In the previous article we have discussed Gandhiji’s WardhaScheme of Basic Education, 1937. Before that, the reports of the various committees and commissions suggested significant educational reforms in regard to national development.Government of India resolutions, 1913 was followed by Sadler Commission’s Report of 1917, and the Hartog Committee Report in 1929 and then by the Wardha Scheme, 1937. Keeping in view the reforms suggested by all these reports, the British Government had begun to understand the seriousness of the situation in the area of education. Ultimately in the middle forties the Government of India realised that it could no longer be indifferent to the problem of education of the Indian people and there was the need of bringing about radical reform in all aspects of Indian education. As the British became hopeful of its victory in the Second World War, it directed its attention to do something for the Indian people in the field of education. So it advised Sir John Sargent, the Educational Advisor to the Government of India, to prepare a comprehensive scheme of education for educational reform in India.
In this article we will discuss the major points of recommendations regarding pre-primary, primary, secondary, university and other aspects of education in our country as proposed in the Sargent Report, 1944. We will also evaluate the recommendations of this report.
FORMATION OF THE COMMITTEE
has been mentioned above that Sir John Sargent, the Educational Adviser to the Government of India was asked to prepare a comprehensive report on education. For the purpose, the government formed a Committee of Enquiry with 22 members. The report of the committee was submitted to the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in 1944. The Board accepted it in ‘toto’ and recommended its enforcement. The scheme was known as ‘Sargent Scheme of Education’ as it was prepared by John Sargent. It is also known as ‘Report by the Central Advisory Board of Education’ and also as the plan for post-war educational reconstruction in India.
This scheme has a historical importance as it was the first attempt to develop a National System for Education in India. The report of the Committee consisted of 12 different chapters covering from pre-primary to university education. It was a full fledged educational plan for the future educational reconstruction in India. The report had diagnosed every problem critically and had given definite and clear-cut solutions. It deals with almost all types of education for all classes of people in India. This was the first report that present a comprehensive picture of education in our country at that period of time. The report is undoubtedly a valuable educational document. Hence, it deserves a careful study.
It must be mentioned here that this plan is not entirely a new plan. It is rather the summery of different resolutions, minutes and proceedings of the CABE since 1936.
MAJOR PROPOSAL OF THE COMMITTEE AS A NATIONAL SCHEME OF EDUCATION
Let us discuss the major proposal of the committee—
The report had maintained that in a period of not less than 40 years, the standard of Indian education will be made equivalent to that of England. It had made certain policy decisions, the implications of which may have far reaching consequences. They may be outlined below—
- Pre-primary education for children between 3 to 6 years of age.
- Universal, compulsory and free primary or basic education for all children between the ages 6—11 (junior basic) and 11—14 (senior basic).
- High school education for six years for selected children between the years 11—17.
- Degree course for three years beginning after the higher secondary examination for selected students
- Technical, commercial, agricultural and art education for full time and part time students, girls schools are to teach domestic science.
- The liquidation of adult illiteracy and the development of public library system in about 20 years.
- Full provision for the proper training of teachers.
- Educational provision be made for the physically and mentally handicapped children.
- The organisation of compulsory physical education.
- Provision be made for social and recreational activities.
- The creation of employment bureaus.
- The creation of department of Education in the centre and in the states.
- The use of mother tongue is to be used as the medium of instruction in all high schools