HT This Day: March 12, 1964 -- Nationalized text-books a menace to education

By, New Delhi
Mar 11, 2023 10:20 PM IST

Mr M. R. Masani (Swa.) made an eloquent plea in the Lok Sabha today for allowing private publishing trade to compete in the production of textbooks.

Mr M. R. Masani (Swa.) made an eloquent plea in the Lok Sabha today for allowing private publishing trade to compete in the production of textbooks.

HT This Day: March 12, 1964 -- Nationalized text-books a menace to education
HT This Day: March 12, 1964 -- Nationalized text-books a menace to education

Initiating the debate on demands for grants for the Ministry of Education, he said government monopoly of publication of text-books had resulted in poor quality, high costs and prices and promoted the sale of spurious text-books causing large losses to at least seven State governments.

The lackluster discussion that followed lighted various ills of the educational system but suggested no remedies. Every speaker expressed sympathy for the new Union Education Minister, Mr M. C. Chagla, who looked bowed down with the weight of it.

Mr Amarnath Vidyalankar (Cong.) opposed Mr Masani’s suggestion and said government’s monopoly of text-book production had proved a success. He also disagreed with the general talk that educational standards were falling but admitted that “Indian surroundings” were lacking in educational institutions.

Mr P. K. Vasudevan Nair (Comm.) deplored the practice of giving permission to open private colleges on a communal basis. He asked the government to adopt a firm policy on the medium of instruction in schools and colleges.

Mr C. B Singh (Ind.) said research work in India was conducted in a haphazard manner and not on the basis of academic distinction.

Mr Kashiram Gupta (Ind.) referred to the lack of discipline among students and Mr Joachim Alva (Cong) asked for adequate attention to sports.

Mr Chagla will reply to the debate tomorrow.

Details of debate

Initiating the discussion, Mr M. R. Masani, mounted a powerful assault on State publication of textbooks on three counts-poor quality, high prices and inadequate and faulty distribution, adds UNI.

Mr Masani said nationalization of text-books led to the widespread evil of counterfeit and spurious text-books which had become a matter of great public concern.

State monopoly of textbooks was tantamount to the indoctrination of children practised by Fascist and Communist countries and the danger was ever present that some people in government might transmit loaded information to school students, he said.

Mr Masani quoted from the reports of various committees in support of his case for allowing private publishers to compete in the field of text-book publication.

Amidst laughter, he also quoted a Madras High Court judgement which had, inter alia, stated that an abridged version of Sir Walter Scott’s “Quentin Durward” published under State auspices was an example of what a text-book should not be.

Profiteering too

He charged the State Governments with profiteering in textbooks. Further the poor quality of books and their late distribution attracted counterfeiters into the field. The quality of the spurious books was even more abominable than the sub-standard quality of the nationalized text-books.

The loss which the State Governments suffered from the prevalence of counterfeit publications was about 10 crores, he said.

Mr Masani felt there were two remedies for the evil. One was to make such publications a cognizable offence but merely making an offence cognizable would not stop people from committing that offence.

A more foolproof remedy was to allow private publishers to compete with the State and to leave it to them to drive out the counterfeiters.

Mr Vasudevan Nair (Com.) charged the Education Ministry with failure to mould a new system of education in line with the declared objectives of the nation.

It had been proclaimed that primary and secondary education would be made universal, free and compulsory by 1960 but it was not likely to be achieved even by 1990. A 12-year higher secondary course had been laid down, but even now many States and universities were doing what they liked.

Concurrent subject

Mr Siddheswar Prasad (Cong.) stressed the need for including education in the subjects listed in the concurrent list of the Constitution.

Mr Prasad said that the high percentage of waste in university students could be checked if measures were taken to siphon off the less deserving ones towards technical and other institutions.

The member felt that the Sahitya Akademi should enlarge the scope of activities of translating books in the various Indian languages.

Mr P. Muthiah (Cong.) urged the Centre to use its influence with the Madras Government to see that the proposed Madurai University was established as early as possible.

He also wanted the University Grants Commission to be reconstituted with more powers and more funds. A Central Commission of Secondary Education should also be set up he added.

English irksome

Dr Mahadeva Prasad (Cong.) said the medium of instruction in universities should not be English as it was too burdensome on the students.

Mr Kashi Ram Gupta (Ind.) said the Education Minister should speak in Parliament in Hindi. He urged more Hindi teachers’ training colleges be set up in the southern region. Text-books should be printed in time.

Dr Chandra Bhan Singh (Cong.) said proper steps should be taken for the expansion of medical, scientific and technical education in the country. He wanted education to be brought into the concurrent list. He also stressed the need for cheap text-books.

Mr Yudhvir Singh Chaudhary (Jan Sangh) said the present system of education in India was still producing clerks as was intended by Lord Macaulay. He regretted there had been no progress since independence.

Mr Amarnath Vidyalankar (Con.) felt present day education was not fulfilling the hopes of the people because it lacked Indian surrounding.” Even now the same history books, written by the British and which sowed the seeds of separation were being taught in schools.

Better sports

English was a dividing wall between the educated and the uneducated people. As in Afghanistan and Indonesia, the medium of teaching should be in the mother tongue.

Mr Joachim Alva (Cong.) pleaded for better sports education. India was losing her position in the world of sports. A revolutionary step was needed to correct this.

Mrs Jyotsna Chanda (Cong.) wanted extra assistance to be given to her State. Assam for implementing the mid-day meal scheme.

She asked the Central Government to instruct the Assam Government to admit children of the minorities fleeing from Pakistan, into the schools of Assam without insisting on a migration certificate.

As the Deputy Speaker called Dr G. S. Melkote (Cong.) to speak, a member pointed out that there was no quorum. The House adjourned at 5-15 p.m. when more members failed to turn up.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, March 27, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals