19 December 2016

The Hunter Commission 1882 on Primary Education

  The Hunter commission studied the problems of primary education from every angle and gave elaborate suggestion for its reforms. The education policy, the financing system, training of teachers, organisation and curriculum etc, were studied by the commission. Below we shall hint at some of the major recommendations of the commission:
Sir William Wilson Hunter

Policy for Primary education: The commission has observed that Primary Education should be related to life and should be practical and useful. Its purpose should be to make students self dependent and its curriculum should consist of such subjects which may further these goals. The student should be given primary education through the medium of their mother tongue. Persons who have received Primary Education should be given preference in services suitable for them. Primary Education will be encouraged by this step. So steps should be taken to develop Primary Education. The backward and tribal peoples should be encouraged to receive the Primary Education.

Management of the Primary Education: The Hunter Commission placed the responsibility of Primary Education on district boards, municipal boards and town areas. Thus it made the government free from its responsibility.

Training Schools: The commission urged the necessity of opening training schools for training of teachers; the commission rightly thought that training of teachers was necessary for development of Primary Education. In this connection it gave the following suggestions:

1.    Training school should be established at such places form where trained teachers may be made available for the areas where are no trained teachers. There should be at least one normal school within jurisdiction of each inspector of schools.
2.      Inspection of schools should take personal interest in the organisation and maintenance of normal schools.
3.    Normal schools should also get reasonable share of the grant sanctioned for primary education.

Curriculum: The Commission left the organisation of the curriculum on provincial governments with the suggestions that they should organise the same in their respective areas according to the needs of the locality concerned. But at the same time the Commission also suggested that subjects useful for life should be incorporated in the curriculum. It opined that agriculture, physical trigonometry, geography, medicine and accountancy should be included in the curriculum, because these subjects were closely related with life.

The Impact of the Recommendations of the Commission on Primary Education: The Hunter Commission changed the shape of Primary Education by bringing it under the local boards. This measure made the government free of any responsibilities for the same and gave an opportunity to the local boards to serve the people. Luckily, the local boards performed their task well and condition of primary education schools, the provincial governments had to release the grants sanction in their favour and they could not divert it to other purpose. This position eased the financial difficulty of primary schools up to some extent.

Indigenous Schools: At the time of Hunter Commission there were many indigenous institutions imparting education to people on the old traditional Indian pattern. The Commission regarded these schools as very useful for imparting primary education. So, it recommended financial grants for them.

Development of Primary Education:
            According to the recommendations of the Hunter Commission the responsibility for Primary Education was entrusted to the local bodies which were established in Great Britain at this time and the local bodies in India were formed on the same pattern. Generally, in the beginning of any new scheme, the progress appears to be very slow. So, the progress of Primary Education under the local bodies appeared to be very slow in the beginning. The Indigenous Schools were also brought under the control of the local boards according to the recommendations of the Hunter Commission. Great set back and they began to fade away from the scene. At places where they were added to the Government schools there also they lost their identity.
            In (1882) only 24 lacs of rupees and in (1902) 46 lacs were spent on Primary Education. Although the Hunter Commission had recommended full government financial assistance was almost negligible, as was evident form the fact that during the period of twenty years the government help was increased only by 22 lacs. The local boards were not rich. Hence, Primary Education did not progress satisfactorily.


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