: A Profound Tribute to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

National Education Day: A Profound Tribute to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad


To honor Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Ministry of Human Resource Development announced 11th November as ‘National Education Day’ on 11th September 2008. The announcement released by the Ministry said, “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 from 2008 onwards, will be celebrated as the National Education Day, without declaring it a holiday, every year.

In the intricate tapestry of our nation’s history, certain dates are etched with indelible ink, carrying the weight of significance that transcends time and memory. November 11th, a date that stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of one of India’s foremost leaders and scholars, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, is such a day. On the 11th of November each year, India observes ‘National Education Day,’ a day that encapsulates the complexity and diversity of our educational journey.


The genesis of National Education Day can be traced back to a poignant moment in the annals of Indian history. It was on the 11th of September in 2008 when the Ministry of Human Resource Development, with profound deliberation, declared the 11th of November as ‘National Education Day.’ A seemingly simple pronouncement, yet one that carries the gravitas of commemorating the birth anniversary of Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the inaugural Minister for Education in independent India.

National Education Day: History

It’s worth diving deeper into the mosaic of history that surrounds Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Born on the 11th of November in 1888, he wasn’t just a towering figure in the Indian freedom struggle; he was a polymath – a scholar and a poet who wielded both pen and protest with equal mastery. His legacy is entwined with the very foundations of modern India, for he was not only a freedom fighter but also the harbinger of educational transformation.

About Shri Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

As the first Minister for Education of independent India, from 1947 to 1958, Maulana Azad left an indelible mark on the nation’s educational landscape. His vision extended far beyond the immediate post-independence era; it was a vision of empowerment through knowledge and enlightenment. During his tenure, he initiated a plethora of measures aimed at bolstering primary and secondary education, fostering scientific learning, establishing universities, and promoting avenues for advanced research and higher studies. In recognition of his tireless endeavors for education and social upliftment, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was posthumously bestowed with India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, in 1992.

International Education Day

The Maulana’s contributions also extended to the cultural sphere. He was instrumental in setting up institutions like the Sahitya Akademi, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Lalit Kala Akademi, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. His vision was instrumental in the establishment of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology.

International Education Day

Yet, the celebration of education isn’t confined to national boundaries. The United Nations, in its infinite wisdom, has designated the 24th of January as the ‘International Day of Education,’ a day that underscores the pivotal role of education in fostering peace and development. The inaugural celebration of this day took place in 2019, serving as a global reminder that without inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education, gender equality and the eradication of poverty remain elusive dreams.

National Education Day: Celebration

As we return to the shores of India, we find ‘National Education Day’ celebrated with fervor in schools across the nation. The day serves as a crucible for the dissemination of knowledge, achieved through seminars, engaging activities, project work, and the crafting of insightful essays.

The theme for 2023

In 2023, as we approach the fifth International Day of Education, the theme resonates with poignant significance: “To invest in people, prioritize education.” This theme builds upon the momentum generated by the UN Transforming Education Summit in September 2022, urging political mobilization and concrete actions to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

The year 2023 marks the mid-point

As the mid-point of the UN’s 2030 Agenda approaches, the world faces growing inequalities, a climate crisis, and the aftermath of a global recession. The need to prioritize education is starkly evident. A crisis in education looms large, with six out of 10 children unable to read a simple story at the age of 10, 244 million children and youth still deprived of education, and a precipitous decline in youth employment.

The cost of under-investment in education…

In this crucible of challenges, the cost of under-investment in education looms ominously. The theme “to invest in people, prioritize education” is a clarion call to action, a plea to safeguard our common future. It beckons us to uphold the promise of education, a beacon that can illuminate the path to a brighter and more equitable world.

In conclusion, ‘National Education Day’ is not just a date on the calendar; it is a tribute to a visionary leader and a celebration of the power of education to transform societies. It intertwines the stories of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Minister for Education of independent India, and the global commitment to education as a cornerstone of peace and development. As we navigate the complexities of our times, let us heed the call to invest in education, for it is the currency that can truly shape the destiny of nations and individuals alike.



  1. What is National Education Day, and why is it celebrated?

National Education Day is celebrated on November 11th every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was India’s first Minister for Education. It is celebrated to honor his significant contributions to the field of education in India.


  1. Who was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and why is he celebrated on this day?

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a prominent leader of the Indian freedom struggle, a scholar, and a poet. He played a crucial role in shaping the educational landscape of independent India. National Education Day is celebrated on his birthday to recognize his pivotal contributions to education.


  1. How was Maulana Azad involved in the development of education in India?

As the first Minister for Education of independent India, Maulana Azad implemented various measures to promote primary and secondary education, scientific education, the establishment of universities, and the growth of research and higher studies. His work laid the foundation for India’s educational institutions and policies.


  1. What is the significance of International Education Day?

International Education Day, celebrated on January 24th, highlights the global importance of education in promoting peace and development. It emphasizes the need for inclusive and equitable quality education worldwide.


  1. How is National Education Day celebrated in India?

National Education Day is observed in schools across India with various activities such as seminars, projects, essay writing, and awareness campaigns. The goal is to emphasize the importance of education in society.


  1. What is the theme for the International Day of Education in 2023, and why is it important?

The theme for 2023 is “to invest in people, and prioritize education.” It underscores the urgency of investing in education to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and addresses global challenges like inequality and climate change.


  1. Why is there a call to prioritize education in 2023?

2023 marks the midpoint between the adoption of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the SDG Summit in September. The call to prioritize education is crucial due to growing inequalities, the climate crisis, and economic challenges, which make education a key driver for progress.


  1. What are the current challenges in the field of education highlighted in the article?

The article mentions several challenges, including a crisis in education with children struggling to read, a significant number of children and youth out of school, and a decline in youth employment. These challenges underscore the need for immediate action to improve education systems.


  1. How can individuals contribute to the promotion of education in their communities?

Individuals can contribute by supporting educational initiatives, volunteering in schools, mentoring students, advocating for better educational policies, and fostering a culture of lifelong learning in their communities.


  1. What is the main message conveyed by the article?

The article emphasizes the importance of education, celebrates the contributions of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and calls for global and national efforts to prioritize education as a means to address various challenges and shape a better future for all.

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