In this course, we attempt to hone a historical understanding of the many forces that shaped the modern world as we know it, and the making of mass education in different contexts. Looking at historical developments since circa 1800, we see how capitalist industrialisation, bureaucracy, the formation of nation states and the rise of social democracy shaped educational institutions, using examples from Prussia, Japan, UK and Soviet Russia on our way to modern India. What are the roots of modern school education systems and routes taken by India, and what were their colonial underpinnings? How did education transform from its precolonial times through the Independence movement and social reforms? Comparative historical perspectives give us an opportunity to understand how and why education systems were organized differently in different countries. This course gives special focus to the struggles of marginalised groups – women and Dalits – in their quest for education.