Bookmark :Introspection of Indian Education
|Evolution of Indian Education from Colonial stranglehold to Resurgent India (A critical study in a historical perspective of the development of Indian Education during the period 1813-2013),Prof Jagdish Lal Azad, Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd., Pp 384, Rs1,150|
When a world is torn apart by wars and nations are gasping in clutches of fundamentalism, it is imperative for one to revisit socio-economic development of a nation. Education is the mirror of society which reflects its socio-economic and political ambitions. When a new India is resurging, Prof. Jagdish Lal Azad tries to throw light on progress of Indian education during colonial rule, as well as post Independence.
|The book is treasure for everyone who is curious about the country,it’s people and the overall education system.|
Azad follows two part scheme in his 18 chapters book. The first part deals with education during colonial rule. It analyses the education policy of colonial masters, progress under various sector of education, finance, significant events that impacted Indian education, ideas of luminaries that changed the course of education, etc.
The book explores education policy in the first chapter. Sir Charles Grant gave ‘healing principle’ of civilising Indian society which according to him was rotten to its core, debased and corrupt. A superior light of Christianity was his prescription. Thomas Macaulay wanted to develop a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in tastes, morals and intellect in the country. He hoped that there would not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal ,thirty years after formulation of the policy. However, both failed to recognise resilience of Hinduism which has withstood the onslaught of foreign rule for about ten centuries. The Charter Act of 1813 made a promise of Rs one lakh for revival of literature-science and for encouragement of learned natives. It proved to be a post dated cheque and was fulfilled ten years later.
The Despatches of 1854 and 1859, Colville Committee, Indian Education Commission, Resolution of 1904, Inchcape Committee and other important developments are discussed in detail in the work. Writer has explored various sectors like elementary education, secondary education, higher education including technical one and adult education with special focus on gender, region, finance etc. The grant in aid system is also discussed. The book mentions the government expenditure to be in the realm of about 60 per cent of the total expenditure. The total expenditure during 1886-87 was Rs. 2.52 crore, which increased to Rs 4.01 crore (1901) and Rs 58 crore in 1947. Bulk of expenditure was on school education. Collegiate education was accorded lowest priority. Per capita expenditure rose from Rs 0.105 in 1916-17 to Rs 1.4 in 1946-47. The First War of India’s Independence of 1857, natural calamities like plague and famines, the Two World Wars, Non- Cooperation Movement, etc were some of the key factors that impacted Indian education. Inchcape Committee even recommended closing down of Delhi University and abolition of the Central Advisory Board of Education. The writer also portrays a live debate regarding a Bill for free and compulsory education introduced by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in the Imperial Legislative Council; efforts of luminaries like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Jamsetji Tata, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Gandhi etc. Wardha Model of Basic Education is examined critically in the work.
In the second part, “Education in Independent India”, writer reviews the entire gamut of education: its progress, problems and perspective in light of social, political and constitutional developments. This includes planning, ushering of new economic policy with liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, and the constitutional reforms culminating into Right to Education Act. Readers are told that in 1951, only 40 per cent of children in age group 6-11, 10 per cent in age group 11-17 and 0.9 per cent in age group 17-23 were provided with some sort of educational facilities. The literacy rate was very low i.e. 17.2 per cent and enrolment of girls was abysmally low.
From about Rs 58 crore in 1946-47, the total expenditure on education has risen to Rs 2,39,783 crore in 2009-10. Writer also stressed need to shift role and responsibilities of Arnold Goldsmith’s village school master to teacher of new millennium based on ideas of Rig Veda and Sri Aurobindo. As the challenges of new millennium are vast and varied along with remnants of past slavery, much will depend upon how our educational system will rise to meet new challenges.