INTRODUCTION TO THE SARGENT REPORT ON EDUCATION, 1944

 

UNIT STRUCTURE

1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Formation of the Committee
4. Major Proposal of the Committee as a National Scheme of Education
5. Suggestions of the Sargent Committee

1. Pre-primary Education
2. Primary or Basic Education
3. Secondary Education
4. University Education
5. Technical and Vocational Education
6. Other Suggestions
6. Evaluation of the Sargent Report
7. Implementation of the Recommendations
8. Let Us Sum Up
9. Further Readings
10. Answers to Check Your Progress
11. Possible Questions
12. References

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 
After going through this unit, you will be able to:
Expalin the reason for appointing the Sargent Committee in 1944
Illustrate the structure of Education Proposed in the Report
Describe the Suggestions made by the Committee in different aspects of education.
Evaluate the Recommendations, and
Familiar with the Measures taken by the Government to implement the resolutions.

INTRODUCTION


In the previous unit we have discussed Gandhiji’s Wardha Scheme of Basic Education, 1937. Before that, the reports of the various committees and commissions suggested significant educational reforms in regard to national development. Government of India resolutions, 1913 was followed by Sadler Commission’s Report of 1917, and the Hartog Committee Report in 1929 and then by the Wardha Scheme, 1937. Keeping in view the reforms suggested by all these reports, the British Government had begun to understand the seriousness of the situation in the area of education. Ultimately in the middle forties the Government of India realised that it could no longer be indifferent to the problem of education of the Indian people and there was the need of bringing about radical reform in all aspects of Indian education. As the British became hopeful of its victory in the Second World War, it directed its attention to do something for the Indian people in the field of education. So it advised Sir John Sargent, the Educational Advisor to the Government of India, to prepare a comprehensive scheme of education for educational reform in India.

In this unit we will discuss the major points of recommendations regarding pre-primary, primary, secondary, university and other aspects of education in our country as proposed in the Sargent Report, 1944. We will also evaluate the recommendations of this report.
 

FORMATION OF THE COMMITTEE


It has been mentioned above that Sir John Sargent, the Educational Adviser to the Government of India was asked to prepare a comprehensive report on education. For the purpose, the government formed a Committee of Enquiry with 22 members. The report of the committee was submitted to the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in 1944. The Board accepted it in ‘toto’ and recommended its enforcement. The scheme was known as ‘Sargent Scheme of Education’ as it was prepared by John Sargent. It is also known as ‘Report by the Central Advisory Board of Education’ and also as the plan for post-war educational reconstruction in India.
This scheme has a historical importance as it was the first attempt to develop a National System for Education in India. The report of the Committee consisted of 12 different chapters covering from pre-primary to university education. It was a full fledged educational plan for the future educational reconstruction in India. The report had diagnosed every problem critically and had given definite and clear-cut solutions. It deals with almost all types of education for all classes of people in India. This was the first report that present a comprehensive picture of education in our country at that period of time. The report is undoubtedly a valuable educational document. Hence, it deserves a careful study.

It must be mentioned here that this plan is not entirely a new plan. It is rather the summery of different resolutions, minutes and proceedings of the CABE since 1936.

MAJOR PROPOSAL OF THE COMMITTEE AS A NATIONAL SCHEME OF EDUCATION



Let us discuss the major proposal of the committee—

The report had maintained that in a period of not less than 40 years, the standard of Indian education will be made equivalent to that of England. It had made certain policy decisions, the implications of which may have far reaching consequences. They may be outlined below—

  • Pre-primary education for children between 3 to 6 years of age.
  • Universal, compulsory and free primary or basic education for all children between the ages 6—11 (junior basic) and 11—14 (senior basic).
  • High school education for six years for selected children between the years 11—17.
  • Degree course for three years beginning after the higher secondary examination for selected students
  • Technical, commercial, agricultural and art education for full time and part time students, girls schools are to teach domestic science.
  • The liquidation of adult illiteracy and the development of public library system in about 20 years.
  • Full provision for the proper training of teachers.
  • Educational provision be made for the physically and mentally handicapped children.
  • The organisation of compulsory physical education.
  • Provision be made for social and recreational activities.
  • The creation of employment bureaus.
  • The creation of department of Education in the centre and in the states.
  • The use of mother tongue is to be used as the medium of instruction in all high schools.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

1. Fill in the blanks—
a) The Sargent Committee constituted of ___________ members.
b) The report of the committee contains ___________ chapters.
c) The Sargent report is also known as ___________.
d) Pre-primary education for children ___________ years.
e) Degree course for 3 years after completion of _________ education.
f) Educational provision be made for physically and mentally ___________children.
g) ___________ is to be used as a medium of instruction in all high schools.




SUGGESTIONS OF THE SARGENT COMMITTEE


We have already discussed the structure of the committee and a broad outline of its policy decisions regarding the different aspects of education. Now we will discuss the suggestions of the committee one by one.


Pre Primary Education

For the first time in India, official attention was given towards the pre-primary stage of education. The major suggestions of the report in this regard may be summarised below—

  • Provision should be made for pre-primary education in the form of nursery schools for the success of National Scheme of Education.

  • Children from 3—6 years of age should be admitted in these schools.

  • The basic aim of these schools should be to impart social experience and education of general behaviour rather than giving formal education.

  • The nursery schools may be attached to junior basic schools in the rural areas.

  • In the urban areas where there are sufficient numbers of children, nursery schools should have separate existence.

  • Pre-primary education should be free.

  • It was estimated that the pre-primary education will require annually Rs. 3, 18, 40,000/- for ten lakh people.




Basic or Primary Education



The report has adopted the scheme of basic education with some modifications, which gave theofficial recognition to Gandhiji’s Basic Education. The principle of education through craft was advocated but it did not agree with the idea that the things manufactured by the students should meet the expenses of the education. Regarding primary education the scheme contains the following suggestions—

  • Basic schools should be divided into two categories— Junior Basic Schools and Senior Basic Schools.

  • Junior basic stage should be from 6—11 years of age and education in these schools should be compulsory for all.

  • Senior basic schools should be for children of 11—14 years of age. Only such student should be sent to senior basic school who cannot continue their studies for high schools.

  • In the junior basic schools, there should be one teacher for every 30 students. In senior basic schools there should be one teacher for every 25 students.

  • Teaching of English has not been given any place in junior basic schools. But in the senior basic stage the provincial Governments were authorised to take final decision in this regard.

  • Instead of external examination, there should be internal examinations. Certificates should be issued after the completion of the studies.

  • Provision should be made for physical education and organised game for children.

  • The medium of instruction should be the mother tongue of the pupils.

  • No teacher should receive less than Rs. 20/- per month.

  • Basic schools should be started only when suitable trained teachers are available

  • Suitable courses for girls such as, cookery, laundry work, needle work, handicraft, child care and first aid should be introduced.

  • A standing committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education should be appointed to watch the new education experiments carried on in the provinces.

  • A Central Agency should be established in each province for the disposal of marketable articles produced in schools.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

2. What is pre-primary education?
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3. Mention the age level of pre-primary schools.
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4. What are the categories of primary schools?
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5. What should be the student teacher ratio in primary school?
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6. What are the subjects recommended for girls?
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High School Education


Let us discuss the view of the Committee in respect of High school education.

In the opinion of the Sargent Committee, high school education should not be considered simply as a preliminary to university education but as a stage complete in itself. The suggestions of the committee regarding high school education may be summarised below—

  • Only those students, who are well above the average ability and have exceptional aptitude for higher studies, should be sent for secondary schools.

  • The duration of high school education should be six years and the age group is 11—16 years.

  • Students below the age of 11 should not be allowed to enter these schools. Their abilities, aptitudes and interests should be borne in mind while giving them admission.

  • Students have to study at least upto the age of 14 years. In these schools they should not be allowed to leave schools before this age.

  • Fee shall be charged from the students for receiving education of this age but 50% of the pupils will be provided with free studentship.

  • It has also been recommended to give scholarships to the poor students so that they may not be deprived of this stage of education.

  • The high school should be of two types— Academic and Technical and curriculum should be prepared accordingly.

  • The Academic high schools will impart instruction in the Arts and pure sciences, while the Technical high school will provide the training the applied sciences and Industrial and Commercial subjects.
  • Art and Music should form an integral part of the curriculum in both and all girls should take a course in Domestic Science.

  • lThe curriculum should be diversified as far as practicable in order to provide a wide range of choices.

  • The medium of instruction in all high schools should be the mother tongue of the pupils. English should be a compulsory second language.

  • The aim of education should be to make the boys self dependent and able to stand on their legs.


 

 

University Education


We are already familiar with the suggestions given by the committee regarding pre-primary, primary and high school education; let us discuss what suggestion it has offered for university education.
The Sargent Committee pointed out the defects of university education in the following way—
 
University education has failed to relate their activities to the practical needs of the community as a whole. There is no systematic attempt to adjust the output to the capacity of the employment market to absorb it.
A great deal of importance is attached to examinations.
In the absence of suitable selection machinery, a large number of incapable students get entry into the universities.
Probably nowhere among the universities of the world is there so large a proportion of failures in examinations as in Indian universities.
Indian universities do not fully satisfy the requirements of a national system of education.

The Committee has offered the following suggestions for the improvement of university education—

 
The duration of degree course should be of 3 years.
The present intermediate course should be abolished. The first year of the course should be transferred to high school and the second year to the universities.
The standard of university education must be raised. The condition of admission must be revised so that capable students can take the advantage of the university course.
Competent teachers should be appointed in the university and steps should be taken to improve the conditions of service including remuneration.
The tutorial system should be widely extended for closer personal contacts between teachers and students.
Adequate financial assistance must be provided for poor students.
Emphasis should be given on establishing a high standard in post-graduate studies and in pure applied research.
For coordination in the activities of the different universities an All India Organisation like University Grants Committee of England should be set up.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

7. What type of students should be admitted in high schools?
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8. Mention the type of high schools and their functions.
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9. What are the defects of university education?
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10. What are suggestions of the committee regarding improving the standard of university education?
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Technical and Vocational Education



Sargent Committee laid a good deal of stress on technical and vocational education. It suggested for the full time and part time instructions in order to fulfil the requirement of all the different categories of the skilled hands. The report divides the workers into four categories—

Higher Category of Workers :
According to the Sargent Report there was a need for higher category of workers for the industrial and vocational fields. They will have their preliminary training in a Technical high school and then will pass from Technological Department of some university or from full time Technological Institute and will serve as Chief Executive, Research Workers etc.

Lower Category of Workers :
This category includes foreman, charge-hand and other ordinary executive and administrative officers. They should be given training in the Technical high school for Diploma or Certificate Course.

Skilled Craftsman:
Skilled craftsman are very much needed for successful execution of industrial and occupational schemes. Students should have passed Technical high school course or Senior basic or Junior Technical or Industrial school course.

Semi skilled or unskilled workers :

Students who have studied in Senior basic middle schools with some basic craft, shall be admitted to this category of workers. These persons should get facilities both for continuing their general education and for improving their skill.

Other Suggestions


The report has touched some other branches of education also. These are as follows:

A. Adult Education :
The role of adult education, according to report is to make every possible member of a state an effective and efficient citizen. It is very much essential for the success of the ideal democratic way of life. The problem of adult education in India connotes adult literacy. The normal age range of adult education should be 10 plus to 40.
This scheme envisaged two types of education for adults— general education and technical or vocational education. Separate classes should be organised for boys and girls between ten to sixteen years of age. In order to make adult education interesting, it is necessary to use visual aids, mechanical aids such as pictures, charts, cinema, gramophone, radio, folk dancing, music etc.

B. Training of the teachers :
There should be an army of trained teachers for the rapid progress of education and the successful execution of the plans of education. For graduate teachers Sargent Committee recommended to impart training to them by training colleges. For the training of undergraduate teachers, there should be three types of training institutions— pre-primary, basic and high school.
Teachers for technical and industrial education may be taken to the institutions for the purpose and other industrial courses. Refresher courses should be started for all the categories of teachers. Free training should be provided in training colleges and schools. In order to attract proper type of persons to the teaching profession, the report proposes to revise the scales of pay to be given to all grades of teachers, particularly to the teachers at the primary stage who are paid very low salaries at present.

C. Health Education :
The Sargent report suggested that in order to look after the health of school Children health committee should be set up in schools. Every student should be medically checked up and if any defect is found appropriate follow-up measures should be taken. Minor treatment can be provided in school clinics. Physical training should be compulsory.

D. Education of the Physically Handicapped :
Provision for special education should be made for physically handicapped and mentally retarded children. Here the educands may engage themselves in such productive activities that may be of use to them in the future life.

E. Employment Bureaus :
The scheme made the following recommendations in this regard in order to provide the students with requisite employment—
(i)Under the control of the education department a number of employment bureaus should be established.
(ii)Universities should have their own employment bureaus.
(iii) These bureaus should discharge the following functions—

(a) contact with educational institutions,
(b) advise the outgoing students about openings for employment,
(c) contact with employers and arrangement for trade apprentices.

F. Administration of Education:
For proper implementation of the new schemes of education at all India level a strong department of education should be set at the centre. The state should also have their department of education. More cooperation and coordination needed between the centre and the states for successful implementation of a National System of Education.
The report indicated that the implementation of the whole scheme would involve a total expenditure of Rs. three hundred crores every year.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

11. Name the categories of workers mentioned in the Sargent Report.
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12. Write short notes on—
(a) Adult Education.
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(b) Education for physically and mentally handicapped.
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(c) Employment Bureau.
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EVALUATION OF THE SARGENT REPORT


We have already discussed the suggestions given by the Sargent report in all aspects of education in India. Now we will make an attempt to evaluate the report.

The Sargent report had been the outcome of the experience of the British Government that in education, India was behind the other advanced countries of the world.

The chief merits of this report are discussed below—

  • This was the first comprehensive scheme embracing all aspects of education— pre-primary, primary, high school and university education. Technical, vocational and professional, all types of education had been given attention by way of providing useful suggestions for their improvement.

  • Secondly, it recommended the provision of equal opportunities to all the students at various stages of education.

  • Thirdly, due importance was given to the teaching profession. Recommendations were made for the improvement of the salary scales and the service conditions of the teachers.

  • Fourthly, for the first time the attention of the Government was drawn towards the education of the handicapped.

  • Fifthly, the report gave importance on providing education in such a manner as to make one self depended. It foresaw the importance of the employment problem in the country and thought that education could be instrumental in solving it.

    Let us examine the shortcoming and defects of the report—

  • The report is criticised on the ground that it was not an original report. It was only a patch-work of the recommendations of different committees.

  • The report outlined an educational development in India which would require 40 years to be implemented. This time limit did not satisfy any ardent educationist. An acceptable plan of educational development in India had been spread over a much shorter range of time, not exceeding 15 years.

  • It had been pointed out that it would be wrong to call it a national scheme of education because it was only a copy of the pattern practised in England. This pattern could not serve as a model to India because the social, political and economic conditions in the two countries are vastly different.

  • The proposal for selective admission in schools, colleges and universities was undemocratic.
 

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATION


It is necessary for us to see how the recommendations of the Sargent Committee was implemented.

The Government of India accepted the recommendations of the report in principle and tried to implement some of them in the following manner—

  • In 1945 an education department was established at the centre to increase administrative efficiency.

  • According to the recommendations of the committee 40 crores of rupees were given to the provincial Governments for implementing certain aspects of the scheme in their areas.

  • The Provincial Governments were advised to make five year plans for education. In 1946 these plans were made in some provinces.

  • l It was decided that the scheme should be implemented within 16 years instead of 40 year.

  • According to the recommendations of the committee University Grants Committee was constituted in 1945 which later on became University Grants Commission in 1956.

  • The aim of providing compulsory and free education to children between 6—11 years of age was accepted.

  • Efforts were made for adult education and also for improving the economic condition of teachers.

  • The committee of polytechnic school and the All India Technical Education Committee were established in Delhi.

    CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

    13. Mention the merits and demerits of the Sargent report.
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    14. How far were the suggestions of the report implemented? Name a few suggestions which were implemented.
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LET US SUM UP

In the beginning of this unit we focused our attention on the formation of the Sargent Committee. The committee constituted of 22 members headed by John Sargent, Educational Advisor to the Government of India. For the first time the committee tried to develop a National System of Education for India. The report prepared by this committee is not entirely a new plan but the summary of resolutions, minutes and proceedings of the Central Advisory Board of Education.

For the first time in the educational history of India the report paid attention towards pre-primary education and suggested that children from 3 to 6 years should be admitted in schools. The report had adopted the scheme to basic education with some modifications and divided the basic schools into two categories— junior and senior basic. As for high schools, the Committee suggested that these schools should be of two types— academic and technical. Academic high schools will impart instruction in the Arts and pure science, while the technical high school will provide training in industrial and commercial subjects. The curriculum should be diversified as far as possible and the aim of high school education should be to make the boys self-dependent and able to stand on their own legs.

Regarding university education the Report said that higher education had failed to relate their activities to the practical needs of the community and a large number of incapable students get entry into the universities due to lack of proper selection procedure. A great deal of importance had been attached to examinations and proportion of failure was very high. For improving the condition, the report suggested that the standard of university education should be raised, the condition of admission should be revised, competent teachers should be appointed and tutorial system should be extended for closer personal contact between the students and the teachers. A University Grants Committee should be established.

In technical and vocational education the committee suggested for full time and part time instruction in order to fulfil the requirements of all different categories of the skilled workers, such as, chief executive, research workers, foreman, craftsman for industrial occupations etc. Beside, the report suggested different measures to improve adult education, the training of teachers, health education, education for physically and mentally handicapped and for establishing employment bureau etc.
We have evaluated the recommendation of the committee and discussed the merits and demerits towards the end of the unit and also how far the recommendations were implemented.

FURTHER READINGS


  • Naike, J. P. & Nourellah, S.: A Student’s History of Education in India, MaCMillan India Ltd., 1996.
  • Rawat, P. L.: History of Indian Education, Ram Prasad & Sons, Agra, 1991.



ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


1.
(a) 22,
(b) 12,
(c) Report by the central advisory board of education/plan for post
war educational reconstruction,
(d) 3-6,
(e) Higher secondary,
(f) Handicapped,
(g) Mother tongue.
2.
Pre-primary education means nursery education meant for small children. The Sargent Committee provided attention towards the pre-primary education for the first time in India.
3.
The age level for pre-primary education is 3-6 years.
4.
Categories are— junior basic and senior basic.
5.
According to the Sargent committee there should be one teacher for every 30 students in junior basic and one teacher for every 25 senior basic schools.
6.
The subject recommended for girls are— cookery, laundry work, needle work, handicrafts, child care and first aid.
7.
Only those students should be given admission in high schools who are well of the age group and have exceptional aptitude for higher studies.
8.
The high school should be of two types— Academic and Technical. The function of the Academic high school is to impart instruction in the Arts and Pure-Science, while technical high school will provide training in applied sciences, industrial and commercial subjects.
9.
The defects of the university education as pointed out by the Sargent committee were the failure of the university education to relate their activities to the practical needs of the community, the absence of suitable selection machinery, over importance on examination and large scale failures.
10.
The suggestions of the committee regarding improving the standard of university education are— condition of admission must be revised, competent teachers should be appointed, closer personal contact between teachers and students to be established and steps should be taken to importance the service condition of the teacher and their recommendation.
11.
The categories are— higher category of workers for serving as executives and research workers; lower category of workers includes foreman, charge-hand and other ordinary and administrative officers, skilled craftsman and semi skilled or unskilled workers.
12.
(a) Adult education meant for those in the age group of 10-40 years and both general and vocational education were prescribed. In order to make adult education interesting the use of audio-visual aids was also advocated .
(b) The Sargent Report suggested that provision should be made for the education of the physically and mentally retarded children. Training should be provided in productive activities so that it may help them in their future life.
(c) The Sargent committee recommended the setting up of employment bureaus for students who would complete their education. The state governments and universities should have employment bureaus of their own.
13.
The Sargent report was the first comprehensive report on Indian education covering all aspects of education. It recommended the provision of equal opportunities to all students and due importance was given on the teaching profession, adult education, health education, salary and service conditions of teachers and including the education of the physically handicapped. But the scheme was criticised on several grounds such as it was not an original report, 40 years time limit was too long for implementing any educational scheme and it was a copy of the pattern practised in England. Therefore this pattern cannot be a model for India because the social political and economic conditions in the two countries are vastly different.
15.
An Education department was established at the centre; 40 crores of rupees were given to the provincial governments for implementing the scheme; the University Grants Committee was constituted and a committee for polytechnic school as well as the All India Technical Education committee was established in Delhi.

POSSIBLE QUESTIONS



 
  • Outline the main recommendations of the Sargent Committee, 1944.

  • What were the recommendations of the Sargent Scheme of Education with regard to primary and secondary education? On what has ground the scheme been criticised?

  • Discuss the views of the Sargent Committee in regard to technical and vocational education, adult education and education for physically handicapped.

  • Describe the proposals made by the Sargent Report on higher education. On what ground has the report been criticised? How far were these recommendations implemented?

REFERENCES

  • Aggarwal, I. C: Landmarks in the History of Modern Indian Education, Vikash Publishing House, New Delhi, 2004
  • Mukerjee, S. N.: Education in India : Today and Tomorrow, Acharya Book Depot, Vadodara, 1976 , ll
  • Purkait, B.R.: Milestones in Modern Indian Education, New Central Book Agency, 2005, Kolkata.
  • Naike, J. P. & Nourellah, S.: A Student’s History of Education in India, MaCMillan India Ltd., 1996.
  • Rawat, P. L.: History of Indian Education, Ram Prasad & Sons, Agra, 1991.