HC Deb 11 March 1904 vol 131 cc852-3

To ask the Secretary of State for India if he will state what is the total number of male children of a schoolgoing age in the Presidency of Madras, and how many of such children are now receiving education; also whether he is aware that notwithstanding the fact that grants in aid were paid in full there were 21,561 fewer boys receiving instruction in lower primary schools in the Madras Presidency in the year 1902–3 than was the case in the year 1892–3; and whether he will urge the Government of Madras to take the necessary steps with a view to largely increase the number of primary vernacular schools with duly qualified teachers; whether he is aware that 56.4 per cent, of the teachers are persons not qualified under existing rules; and, if so, will he cause such teachers to be replaced by others possessing the necessary qualifications.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Brodrick.) According to the latest report received, the total number of male children of a schoolgoing age in the Madras Presidency is 2,826,295, of whom 565,217 or 20 per cent, were under instruction in public primary schools, 112,046 boys are returned as attending indigenous and private primary schools, making a total of 677,263 in the primary stage of instruction, or 24 per cent, of the number of boys of schoolgoing age. I find that in 1892–3 526,980 boys were receiving instruction in public primary schools (upper and lower), or in primary classes of secondary schools, which is not 21,561 more but 38,237 less than the number under similar instruction in 1902–3. My hon. friend has apparently taken the figures for "lower primary" schools exclusively, but I am not aware of any I reason why "upper primary schools" should be excluded. The Government of India have frequently urged the extension of primary education, and are about to issue a general review of the state of education in India in which the point will again be strongly insisted on. In these circumstances I do not think it necessary to take any action in the matter. I am aware that the last Education Report for Madras shows 56.4 per cent, of the teachers, other than head masters, pandits, and special teachers, in primary schools as not fully qualified under the rules. This, however, does not mean that all of them were without qualifications. The substitution of fully certificated for less qualified teachers must be a gradual process, and the Report shows that the proportion of teachers not fully complying with the requirements of the rules has fallen from 58.8 per cent, in 1901–2 to 56.4 per cent, in 1902–3.