Higher Education in India

Calcutta Commission OR Sadler Commission – (1917-1919)

Calcutta Commission OR Sadler Commission – (1917-1919)

Essential Features of Sadler Commission Report (1917-19):

In 1917 the Government of India appointed a Commission to study and report on the problems of Calcutta University. Dr. M.E. Sadler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, was appointed its Chairman. The Commission included two Indian members, namely Sir Ashutosh Mukeiji and Dr. Zia-ud-din Ahmad.

While the Hunter Commission had reported on problems of secondary education and the University Commission of 1902 mainly on the different aspects of university education, the Sadler Commission reviewed the entire field from school education to university education. The Sadler Commission held the view that the improvement of secondary education was a necessary condition for the improvement of university education. The Commission reported that an effective synthesis between college and university ‘was still undiscovered when the reform of 1904 had been worked out to conclusion’ and the foundation of a sound university organisation had not been laid down. Further, it reported that ‘the problems of high school training and organisation were unresolved’. Although the Commission reported on the conditions of Calcutta University, its recommendations and remarks were more or less applicable to other Indian universities also.

 The following were the main recommendations of the Commission:

The main objective of the Commission was ‘to inquire into the condition and prospects of the University of Calcutta and to consider the question of a constructive policy in relation to the question it presented’. The Commission discussed the main weaknesses of Higher Education in Bengal and offered the following recommendations:

  1. All the teaching resources in the city of Calcutta should be organized so that the Calcutta University may become entirely a teaching university. It means that the colleges in Calcutta should be so grouped together that they may discharge the functions of a teaching university.
  1. A separate teaching and residential university should be established at Dacca.
  1. Other universities should be established and the older ones are recognized as teaching and residential. It means that colleges should be so developed that new centres may gradually rise to become universities.
  1. Universities should be freed from excessive official control. The government interference in the academic matters of universities should stop. Its control should be less rigid.
  1. An academic council should be set up in each university to deal with all academic questions for example, those connected with the courses of study, examinations, and conferment of degree and research.
  1. The senate and the syndicate should be replaced by the Court and the Executive Council respectively. This step would improve the administration of the university.
  1. Teaching work and work connected with research should be organised under different departments and each department should have a head.
  1. A full time and salaried Vice-Chancellor should be appointed to be the administrative head of the university.
  1. Faculties, boards of studies, and other statutory bodies should be formed. Faculties should serve as Departments of teaching.
  1. Honours courses should be instituted and they should be distinctly different from the Pass courses.
  1. Tutorials and superior kinds of research work should be organised.
  1. Provisions should be made for imparting instruction in engineering education, medicine, law, agriculture and technology. Thus, university education would cover practical and vocational studies as well as technical and industrial courses.
  1. There was a need for coordinating agency. Hence an inter-University Board should be set up.

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Pankaja Singh

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