Indian Education, Past and Present

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    THREE lectures on “Some Aspects of Indian Education, Past and Present” by Sir Philip Hartog, sometime vice-chancellor of the University of Dacca and president of the Auxiliary Committee of the Indian Statutory Commission on the Growth of Education of 1928-29, have recently been published in the “Studies and Reports” series of the University of London Institute of Education (London: Oxford University Press. Pp. 110. 3s. 6d.). The lectures, originally delivered in 1935, have been revised and brought up to date and supplemented with memoranda designed to remove, if possible, the imaginary bases for the accusation made by Mr. Gandhi and others that the British Government systematically destroyed an indigenous system of elementary schools and with it a literacy which the schools are presumed to have created. Among the many factors which have militated against the success of Indian educational policies, Sir Philip stresses the extreme lengths to which the policy of devolution was carried with a blind faith that local bodies would learn by making mistakes, the amenability of the Government to pressure exercised by the vocal middle classes in favour of diverting to secondary and higher education funds which ought to have gone to primary education, the extent to which universities have been financially dependent on examination fees and the overcrowding of universities with students who ought never to have been admitted. It has been said that the nineteenth century Liberal thought he knew the final truths about education and failed to recognize that it must serve the community as well as the individual. Sir Philip mentions several hopeful indications, including the work of the social service leagues which he helped to establish at Dacca, of the springing up in Indian educational circles of a new spirit of service to the community.

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    Indian Education, Past and Present. Nature 143, 931–932 (1939) doi:10.1038/143931d0

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