A hundred years ago| May 30, 1918. Archives

Education in War Time.

The precise object with which the Director of Statistics has christened his descriptive chapter in the volume relating to education in India during the quinquennium ending with 1916-17 as’Indian Education in War Time’ is somewhat obscure. The period covered by the quinquennium has no correspondence with that of the war, and therefore the reason for so calling it may be due to the desire to make known to the world how far the Government in India have, during the years the war has raged, directed their efforts to spread and develop education. Mr. Shrirras does not leave us much in doubt as to the policy pursued by the authorities and its results. After quoting Lord Curzon and Sir James Meston regarding the importance of education in India, he says: “We may now plunge in medias res. and reconnoitre the ground that lies around us. The war, as in England and in Japan, has brought about an increase in the strength and in the stability of educational policy. Before our very eyes ‘the old order changeth, yielding place to new’.” He also quotes what he calls the ‘significant’ preamble of the new Education Bill in England which runs: ‘with a view to the establishment of a national system of education, available for all persons capable of profiting thereby.’ If such has been the growing consciousness of the importance of education in other countries, one may reasonably ask what has been the attitude taken up by the Government of India. Mr. Shirras is an official who naturally feels that he cannot carry the comparison between the attitude adopted in England and that is followed in India beyond a certain safe point. He apparently feels that he should make as much as he can of the materials at his disposal and present his picture in as favourable a light as possible.

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