Topic outline

    • Civilising the “Native”, Educating the Nation

      Q40. What measures did the Company undertake to improve the system of vernacular education?
      How were the irregularities of pathshalas checked by the Company?

      Ans. Measures taken by the Company to improve the system of vernacular education were:

                                i.        It appointed a number of government pandits, each in charge of looking after four to five schools. The task of the pandit was to visit the pathshalas and try and improve the standard of teaching.

                               ii.        Each guru was asked to submit periodic reports and take classes according to a regular timetable.

                              iii.        Teaching was now to be based on textbooks and learning was to be tested through a system of annual examination.

                              iv.        Students were asked to pay a regular fee, attend regular classes, sit on fixed seats, and obey the new rules of discipline.

      Q41. What type of education did Mahatma Gandhi want in India?

      Ans. Mahatma Gandhi’s views on education

                               i.        Mahatma Gandhi wanted an education that could help Indians recover their sense of dignity and self-respect.

                              ii.        Mahatma Gandhi strongly felt that Indian languages ought to be the medium of teaching. Education in English crippled Indians, distanced them from their own social surroundings, and made them “strangers in their own lands”. Speaking a foreign tongue, despising local culture, the English educated did not know how to relate to the masses.

                              iii.        He argued that education ought to develop a person’s mind and soul. Literacy – or simply learning to read and write – by itself did not count as education. People had to work with their hands, learn a craft, and know how different things operated. This would develop their mind and their capacity to understand.

      Q42. What was the importance of Wood's despatch?

      Ans. Importance of Wood's despatch

                               i.        One of the practical uses the Despatch pointed to was economic. European learning, it said, would enable Indians to recognise the advantages that flow from the expansion of trade and commerce, and make them see the importance of developing the resources of the country. Introducing them to European ways of life, would change their tastes and desires, and create a demand for British goods, for Indians would begin to appreciate and buy things that were produced in Europe.

                               ii.        Wood’s Despatch also argued that European learning would improve the moral character of Indians. It would make them truthful and honest, and thus supply the Company with civil servants who could be trusted and depended upon.

      Q43. What was the report of William Adam about education in vernacular schools?
      Write a short note on the report of William Adam regarding education system prevalent in India.

      Ans. The report Adam produced is interesting.

                                i.        Adam found that there were over 1 lakh pathshalas in Bengal and Bihar. These were small institutions with no more than 20 students each. These institutions were set up by wealthy people, or the local community. At times they were started by a teacher (guru).

                               ii.        The system of education was flexible. There were no fixed fee, no printed books, no separate school building, no benches or chairs, no blackboards, no system of separate classes, no rollcall registers, no annual examinations, and no regular time-table. In some places classes were held under a banyan tree, in other places in the corner of a village shop or temple, or at the guru’s home.

                               iii.        Teaching was oral, and the guru decided what to teach, in accordance with the needs of the students. Students were not separated out into different classes: all of them sat together in one place. The guru interacted separately with groups of children with different levels of learning.

                               iv.        Adam discovered that this flexible system was suited to local needs. For instance, classes were not held during harvest time when rural children often worked in the fields.