Social Scientist. v 1, no. 7 (Feb 1973) p. 38.


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DISCUSSION

In the previous issue we published a note on ^Education: Police and Objectives" prepared by a group of progressive teachers. This has evoked intense interest among school and college teachers in major educational centres in India. We welcome further contributions on the subject.

Some Reflections on Higher Education

THERE cannot be much disagreement with the broad aims and objectives of education in broad terms. But there are a number of prerequisites which have got to be achieved before we go towards realising these objectives and evolving a new system of education.

Firstly, education is a continuous process. Quality in higher education cannot be ensured unless it is first ensured at the lowest level. To treat higher education in isolation is to approach the problem from a wrong angle.

Second, since the product of higher education has got to be socially useful, there has to be a strict planning at the national and state levels about the nature, volume and quality of the product. This will call for a scraping of quite a lot that is taught in the class . In view of the increasing number of students (13 per cent of increase every year) and the responsibility of providing them jobs, careful planning and mobilisation of the national resources is unavoidable. Thus, whereas the university education is under obligation to fulfil the needs of society, the latter too is obliged to provide job opportunities to the young. Educational planning, therefore, is an inseperable part of national planning.

Third, if education has to fulfil its obligations to the whole of society, and not only to a part thereof, and if it is not to cause social imbalance, the state needs to have a uniform national education policy, more particularly in respect of the provision of facilities to various sections.

Further, since higher education is expected to provide an 'intellectual and moral leadership9, to help establish 'an egalitarian society', to promote 'political and economic justice* and 'social equality5, and to help usher in a 'new social order9, the present educational set-up has to be swept of all its features which are held in contempt. The practice of running the educational institutions by private trusts is one such feature which is both anachronistic and undemocratic in a society where economic resources are very unevenly distributed. Laissez-faire in education lays the foundation of compartmentalisation of the Indian society; it gets tragically accentuated in higher education. In this context, even to hold



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