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3.6 DR. ZAKIR HUSSAIN

A Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Zakir Hussain, Principal of the Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, was appointed by the All-India National Education Conference, which was convened at Wardha in October 1937 under the presidentship of Mr. Gandhi, on the lines suggested by its following resolutions:

  • That free and compulsory education be provide for seven years on a nationwide scale;
  • That the medium of instruction be the mother-tongue;
  • That the Conference endorses the proposal made by Gandhiji that the process of education throughout this period should centre round some form of manual and productive work and that all the other abilities to be developed or training to be given should, as far as possible, be integrally related to the central handicraft chosen with due regard to the environment of a child;
  • That the Conference expects that this system of education will be gradually able to cover the remuneration of the teachers.

The committee, after due deliberations, recommended the following steps:

  • The scheme of “Basic” education should first be introduced in rural areas.
  • The age range for compulsion should be 6 to 14 years, but children can be admitted to the “Basic” school at the age of 5.
  • Diversion of students from the “Basic” school to other kinds of school should be allowed after the 5th class or about the age of 11 plus.
  • The medium of instruction should be the vernacular of the pupils.
  • A common language for India is desirable. This should be Hindustani with both the Urdu and Hindi Scripts. Option should be given to children to choose the script and provision should be made for teaching them in that script. Every teacher should know both scripts, viz., Urdu and Hindi. Some members of the Committee suggest that the adoption of Roman script might prove a solution to the language difficulty and greatly minimize the work of both scholar and teacher.
  • The Wardha Scheme of Basic education is in full agreement with the recommendations made in the Wood-Abbott Report so far as the principle of learning by doing is concerned. This activity should be of many kinds in the, lower classes and later, sho lead to a Basic craft the produce from which should be saleable and the proceeds applied to the upkeep of the school.
  • Certain elements of cultural subjects, which cannot be correlated with the Basic craft, must be taught independently.
  • The training of teachers should be reorganized and their status raised.
  • No teacher should receive less than Rs. 20 per mensem.
  • Efforts should be made to recruit more women teachers and to persuade girls of good education to take up teaching.
  • Basic schools should be started only when suitable trained teachers are available.
  • The curriculum will need revision in the light of experience.
  • English should not be introduced as an optional subject in Basic schools.
  • The State should provide facilities as at present for every community to give religious teaching, when so desired but not At the cost of the state.
  • No external examinations need be held. At the end of the Basic school course a leaving certificate based on an internal examination should be given.
  • Pupils wishing to join other schools at the end of the 5th class (age 11+) should also be granted a leaving certificate.
  • Promotion from class to class will be determined be the school, though the results of the internal examinations should be subject to he supervisor’s inspection.

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