Different Types of Educational Institutions in India
• Gurukul: Gurukul was the place where teachers lived and taught, just like a settled family.
• Parishads: These were places where students went for higher studies. Originally managed by three Brahmins, their numbers grew over time. Some Parishads even had twenty Brahmins who were experts in philosophy, theology, and law. One such example is the Sangam Parishad in Tamilnadu during the 1st century CE. Kings supported these gatherings.
• Goshti or Conferences: These were national meetings called by great kings. They invited representatives from different schools to share their ideas.
• Ashramas or Hermitages: Students from different parts of the country came together to learn at hermitages run by respected sages and saints. For instance, Bharadwaj’s Ashrama in Prayag.
• Vidyapeeta: These were institutions started by revered scholars for spiritual studies. Sri Shankara began such institutions in places like Sringeri, Kanchi, Dwarka, Puri, and Badri.
• Ghathikas: Teachers and students met and talked in these places. Learned scholars would gather to discuss and sometimes even argue.
• Agraharas: These were clusters of Brahmin houses in villages where teaching happened.
• Mathas: These places were mainly for living and learning both religious and worldly subjects. Mathas were connected to Shaiva and Vaishnava groups and were often linked to temples.
• Brahmapuri: These were settlements of knowledgeable Brahmins in towns and cities, or specific areas meant for education.
• Vihara: Viharas were Buddhist monasteries where teachings and philosophies of Buddhism were taught.
These different educational setups played a crucial role in shaping the knowledge landscape of their times, catering to various subjects and contributing to society’s broader understanding.