Where Did Education Start in the World?

If you are wondering where did education start in the world, you are not alone. In fact, studies show that education has been practiced in some countries as far back as the Middle Ages. Depending on your historical perspective, education can even go as far back as Vedic times. This article will discuss the history of education and the early forms of compulsory education. But since mankind started in Africa, education must have started in Africa.

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Early examples of educational technology

The use of text and writing in education has a long and storied history. In the 7th century BC, Moses used a chiseled stone to write down the ten commandments. Later, the printing press made it easier for educators to disseminate instructions to a larger society. Previously, the world’s educational system was based on chalk, slate, and blackboard, and simple instructional materials like hornbooks.

In the 1980s, the first learning management system was developed by Murray Turoff and Roxanne Hiltz at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The system provided space for learning objectives, assignment questions, and discussion forums. It was also one of the first mass-open online courses. The use of LMSs, as well as the availability of high-speed internet, helped the field advance. Eventually, MIT began making its recorded lectures freely available online. YouTube was created in 2005, and Google purchased it in 2006. It has become a popular platform for educational videos.

A typewriter, an example of mechanical technology, was first introduced into classrooms in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t used extensively throughout a student’s educational experience. However, it was used widely in business classes. In fact, typewriters were common in high schools until the 1990s. Despite their limited use, typewriters do share many similarities with computer-based technologies.

Middle Ages education

The concept of education in the Middle Ages was quite different from our own. In medieval times, education was largely a matter of passing on information from one generation to the next. In addition to teaching students the basics, education was also viewed as an important means to spiritual progress. This is evidenced by the numerous manuscripts of the time, which highlight the many aspects of early medieval systems of learning.

Charlemagne, for example, took education seriously and ordered his monks and priests to educate the children in his realm. He also ordered the formation of a standardized curriculum to help his subjects learn Latin. In addition, he ordered that the palace’s schoolmasters teach lessons in Christian theology and morality.

Vedic education

Vedic education started in ancient India and was a comprehensive education system that taught the children spiritual values, philosophies, and practical skills. It also included teachings in astrology, language, literature, and martial arts. Students also learned how to serve the gods and their ancestors and practiced yoga and archery.

The Vedas were composed during this period. Vedic society was patriarchal and patrilineal. They lived in small tribes and primarily relied on farming and a pastoral lifestyle. Their civilization is the oldest known civilization in the world. It was the foundation of Hindu philosophy and religion. Its pillars of knowledge remained unchanged until the rise of Islam in the 7th century CE. Later, however, the Vedic vision was threatened by British imperialism and colonialism. The British attempted to convert Indians to Protestant Christianity and expended great effort to suppress Hinduism and its practices.

The ancient Vedic education system was most commonly taught in gurukuls, a residential school system. The guru and the shishya lived in the same house or near each other. The guru-squishy relationship was considered sacred. Students usually attended a gurukul from the age of eight until their early 20s. A token of respect was given to the teacher by the student in the form of a guru Dakshina. The gurukuls were supported by donations from the public.

Ancient Greece

The earliest schools were likely private institutions, run by private teachers. However, by the 5th century B.C., schools had become common, and mention of them is found in the works of Herodotus and Pausanias. Schools were called didaskaleion, which means place of instruction. Students were separated into different groups, depending on their social class. For example, in ancient Athens, a rich boy would attend school in a separate building from poorer boys. Similarly, a young boy in the upper class would attend the Gymnasium, or assembly.

Ancient Greek school subjects were largely different from those of today. School subjects were taught by grammatistes, paidotribes, and kitharistes. These people were paid to teach specific subjects to children and were responsible for ensuring their success. As a result, Greek education was limited to a few key disciplines. The goal of education was to create ideal citizens, and the Greeks placed an emphasis on this.


Historically, the first schools were established in Ancient Rome around the middle of the 4th century BC. The initial focus was on socialization and rudimentary education. At that time, literacy rates were estimated to be one to two percent. There are few sources to trace the educational process during this time, but the Roman educational system was slowly coming into its own. Roman private schools grew in number, and the educational process gradually found its final form. Schools grew in size and formalized, serving paying students.

Before this, education was reserved for the wealthy. Boys were usually taught at a church school or tutored. Religion informed every subject studied. Some of the things students learned back then might be considered superstitions today. Nevertheless, they studied math, grammar, art, and science. They also played sports like archery and horseshoes.


The origins of education date back to thousands of years. It began with the use of ancient writing tools. The Romans used wax-covered writing boards, while the Middle East used clay tablets. In ancient China, the Xia dynasty began building schools for aristocrats and students. Monasteries were also places of great learning.

Romans began to recognize the importance of education and arranged schools in tiers. Quintilian recognized the importance of early education and noted that memory is particularly retentive at that age. As a result, Roman students studied in schools much like we do today. But unlike today, children in ancient Greece did not receive a complete education.

In the 1950s, the Communist Party of China oversaw the rapid expansion of primary education, changing the curriculum to emphasize practical skills in order to increase the productivity of future workers. In the same period, government officials noted that eradicating illiteracy was necessary for productivity.


History records the birth of education as early as the 1500s BC in India. Before that, education was based on hymns, formulas, and incantations that were recited by the priests of pre-Hindu tradition. Later, this tradition evolved into Hindu texts that incorporated the teachings of the Vedas. The goal of education was to achieve liberation.

Originally, school education was the exclusive domain of the state. In the 1830s, Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay introduced a modern school system, including the English language, in India. The curriculum focused on modern subjects, and metaphysics and philosophy were viewed as unnecessary. Schooling became more focused, and teachers were more confined to classrooms.

Education spread to other parts of the world. During the Middle Ages, two universities in England were founded, teaching seven subjects.

South Africa

Education in South Africa was first practiced in the late seventeenth century, when Dutch Reformed Church elders established the first schools in the Cape Colony. These religious leaders believed that a basic education in the Bible was necessary for church confirmation. They also employed itinerant teachers to teach basic literacy and math skills in rural areas. After the arrival of the London Missionary Society in 1799, British mission schools began to sprout throughout the country.

Today, South Africa’s Department of Education is attempting to address social justice and equity through curriculum reform, which has been adopted in Curriculum 2005. While eliminating overt racism from educational policies is an important step in reducing racial inequalities in education, more needs to be done to address other social inequalities.

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