India has made little or no progress in field of education. We are more or less still far away from our avowed goal of education for all the inhabitants of this vast country. We are still following the same old system which was introduced by Lord Macaulay in 1853 to produce cheap clerks. Educated Indian still run after government jobs. When they cannot get one, there is frustration and discontentment. The standard of education is going down day-by-day. Indiscipline is rife amongst students. There are strikes and acts of violence. The whole structure of education seems to be on the breaking point. Ours is a democratic form of government. Everyone high and low can aspire for the highest place in the government if he or she is fit for it. If I become a Minister of Education, I would bring about many changes in the education pattern of the country.
First I would improve the lot of teachers. Teachers are the pivots on whom the whole structure of education revolves. If the teachers are unhappy they cannot give their best to the pupils under their charge. I shall, therefore, increase the salaries of all categories of teachers so that they have not to run here and there to supplement their income. Theirs is an honourable profession and it should be recognised as such in society. I shall see that their pay scales are in no way inferior to those who are working in other departments. That is also the only way in which we can attract talented young men to this profession. I am sure that a contented teacher would be a great asset to the country.
Secondly, I would change the present system of education. Undue importance to the examination shall have no place in my scheme of education. Promotions would be made on semester system already in practice in Germany, U.S.A. and other European countries. At present the students waste their time the whole year round and then mug up a few questions and take the examination. These examinations are in no way a sure test of one’s ability. Credit is given to the power of cramming and in the selection of questions. In the semester system everyone shall have to study throughout the year.
Next I will direct my attention to technical and agricultural education. Study of an art or craft would be made a compulsory subject in the school curriculum. Agriculture shall have precedence over other subjects in village schools. I am convinced that the salvation of the country lies in preparing our youngmen in arts and crafts so that when they grow up, they have not to run for jobs. They can start independent industries and earn a decent living. The question of unemployment among the educated youngmen would be solved.
Lastly I would try to raise the percentage of literacy in the country. It is a pity that hardly 15% of the inhabitants of this vast country are literate. I shall make primary education compulsory. I shall see that more schools are opened to accommodate the ever increasing number of pupils. I know that this is an ambitious programme and would need large sums of money. If I do not get the required sum of money from the minister incharge of finance, I shall resign.