Education is of several types and patterns. There is, for example, the arts education, the scientific education, the religious education, the physical education, the education of education. In India, as in other countries, much stress has been laid on the promotion of technical education since the attainment of independence. India’s economic ills are sought to be overcome through a process of industrialization for which, in turn, technical education is very essential. In other words, technical education is a vital prelude to India’s property.
The scope of technical education is very comprehensive. It incorporates within itself all subjects of study in engineering and technology. Civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mining engineering, aeronautical engineering, metallurgical engineering, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, agricultural engineering, production engineering, and a host of other fields of engineering form part of technical education. Similarly, there are various subjects in technology, namely, leather technology, paint and varnish technology, food technology, fuel technology, marine technology, textile technology, etc., which fall within the purview of technical education.
If technical education is given on right lines, India’s industrial backwardness can be removed. India possesses vast natural resources, which can be profitably utilised. Iron and steel industry has got a great scope for further development. With the help of Russia, Germany and other countries a number of steel plants have been set up in India. The river and watersheds are harnessed to supply electric currents at cheap rates. India’s forest wealth is great and this can be used to a profitable end.
Next, technical education is vitally necessary for an agricultural country like India. It can provide her with the latest implements to improve the condition of the peasants. Another great advantages of technical education is that it makes students practical and methodical. Their bookish knowledge is supplemented by technical training. Technical training will make them thorough. Their eyes and hands will be scientifically trained. The imparting of technical education to our young men will go a long way in solving the problem of unemployment. Purely literary education has so far equipped the educated class for various clerical and administrative jobs and a few so called learned professions. The policy worked well when the colleges were few and the number of candidates turned out annually was small. But now, as the number of young men who graduate from year to year exceeds the power of government to absorb them, the army of the educated unemployed is ever on the increase. Under these circumstances it is most essential that technical and vocational education be given to our young men. Last but not the least advantage of imparting technical education to our young men will be that they will grow practical and realistic.
It is only during World-War II that technical and vocational education received encouragement in India. But the number of technicians and engineers was very small in comparison with India’s need. So free India turned her immediate attention to technical education. A large number of technical institutions have been opened. We have huge River Valley Projects and our industries have to be developed at the greatest possible speed. We need a large number of highly technical hands for such heavy key industries as shipbuilding, locomotives, automobiles, manufacturing and chemical.
Recently technical colleges have been opened. There are both diploma and degree courses. Post-graduates and research training is also imparted. There are many colleges for engineering. Polytechnics have also been set up all over India. For the development of higher technical education Indian Institutes of Technology have been established at Delhi, Kharagpur, Bombay, Kanpur and Chennai. The Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore has been reorganized and several new departments have been added. Stipends for practical training abroad and scholarship for the promotion of research in universities and technical institutions are being awarded. Then, there has been set up All India Council of Technical Education. It looks to the development of scientific and technical education and research in the Indian universities and technical institutions of higher training. The Defence, Labour and Rehabilitation Ministries have opened a large number of training centres all over the country to impart training to lower grade technical personnel.
But the technical education has some drawbacks too. Primarily, the excessive emphasis on technical education will give a deathblow to the modern excellences achieved in the fields of literary education, philosophy, etc. The height of intellectual attainments of the present-day would suffer a serious setback if the world shifts over to technical education. In other words, the world will meet with an intellectual decay if all the stress is laid upon technical education. Also fine arts, like painting, dance*, music, sculpture, and other such cultural attainments will receive a great damage at the hands of technical education.
However, whatever be the merits or demerits, the arguments for or against this business of technical education, the fact remains that technical education is the only solution to the economic troubles of underdeveloped or developing, countries. The schemes for its development must be accelerated and evils of poverty, unemployment and beggary must be tied over. The luxury of philosophy and fine arts can be enjoyed later.