National Education Day
National Education Day in India is celebrated on November 11. It marks the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who served as the first Minister of Education of India from 1947 to 1958. Abul Kalam Azad was born on November 11, 1888. The word “Maulana” is not part of his name, but an honorific that means “learned man”. As a young man, he was interested in literature, philosophy, religion, and journalism. After getting acquainted with Mahatma Gandhi, Azad became involved in Indian independence movement. When India gained independence in 1947, Azad was appointed as the country's first Minister of Education. He was responsible for establishing a national educational system. He laid special emphasis on educating poor children from rural areas and providing girls with access to education. Azad introduced free primary education and established modern higher education institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology. He is also credited with the establishment of the University Grants Commission. National Education Day was instituted to recognize Azad's contributions. On this day, various events are held at schools and higher education institutions across India. Best teachers and students are presented special awards on the occasion.