The System Now On — Civilization and Education — The Process-Old and New—The Instruments-New and Old—The Ideal—Nachiketas, the Truly Educated.
It is now hardly two accades since India gained her political independence. The memory of the agitation for it has not yet therefore faded away from the minds of the elder generation. The agitation was unique because of the peaceful and constitutional methods adopted. The civilized nations watched with interest the political developments in India then. The agitators condemned many of the existing state of affairs as anti-national. The urgent need for reforming the educational pattern was one of the important issues that loomed large. No political platform ever missed a scathing condemnation of the British-imposed system of education. It was denounced as anti-national and Dul-killing. It was alleged that its sole aim was the 'manufacture of slaves and intellectuals devoid of patriotism. Students were then advised to boycott schools and colleges. As substitutes to these unwanted -:hoots and colleges, semblances of national institutions sprang up here and there. Children of patriots who non-cooperated with the foreign regime were placed In those ill-equipped but life-inducing institutions. They succeeded to a remarkable extent in rousing national consciousness in their wards.
But with the gaining of political freedom the bogey of the clamour for national education has vanished. A good many of the so called national schools have been wound up. And a few well founded ones have got themselves absorbed into the educational machinery considered bad erstwhile but actively continued in free India. The system of education that seemed injurious due to its coming from unwanted masters now seems good at the hands of our own people. Any system has to be judged on its own merits irrespective of the persons behind it. We are, therefore, obliged to make an objective study of the prevailing system and spot out the defects in it. Since the British regime has withdrawn from the field, the instruments for working out the system, have expanded enormously in volume. Schools and colleges continue to spring up in large numbers year after year. In this magnitude the hidden defects and evils in the prevailing education manifest themselves in their true colours. Literates and graduates are, no doubt rapidly increasing in number. But the quality of the educated is unfortunately in woeful decline. In attainments a graduate of today is no better than a matriculate of those days. The character of the educated is anything but praiseworthy. Ease and comfort are their sole aim in life. They are strangers to hazard, pluck and perseverance. Their demand for rights and privileges is ever on the increase. It is in direct proportion to their educational qualifications. Sense of duty and responsibility on the other hand is nowhere to be found. The ideal of subordinating personal profit to public weal is ignored. Strikes peculiar to labour in factories are now common in colleges dragging them down to the level of factories. What were once temples of learning and discipline are now depraved into intellectual factories turning out empty pretenders to learning . Education is now in a melting pot. The magnitude-of the problem of the so-called educated can never be overestimated. The poison produced by the defective system remains to be thoroughly eliminated.
The role of the teacher in the present system of education requires to be reviewed. The system has reduced the responsibility of the teacher to that of the postman. With the correct delivery of the bundles of letters, packets and parcels apportioned to him, the duty of the postman ends. What effect the duly delivered articles have on the addressees is no concern of the man who delivers them. One letter may contain mournful news while another a cheque as prize for a cross. Wordpuzzle. The postman has neither the time nor the inclination to probe into the reactions that the letters have produced in the persons concerned. Similar is the function of the teacher today in our country. He has his scheduled lessons to give and portions to cover within the allotted time. His function ends with the faithful discharge of these duties. He is not bothered if the students do not receive the lesson in all seriousness. Further, there is hardly any life contact between the teacher and the taught. Many among the students in the college manage to pass out successfully without any personal contact with the professors. In other words, education has got mechanized. The system somehow works. Intellectual machines are created by the universities on a large scale. Men and women trained in intellectual tricks are classified as graduates and let loose into society. By these tricks they can earn their bread; but they cannot appeal to the heart or inspire life. Personality has given place to phantom. Substance is lost sight of; chaff is being pampered. This state of affair cannot be allowed to continue lest it should lead to national calamity.
CIVILIZATION AND EDUCATION
The Indian civilization and social set-up is comparable with the best ones the world has ever evolved.And the speciality in it lies in its being at once ancient and modern; ancient because history cannot peep into its hoary past; modern because of its adaptability to changing circumstances age after age. Vicissitudes not uncommon with nations have not spared India. But under all changing circumstances this great country has not lost her individuality.
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