Higher Education in India

The Education Commission (1964-6) OR Kothari Commission

The Education Commission (1964-6) OR Kothari Commission

The Commission was set up by the Government of India on 14 July 1964 under the chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari, then chairman of the University Grants Commission. The Commission’s aimed at examining all aspects of the educational sector across the country. Among other objectives behind setting up of this Commission also included evolution of a general pattern of education. The commission, under the chairmanship of D. S. Kothari, was the sixth commission in India post independence and the first commission with comprehensive terms of reference on education. The Commission had submitted its Report on 29 June 1966; its recommendations were accommodated in India’s first National Policy on Education in 1968.

 The main recommendations in the area of educational administration are as follows:

(1) Free and Compulsory Education: Strenuous efforts should be made for the early fulfillment of the Directive Principle under Article 45 of the Constitution seeking to provide free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14. Suitable programs should be developed to reduce the prevailing wastage and stagnation in schools and to ensure that every child who is enrolled in school successfully completes the prescribed course.

 (2) Status, Emoluments and Education of Teachers

 (a) Of all factors which determine the quality of education and its contribution to national development, the teacher is undoubtedly the most important. It is on his personal qualities and character, his educational qualifications and professional competence that the success of all educational endeavour must ultimately depend. Teachers must, therefore, be accorded an honoured place in society. Their emoluments and other service conditions should be adequate and satisfactory, having regard to their qualifications and responsibilities.

 (b) The academic freedom of teachers to pursue and publish independent studies and researches and to speak and write about significant national and international issues should be protected.

 (c) Teacher education, particularly in-service education, should receive due emphasis.

 (3) Development of Languages

 (a) Regional Languages: The energetic development of Indian languages and literature is a sine qua non for educational and cultural development. Unless this is done, the creative energies of the people will not be released, standards of education will not improve, knowledge will not spread to the people, and the gulf between the intelligentsia and the masses will remain, if not widen further. The regional languages are already in use as media of education at the primary and secondary stages. Urgent steps should now be taken to adopt them as media of education at the university stage.

(b) Three-Language Formula: At the secondary stage, the State Governments should adopt, and vigorously implement, the three-language formula which ‘includes the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi-speaking States, and of Hindi along with the regional language and English in the non-Hindi speaking States. Suitable courses in Hindi and/or English should also be available in universities and colleges with a view to improving the proficiency of students in these languages up to the prescribed university standards.

(c) Hindi: Every effort should be made to promote the development of Hindi. In developing Hindi as the link language, due care should be taken to ensure that it will serve, as provided for in Article 351 of the Constitution, as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India. The establishment in non-Hindi States, of colleges and other institutions of higher education which use Hindi as the medium of education should be encouraged.

(d) Sanskrit: Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country, facilities for its teaching at the school and university stages should be offered on a more liberal scale. Development of new methods of teaching the language should be encouraged, and the possibility explored of including the study of Sanskrit in those courses (such as modern Indian languages, ancient Indian history, Indology and Indian philosophy) at the first and second degree stages, where such knowledge is useful.

(e) International Languages: Special emphasis needs to be laid on the study of English and other international languages. World knowledge is growing at a tremendous pace, especially in science and technology. India must not only keep up this growth but should also make her own significant contribution to it. For this purpose, study of English deserves to be specially strengthened.

(4) Equalization of Educational Opportunity Strenuous efforts should be made to equalize educational opportunity.

(a) Regional imbalances in the provision of educational facilities should be corrected and good educational facilities should be provided in rural and other backward areas.

(b) To promote social cohesion and national integration the Common School System as recommended by the Education Commission should be adopted. Efforts should be made to improve the standard of education in general schools. All special schools like Public Schools should be required to admit students on the basis of merit and also to provide a prescribed proportion of free-studentships to prevent segregation of social classes. This will not, however, affect the rights of minorities under Article 30 of the Constitution.

 (c) The education of girls should receive emphasis, not only on grounds of social justice, but also because it accelerates social transformation.

 (d) More intensive efforts are needed to develop education among the backward classes and especially among the tribal people.

(e) Educational facilities for the physically and mentally handicapped children should be expanded and attempts should be made to develop integrated programs enabling the handicapped children to study in regular schools.

(5) Identification of Talent For the cultivation of excellence, it is necessary that talent in diverse fields should be identified at as early an age as possible, and every stimulus and opportunity given for its full development.

(6) Work-experience and National Service The school and the community should be brought closer through suitable programs of mutual service and support. Work-experience and national service, including participation in meaningful and challenging programs of community service and national reconstruction, should accordingly become an integral part of education. Emphasis in these programs should be on self-help, character formation and on developing a sense of social commitment.

(7) Science Education and Research With a view to accelerating the growth of the national economy, science education and research should receive high priority. Science and mathematics should be an integral part of general education till the end of the school stage.

 (8) Education for Agriculture and Industry Special emphasis should be placed on the development of education for agriculture and industry.

(a) There should be at least one agricultural university in every State. These should, as far as possible, be single campus universities; but where necessary, they may have constituent colleges on different campuses. Other universities may also be assisted, where the necessary potential exists, to develop strong departments for the study of one or more aspects of agriculture.

 (b) In technical education, practical training in industry should form an integral part of such education. Technical education and research should be related closely to industry, encouraging the flow of personnel both ways and providing for continuous cooperation in the provision, design and periodical review of training programs and facilities.

 (c) There should be a continuous review of the agricultural, industrial and other technical manpower needs of the country and efforts should be made continuously to maintain a proper balance between the output of the educational institutions and employment opportunities.

 (9) Production of Books

 The quality of books should be improved by attracting the best writing talent through a liberal policy of incentives and remuneration. Immediate steps should be taken for the production of high quality textbooks for schools and universities. Frequent changes of textbooks should be avoided and their prices should be low enough for students of ordinary means to buy them. The possibility of establishing autonomous book corporations on commercial lines should be examined and efforts should be made to have a few basic textbooks common throughout the country. Special attention should be given to books for children and to university- level books in regional languages.

(10) Examinations -A major goal of examination reforms should be to improve the reliability and validity of examinations and to make evaluation a continuous process aimed at helping the student to improve his level of achievement rather than at ‘certifying’ the quality of his performance at a given moment of time.

(11) Secondary Education

(a) Educational opportunity at the secondary (and higher) level is a major instrument of social change and transformation. Facilities for secondary education should accordingly be extended expeditiously to the areas and classes which have been denied these in the past.

(b) There is a need to increase facilities for technical and vocational education at this stage. Provision of facilities for secondary and vocational education should conform broadly to the requirements of the developing economy and real employment opportunities. Such linkage is necessary to make technical and vocational education at the secondary stage effectively terminal. Facilities for technical and vocational education should be suitably diversified to cover a large number of fields, such as agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, medicine and public health, home management, arts and crafts, secretarial training, etc.

 (12) University Education

(a) The number of wholetime students to be admitted to a college or university department should be determined with reference to the laboratory, library and other facilities and to the strength of the staff.

(b) Considerable care is needed in establishing new universities. These should be started only after an adequate provision of funds has been made for the purpose and due care has been taken to ensure proper standards.

(c) Special attention should be given to the organization of postgraduate courses and to the improvement of standards of training and research at this level.

(d) Centers of advanced study should be strengthened and a small number of ‘clusters of centers’ aiming at the highest possible standards in research and training should be established.

(e) There is a need to give increased support to research in universities generally. The institutions for research should, as far as possible, function within the fold of universities or in intimate association with them.

(13) Part-time Education and Correspondence Courses Part-time education and correspondence courses should be developed on a large scale at the university stage. Such facilities should also be developed for secondary school students, for teachers and for agricultural, industrial and other workers. Education through part-time and correspondence courses should be given the same status as full-time education. Such facilities will smoothen transition from school to work, promote the cause of education and provide opportunities to the large number of people who have the desire to educate themselves further but cannot do so on a full-time basis.

(14) Spread of Literacy and Adult Education

 (a) The liquidation of mass illiteracy is necessary not only for promoting participation in the working of democratic institutions and for accelerating programs of production, especially in agriculture, but for quickening the tempo of national development in general. Employees in large commercial, industrial and other concerns should come from the industrial undertakings in the public sector. Teachers and students should be actively involved in organizing literacy campaigns, especially as part of the social and National Service Program.

(b) Special emphasis should be given to the education of young practising farmers and to the training of youth for self- employment.

(15) Games and Sports

 Games and sports should be developed on a large scale with the object of improving the physical fitness and sportsmanship of the average student as well as of those who excel in this department. Where playing field and other facilities for developing a nation-wide program of physical education do not exist, these should be provided on a priority basis.

(16) Education of Minorities- Games and sports should be made not only to protect the rights of minorities but to promote their educational interests as suggested in the statement issued by the conference of the Chief Ministers of States and Central ministers held in August 1961.

(17) The Educational Structure

 It will be advantageous to have a broadly uniform educational structure in all parts of the country. The ultimate objective should be to adopt the 10+2+3 pattern, the higher secondary stage of two years being located in schools, colleges or both according to local conditions.

The reconstruction of education on the lines indicated above will need additional outlay. The aim should be gradually to increase the investment in education so as to reach a level of expenditure of 6 percent of the national income as early as possible.

The Government of India recognizes that reconstruction of education is no easy task. Not only are the resources scare but the problems are exceedingly complex. Considering the key role which education, science and research play in developing the material and human resources of the country, the Government of India will, in addition to undertaking programs in the Central sector, assist the State Governments for the development of programs of national importance where coordinated action on the part of the States and the Centre is called for.

The Government of India will also review, every five years, the progress made and recommend guidelines for future development.

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Pankaja Singh

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