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 Debate:  Our Present System of Education only helps to produce Clerks

 I beg to speak against the motion.

Nowadays it has become a sort of fashion with many people in this country, to condemn everything that is of British or European origin without considering at all the good or bad accruing from the same.

Three years ago perhaps it was in accordance with the principles of political stratagem for us to protest against the colossal expenditure on armed forces, and similarly to attack the educational system and dub it as a bureaucratic contrivance; yet today every patriotic Indian feels compelled to justify the Rs.________crores expenditure in the Defence Budget.  The same applies to the educational system and my argument is the simple one that there is nothing so very wrong with our educational system, as to invite such a slanderous and sweeping statement namely that it only helps to produce clerks.  Clerks of course every educational system must produce and should produce for they constitute the keystone of the governmental and commercial edifice of any country.

But to say that it only produces clerks is to imply that the men and women passing out from our colleges and schools are at best mere calculating machines, devoid of all initiative, personality and inventive genius.  Facts, however point the other way.  The products of this system have been statesman, scholars, lawyers and scientists who have won renown the world over.  The names of Jagdish Bose, Dr. Rabindranath Tagore and Sir C.V. Raman are shining stars in the firmament of international personalia.

Moreover, we have all got very wrong notions about specialized and technical education.  To many of us sitting here, the American Educational system appears something very perfect and excellent, yet many Indian students who have gone there, especially if they happen to be a bit above the average, have been completely disillusioned about it.  Professor Stephen Leacock in his excellent essay “Oxford as I see it” has unreservedly acknowledged the superiority of the liberal education provided by the great English Universities of which our system is only an adaptation.  I do not deny that further improvements can be made nevertheless nothing can be said against the basis of the system.  The universities’ commission under the chairmanship of sir Sarvapalli Radhakrishana in their excellent report have borne out this very point.

It is a very dangerous idea to disparage the educational system simply because it was modelled by an arch-imperialist like Lord Macaulay.  Surely in this 20th century we should not possess minds of such a parochial nature.  Let us be proud of Bharat but let us not betray any narrow-mindedness.

In the end may I hope that our worthy judge, who is also an eminent product of this very educational system, will be in full accord with the stand taken by me in view of his personal knowledge.

(Manohar Sondhi)

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