In 1917, the Government of India appointed the Calcutta University Commission which was asked, “to inquire into the conditions and prospects of the University of Calcutta and to consider the question of a constructive policy in relation to the questions it presents.” Dr. Michael Sadler, Vice- Chancellor of Leeds University, was appointed its Chairman. Hence this commission is popularly known as Sadler Commission. It submitted its report in 1919.

The jurisdiction of the Commission was stated thus:

“To enquire into the conditions and prospects of the University of Calcutta and to consider the question of a constructive policy in relation to the question it presents.”

Recommendations of the Sadler Commission

The Commission discussed each and every aspect of Indian education excepting primary education as it had no connection with primary education. The problems of secondary education were critically examined as it was held that a satisfactory reorganisation of university education was not possible until there was systematic overhauling of secondary education. The Commission suggested the need for separating the control and management of education upto the university stage from the university by advoca….

  • The formation of a Secondary and Intermediate Board (such a board was formed in Punjab in 1969-Fifty years after this recommendation).
  • The separation of the intermediate classes from degree classes by instituting separate intermediate colleges, providing instruction in Arts, Science, Engineering, Education, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry.
  • Admission to the university should take place after the intermediate and not the matriculation examination.
  • It also recommended a definite policy regarding the medium of instruction víz. mother tongue to be given a proper place as the medium of instruction throughout the high school classes except for the teaching of English and Mathematics, whereas English should be used as the medium of instruction and examination at the university stage.
  • It also examined the problems of Calcutta University and recommended (i) A University should be set up at Dacca: (ii) The teaching resources in Calcutta University should be organised in such an atmosphere of way as to create a real teaching in university and finally the development of mofussil colleges in such a way as would encourage the gradual rise of new university centres by the concentration of resources at a few points.
  • The Universities should not be under excessive control of the Department of Education of the state government.
  • Honours courses should be started.
  • Regarding the training of teachers, the Commission suggested that a Department of Education should be formed in each university and Education as a subject for the B.A. (Pass) and Intermediate courses should be introduced.
  • In regard to physical education, the Commission stated that a Director of Physical Education should be appointed and a board of students’ welfare should be instituted in every university.
  • Lastly, for the girls of 15 and 16 years of age, Purdah schools should be started.

The report of the Sadler Commission is an important report as for the first time, a full commission deals primarily with university education only. It infused a new life into the Indian universities which in future ceased to be governed by departments.

Critical Observations on the Report

  • “The report of the Commission contains the most comprehensive and authoritative study of the Indian education system from the secondary stage to the university stage. It is, therefore, quite natural that they have greatly influenced the subsequent course of secondary and higher education in the country.”
  • “The Report of the Calcutta University Commission has been a constant source of suggestion and information. Its significance in the history of Indian Education has been incalculable.”

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