|Vol. III, No. 50 23 Sharavan 2007, August 7, 1950, Annas Four – Air Mail-/4/6|
The Abdullah Government have decided to stop all grants to Government-aided educational institutions, the number of which in Srinagar city, the district place of Anantnag and the district place of Baramula alone is more than double the total number of Government schools. The number of the aided institutions is more than 30. The students too are in vast majority in the aided schools, numbering nearly 6,000 as against 3,000 receiving education in Government schools. The Government has sent a note to all the aided schools to this effect. The Aided Institutions Re-organisation Committee, in a resolution passed recently, has declared the proposed executive measure in the field of Education by the Government as ‘retrograde, arbitrary, anti-national and lacking in political and social foresight’. Besides, 400 teachers of the aided institutions met the chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah and made him aware of the grave consequences that might follow the implementation of the ordinance. Sh. Abdullah is reported to have said : “The Government is resolute in seeing it done because the New Kashmir programme allows nothing less and nothing else.” The teachers are said to have returned ‘disappointed’. The public too are painfully surprised at this step of the Government, for it is likely to retard and not accelerate the pace of education.
The plan of the State Government, would give one High School, one middle School and a primary school to each of the eight wards of the city of Srinagar. Evidently, this mathematical distribution of the schools is based on the hypothesis that the population of the city is equally distributed among the eight wards which is not the case at all. The private schools now in existence took root according to the needs of the different parts of the city, and if the new plan is executed, there is bound to be overcrowding in some schools and corresponding depletion in others. This will mean a lot of inconvenience to the student community and create serious difficulties in the management of the over-crowded schools. Furthermore, many of the teachers now employed in these Aided Schools will be thrown out of employment and economic distress now prevailing in the State will be accentuated. Financially the Government will gain little from the change, for while the number of schools will be reduced, the student population will remain unchanged and though part of the staff for the new schools can be obtained from the existing over-staffed Government schools, the new institutions will cost enormously more than the private institutions of equal size.
Besides private institutions have always shown a superior percentage in Matriculation results as compared with the results of other institutions. The argument advanced that private schools are merely coaching institutions and cannot impart real education, cannot hold good in the face of a comparison of the records of the aided schools of Srinagar with leading Government High Schools.
In fact no Government High School has been able to approach even distantly the standards of physical and moral education achieved by aided high schools. We shudder at the prospect of these schools with glorious traditions and magnificent records of service to the country passing into utter oblivion.
The reason why these private institutions show better all-round results than Government institutions is obvious. The former are impelled and inspired by a lofty sense of social service and high ideals, while the motive power behind the latter is mostly mercenary and the aim is hardly distinguishable from the hackneyed routine work culminating in the mere passing of examinations. It is said by protagonists of the new plan that the so-called nationalisation of education is necessary for sinking the communal antipathies in the country.
In fact communal consciousness and the sense of separatism between the votaries of different faiths is born in the home, and actively nursed in mosques and churches. How does the Government propose to deal with these aspects of the problem? No religion teaches or is supposed to teach the cult of harted between man and man. On the other hand every known religion claims the doctrine of human brotherhood as its speciality and if the Government takes care to see that this doctrine is actually propagated in these schools, it could not have a better agency for the propagation of human brotherhood and national unity.
National interests demand that these institutions should be left undisturbed and allowed to work on their own special lines, subject to the one overriding condition that they positively inculcate communal harmony and national unity in their alumni. This would be quite in keeping with the Government’s clearly declared policy of secularism.