The Evolution of Education – Learning Machine

The first things that come to our mind when we see a child include which school is he or she from, which grade are they in, how is their performance in school, etc. Right after the health of a child, their education is one of the primary concerns of a parent.

If we have to understand why modern schools are the way they are, we have to dig into the history and evolution of education.

In ancient times, when human beings were hunter-gatherers, there was no organized education system. Children learned on their own by a method of self-exploration and experience. But as agriculture rose and people started settling in permanent dwellings, the concept of
community and social life developed. Also with the advent of language and writing, it became a trend to pass on the knowledge of the ancestors to the next generation. That’s how the concept of education came into being.


The first great change or revolution came in Sumer, Mesopotamia, circa 2000BC, where the first schools were reported. These schools mainly taught writing and were considered a luxury, only the privileged were allowed to enjoy.

The concept of schools as we understand today played an important role in ancient Greece and Rome. They shed all their links with religious institutions, giving way to a more unorthodox style of learning.

Comprehensive education was provided by means of instruction in vocations that allowed pupils to fully integrate their knowledge in society. Different subjects like Arithmetic, Music and Physical Education were taught in a model similar to our education system where knowledge was transmitted by a great teacher. However, this form of education was only reserved for the elite.

In India, the system of study was “Gurukuls” where students went to live with their teachers and at the end of their course, which mainly involved learning the verses from the Vedas, the students were required to pay their dues or “Gurudakshina”, as a sign of respect to their teacher.


In the early middle ages, the Roman Catholic Church was the main center of literacy and education. Monastic schools, run by monks, maintained Latin learning and preserved the art of writing. These schools later developed into universities, like Cambridge.

The Middle East made huge progress in education at this time. Madrasas or Islamic Mosque Schools were set up where the Quran was taught.

India witnessed the flourishing of higher education at this point in time. The universities like Nalanda, Takshashila and Ujjain became seats of learning for students from all around the world. Students from all social class were allowed to attend these universities.


A major turning point in the evolution of education came in the 18th century when King Fredrick William II of Prussia announced a reform which liberated education from the controls of the Clergy and established a Ministry of Education.

It also made primary education compulsory for all children, with a view of offering basic education to all, except the students who demonstrated bad conduct.


Today, there is some form of compulsory education in almost all countries. The percentage of illiteracy has also declined rapidly in the past few decades because of this system of compulsory education.

This era must also be noted in history because of the widespread use of technology in education. This is not only important in the developed countries, but also in the developing and underdeveloped ones.