The Sargent Scheme has been the most comprehensive scheme, so far presented by the Government for the development and expansion of Indian education. It presented a very detailed scheme of educational reconstruction from top to bottom, from primary to universities, and higher technical institutions.
It touched every aspect of Indian education. ‘It is the first comprehensive scheme of national education’, Wrote K.G. Saiyidin, “it does not start with the assumption that India was destined to occupy a place of educational inferiority in the comity of nations: it is based on the conviction that what other countries have achieved in the field of education is well within the competence of this country.”
It is said about the report that it was not an original document. It was a patchwork of different reports published from time to time by the Central Advisory Board of Education to consider the different aspects of Indian educational problems.
So far as the Basic education is concerned it is the summary of the useful suggestions made by previous reports and schemes including the Wardha Scheme.
The scheme was not accepted because the time of 40 years was required to implement it and the educational public leaders did not like to lengthen the period of attaining mass literacy to such an extent.
Had the scheme been implemented, at least some targets would have been achieved; the percentage of illiterates would have gone down. But the scheme was not given a fair trial and the reform in education was delayed. The main recommendations of the Sargent Report about Basic education are given below:
Recommendations Regarding Basic Education:
1. Provision should be made for free and compulsory primary or basic education for all children between the ages of 6 and 14.
2. The course of basic education should be divided into parts: Junior Basic and Senior Basic, the former to be given to all children between the ages 6-11 and the latter to be given to those who could not proceed to high school.
3. Basic Education should not be expected to pay for itself through the sale of articles produced by the pupils.
4. The basic craft to be taught should be suitable to local conditions.
5. Mother-tongue should be the medium of instruction of Senior and Junior Basic Schools.
6. The education imparted should be general and emphasis should not be laid on the teaching of 3 R’s only.
7. English should not be taught in Junior Basic Schools. It can be taught in Senior Basic Schools only when the
8. Education Department of the Province gives its decision in its favour.
9. The standards of training, recruiting and conditions of service of teachers should be raised.
10. In place of external examinations there should be internal examinations and successful candidates should be awarded certificates.
11. Attendance officers should be appointed to introduce compulsion.
12. The Senior Basic Schools should provide for corporate living. Physical training, organising of games are essential to supplement the instruction given in the class room.
Recommendations Regarding Secondary Education
The main recommendations regarding Secondary education are given below:
1. Secondary education should be for 6 years for selected students between age 11 and 17.
2. Admission to secondary schools should be made on selective basis and only promising students, about 20% of the children, attending Junior Basic schools should be admitted to High Schools.
3. High schools shall be of two types-Academic High Schools and Technical High Schools.
4. Every child entering a High School remains there till the age of 14 compulsorily. Even after this period steps should be taken to see that children are not withdrawn from the school before the completion of the course.
5. Subjects in the Academic High School as well as in the Technical should be common; for example, mother-tongue, English, Modern Indian Languages, Indian and World History, Indian and World Geography, Science, Mathematics, Agriculture, Economics, Music, Art and Physical Training.
The Technical High Schools should include Science, Wood work, Metal work, Elementary Engineering, Drawing, Book keeping, Type writing, Short Hand, Accountancy, Commercial, Practice, and Domestic Science
6. High School leavers should receive an education that will fit them for direct entry into occupations and professions.
7. High school education should not be preliminary to university education and should be complete in itself.