A hundred years ago Nov. 30, 1921 Archives

From the Archives (November 30, 1921): Meaning of education

Professor Stephen Leacock, the American humourous writer, whom we in India know better by his textbook on Political Science, recently addressed the Critical Society at University College on “Education as I see it”. He expressed in his own characteristic way, his fear that interest in science and sustained and serious studies was not evident today. He said that he noted that no applause greeted the remark of the chairman that the speaker was a professor of political economy, but that the mention of his humourous writings was met with a prolonged outburst of applause. “Every one here has matriculated,” he continued, “but I doubt if one of you could do so now. Education ends at graduation, and if graduation is the grave of education there is something wrong.” What was wrong was that both in Europe and America, and, we may add in India as well, education was regarded as a qualification for obtaining a livelihood, and not as a thing in itself. “Think of work for its own sake and get interested in it,” Mr. Leacock pointed out and added that specialisation as it obtained at present had its evil. The trouble was that when anyone took this advice they became so interested in one branch of learning that they neglected the others, with the inevitable consequence that they failed in examination.

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