1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Background and Appointment of the Secondary Education Commission

1. Terms of References
2. Method of Enquiry
4. Report of the Commission

1. Defects of the Existing System
2. Aims of Secondary Education
3. Reorganization of Secondary Education
5. Curriculum in Secondary Schools

1. Defects of the Existing Curriculum
2. The Basic Principles of Curriculum Construction
3. Curriculum of different Stages of Secondary Schools.
6. Let Us Sum Up
7. Further Readings
8. Answers to Check Your Progress
9. Possible Questions
10. References


After going through this unit, you will be able to:
Describe the background that led to the appointment of the Secondary Education Commission 1952-53.
Identify the terms of reference of the Commission.
Explain the defects of the existing - system of secondary education.
Mention the recommendations on the aims of Secondary Education.
Discuss the recommendations on the principles of curriculum construction of secondary Education.


In the previous unit we have discussed the University Education Commission which tried to give a new direction to university education in India. We will discuss the Secondary Education in this unit. Secondary education is the stage of education that includes all the classes after the primary school and before university education is started. This stage is considered to be the backbone of the country’s entire educational programme. This however, is also the stage which marks the completion of education for the large majority of pupils. Secondary education is also the basis of higher education which gives the desired direction to the nation’s power. An inefficient system of secondary education therefore is bound to affect adversely the quality of education at all later stages.

This unit deals with the Secondary Education Commission, 1952-53, covering its various aspects from the background of its appointment to its recommendations which had a far reaching effect on India’s Secondary Education.


Let us discuss the background of appointing the Secondary Education Commission. After achieving the independence in 1947, both the public and the Government began to take keen interest in the development of secondary education. Although the number of secondary schools and its enrolment began to significantly increase even before India’s attaining independence, the quality of education imparted was unable to meet the changing socio-economic needs of the country. As such, the need for reform was strongly felt. The university Education Commission also remarked that our secondary education remained the weakest link in our educational machinery and it needed urgent reforms. Meanwhile with the attainment of independence, the political situation of the country also underwent a complete transformation. Education also needed a fresh look, calling for a new outlook which was appropriately voiced by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Education Minister in his presidential address to the Central Advisory Board of Education in 1948. The Central Advisory Board of Education at its 14th meeting held in January 1948 recommended the appointment of a commission to examine the prevailing system of Secondary Education in the country and to suggest measures for its reorganization and improvement. There were other considerations also before the Government of India for setting up a commission for Secondary Education.

In view of these considerations, the Government of India set up, the Secondary Education Commission by Resolution dated 23rd September, 1952, under the Chairmanship of Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, the Vice-Chancellor of the Madras University. Therefore this commission is also known as Mudaliar Commission. The Commission was inaugurated on 6th October, 1952. It submitted its Report on June 1953.

Terms of Reference

The terms of reference of this Commission are as follows:

a) To enquire into and report on the present position of Secondary Education in India in all its aspects.
b) To suggest measures for its re-organisation and improvement with particular reference to -

i) The aims, organisation and content of secondary education.
ii) Its relationship to primary, basic and higher education.
iii) The inter-relation of secondary schools of different types.
iv) Other allied problems. So that a sound and reasonable uniform system of secondary education suited to our needs and resources may be provided for the whole country.

Method of Enquiry

The Commission prepared a questionnaire dealing with the various aspects of secondary education. This was sent out to various educational experts, teachers and educational institutions of India. On the basis of the replies received a good deal of information was collected. The members of the Commission took an extensive tour of the various parts of India and acquired first-hand knowledge of the various educational problems and presented its report running on August 29, 1953.


Now we shall discuss about the report of the Secondary Education Commission, 1952-53. As the report is a very lengthy one containing 311 pages, it is not possible for us to discuss all aspects in detail. We will confine our discussion to the defects of the prevailing system of secondary education in India and the recommendations given by the Commission regarding its aims, new organizational pattern and the curriculum. Let us discuss all these points one by one.


Defects of the Existing System

The Commission pointed out the following defects of the existing system -

  • First, the education given in our schools is isolated from life. The curriculum as formulated and as presented through the traditional methods of teachings does not give the students insight into the everyday world in which they are living.

  • Secondly, it is narrow and one sided and it fails to train the whole personality of the student.

  • Thirdly, too much importance has been given to English. Students who did not posses special linguistic ability were, therefore, greatly handicapped in their studies.

  • Fourthly, the method of teaching generally practised failed to develop in the students their independence of thought and initiative in action.

  • Fifthly, the increase in size of the classes has considerably reduced personal contact between the teachers and the pupils. Thus the training of character andinculcation of proper discipline have been seriously undermined.

  • Finally, the dead weight of the examination has tended to curb the teachers initiative, to stereotype the curriculum, to promote mechanical and lifeless methods of teaching, to discourage all spirit of experimentation and to place the stress on the wrong, or unimportant things on education.


1. Fill in the blanks with an appropriate word -

i) Secondary Education Commission was appointed on_______.
ii) ______ was the Chairman of the Commission.
iii) Secondary Education Commission is also known as _______.

2. State any two defects of the existing secondary education.

Its Recommendations on the Aims of Secondary Education

The Commission has made the following recommendations in regard to its aims of Secondary Education -
Development of democratic citizenship
Since India has decided to make itself a democratic republic, the citizens have to be trained to uphold and practice the values of the democratic social order. This can be possible only when the qualities of discipline, tolerance, patriotism, co-operation, equal opportunities for thought, speech and writing, the essence of the world citizenship are inculcated and developed in the students. Secondary education, according to the Mudaliar Commission, should develop all these qualities in the students. Citizens with these qualities can grow into ideal - citizens capable of making Indian democracy a success. In short, the aim of secondary education should be to develop ideal democratic citizens in the country.
Improvement of Vocational efficiency :
One of the urgent needs of the country is to increase the productive efficiency of its people and to increase the national income. For this, education must aim at increasing the productivity or vocational efficiency of the young students. To achieve this goal, the Secondary Education Commission recommended for fostering the dignity of manual labour and for the promotion of technical skills for the advancement of industry and technology through secondary education. Therefore, secondary education is to be freed from purely theoretical education system and emphasis is to be placed on agricultural, technical, commercial and other practical courses.
Education for leadership :
Secondary education is a terminal point for majority of the students. Therefore, at the end of the school education, each pupil must be able to enter into various professions independently. “A special function of the secondary school, in the context, is to train persons who will be able to assume the responsibility of leadership - in social, political, industrial or cultural fields - in their own small groups of community or locality.”
Development of personality :
The secondary education must aim at the development of the personality of the students. It should be so organised that the creative energy in the students should find proper expression. They should also be trained to appreciate their cultural heritage and acquire constructive and valuable interest. They should also be trained to preserve and conserve their cultural heritage. An all-round development of the personality of the student is an essential aim of secondary education.


3. Which of the following are the recommendations on the Aims of Secondary Education? Put a (3) for the right answer.
i) Education and productivity
ii) Education and national integration
iii) Development of democratic citizenship
iv) Development of personality
v) Education and Modernisation
vi) Improvement of Vocational Efficiency
vii) Development of social, moral and spiritual values
viii) Education for leadership

Re-organisation of Secondary Education

Regarding the organizational pattern of secondary education, the Secondary Education Commission recommended that secondary education should be a complete stage by itself. This stage of education is most important for the students in their preparation for life. To raise the standard of school education the Commission proposed the following organizational pattern:

  • The duration of secondary education should be 7 years. It should cover the age of group of11-17.

  • Under the new organizational structure secondary education should commence after 4 or 5 years of primary or junior basic education.

  • The middle or senior basic or lower secondary stage should cover a period of 3 years.

  • The higher secondary stage should cover 3 years.

  • The commission also suggested abolition of the present intermediate classes. The 12th class should be attached to the university and the 11th class should be added to the high school. Thus it pleaded for one year pre-university and 3 year degree courses.

  • The commission recommended that technical schools should be started in large number and central technical institutes should be established in large cities.

  • Multi-purpose schools should be established, which would provide terminal courses in technology, commerce, agriculture, fine arts and home sciences. The object of theses institutions was to direct students into different walks of life at the end of the secondary course and this will reduce the pressure upon university entrance.


The Secondary Education Commission has discussed at length the secondary education curriculum. First it pointed out the defects of the existing curriculum, discussed in detail the principle of curriculum construction and finally the curriculum of different stages of secondary schools.

Defects of the Existing Curriculum

The Commission has pointed out the following defects in the existing curriculum:

  • The present curriculum is narrow.

  • It is bookish and theoretical.

  • It is overcrowded and does not provide rich and significant contents.

  • There is no adequate provision for practical and other kinds of activities that should find place in any curriculum at this stage of education. Hence, the curriculum is not able to bring about the education of the whole personality of the child.

  • It does not cater to the various needs and capacities of the adolescents.

  • Technical and vocational subjects are very much needed for India today, but the curriculum does not find room for these subjects.

  • Curriculum is too much dominated by the examination.

The Basic Principles of Curriculum Construction

The Secondary Education Commission has recommended some principles to be followed in the construction of curriculum.

  • Principles of totality of experience -
    According to the Secondary Education Commission, “The curriculum does not include only the academic subjects traditionally taught in the school but it includes the totality of experiences that a pupil receives through manifold activities that go in the school, in the classroom, library, laboratory, workshop, playground and in numerous informal contacts between teachers and pupils.” All types of experiences in the school or planned by the school should be included in the curriculum.

  • Principles of variety and elasticity -
    The Curriculum should be elastic and include varieties of subjects and activities to meet the needs of the various types of pupils. The curriculum should be adaptable to meet the needs and interests of the students.

  • Principles relating to community -The curriculum should be related to the community. There should be community - oriented programmes in the curriculum so that a child can feel that he is an integral part of the local community. The curriculum should bring the child and the community closer.

  • Principle of training for leisure -The Curriculum should be designed to train the students not only for work but also for leisure. For this purpose there should be a number of activities - social, aesthetic, sporting etc. which should be included in the curriculum. These activities will train the students to use their leisure time properly.

  • Principle of integration and correlation -The curriculum should not be merely a bundle of subjects and activities. The activities and subjects should be integrated and well - correlated. The curriculum should provide a ‘broad field’ units having direct bearing on life.

Curriculum of Different Stages of Secondary CShools

1) Curriculum for Middle Schools
2) Curriculum for High and Higher Secondary Schools.

The Commission has laid down the following different curriculum for these two stages in the secondary education.

1) Curriculum for the Middle Schools -
The Commission has recommended the inclusion of the following subjects.
a) English.
b) Social Studies.
c) General Science.
d) Mathematics.
e) Art and Music.
f) Craft.
g) Physical Education.

2) The Curriculum for High and Higher Secondary Schools-
For this stage of education, the commission has suggested that there should be a diversified course.
(a) Compulsory subjects or main subjects; and
(b) Optional subjects.

A) Compulsory Subjects :

The Compulsory subjects shall include the following :

1. Mother tongue or regional language or composite course of the mother tongue and a classical language.

2. One other language to be chosen from among the following:
i) Hindi for those whose mother tongue is not Hindi.
ii) Elementary English (for those who have not studied English in the middle stage).
iii) Advanced English (for those who have studied English at the earlier stage).
iv) A Modern Indian Language (other than Hindi).
v) A modern foreign language (other than English).
vi) A classical language.

3. Social studies - General course (for the first two years only).

4. General science, Including Mathematics - General course (for the first two years only).

5. One Craft to be chosen out of the list given below :
i) Spinning and weaving
ii) Wood Work
iii) Metal Work
iv) Gardening
v) Tailoring
vi) Typography
vii) Workshop Practice
viii) Sewing, Needle Work and Embroidery
ix) Modeling
B) Optional Subjects :

Three subjects from one of the following groups -

Group - 1 (Humanities) :
(a) A classical language or a third language from A (2) not already taken; (b) History; (c) Geography; (d) Elements of Economics and Civics; (e) Elements of Psychology and Logic; (f) Mathematics; (g) Music; (h) Domestic Science.

Group -2 (Sciences) :
(a) Physics; (b) Chemistry; (c) Biology; (d) Geography; (e) Mathematics; (f) Elements of Physiology and Hygiene; (not to be taken with Biology).

Group -3 (Technical) :
(a) Applied Mathematics and Geometrical Engineering; (b) Applied Science; (c) Elements of Mechanical Engineering; (d) Elements of Electrical Engineering.

Group - 4 (Commercial) :

(a) Commercial Practice; (b) Book-Keeping; (c) Commercial Geography or Elements of Economics and Civics; (d) Shorthand and Typewriting.

Group - 5 (Agriculture) :
(a) General Agriculture; (b) Animal Husbandry; (c) Horticulture and Gardening; (d) Agricultural Chemistry and Botany

Group - 6 (Fine Arts) :
(a) History of Art; (b) Drawing and Designing; (c) Painting; (d) Modelling; (e) Music; (f) Dancing.

Group - 7 (Home Science) :
(a) Home Economics; (b) Nutrition and Cookery; (c) Mother Craft and Child Care; (d) Household Management and Home Nursing.
Besides the above, a student may take as his option one additional subject from any of the above groups irrespective of whether or not he has chosen his other options from that particular group.


4. Mention any four defects of the existing curriculum.
5. What are the recommendations of secondary Education Commission
on the principles of curriculum construction?


The Secondary Education Commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Dr. L.S. Mudaliar on September 23, 1952. So, it is popularly known as Mudaliar Commission. The commission has pointed out some defects of the existing system of secondary education.
The commission gave important recommendations with regard to the aims of secondary education and the principles of curriculum construction.
The main aim of secondary education was to produce perfect citizens who may provide leadership and who are self-reliant, obedient and disciplined.
The commission has pointed out some defects in the existing curriculum. So, it has recommended the principles of curriculum construction. The principles are - totality of experience, variety and elasticity, relation to community life, training for leisure and correlation of the subjects.
The commission has suggested a scheme of curriculum for middle schools and high and higher secondary schools.


1 i) September 23, 1952
(ii) Dr. lakshman Swami Mudaliar
(iii) Mudaliar Commission
2 i) Isolated from life
(ii) Narrow and one sided.
3 iii), (iv), (vi), (viii)
4. The defects of the existing curriculum are:
i) Narrow
ii) Bookish and Theoretical
iii) Dominated by examination
iv) Overcrowding of subjects.
5. The recommendatuions of Secondary Education commission on the principles of curriculum construction are:

i) Principles of totality of experience
ii) Principles of variety and elasticity.
iii) Principles of relating to community.
iv) Principles of training for leisure.
v) Principles of integration and correlation.


1. Describe the major recommendations of the secondary Education Commission (1952-53) for reforming Secondary Education in the country.
2. Discuss the problems of secondary education in India. Suggest measures.
3. Examine the recommendations on Aims of Secondary Education. How far these have been implemented?
4. Indicate the defects of our present Secondary Education curriculum. What are your suggestions for its improvement?
5. What are the recommendations of the secondary Education Commission on the principle of curriculum construction?


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