HC Deb 30 April 1935 vol 301 cc301-25

If, after the commencement of Part III of this Act, circumstances arise which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, render it desirable so to do in order to maintain efficiency in the education services in any Province he may appoint to any post in those services, and may determine the pay and conditions of service of all persons appointed in accordance with the provisions of this section—[Mr. G. Nicholson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

8.57 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I feel that I should apologise to the Committee for raising such a vast subject at a moment which is clearly more or less inauspicious, but I beg the indulgence of the Committee and their forgiveness if what few remarks I make are rather staccato, as I have a wide field to cover, and it is my intention to cover it as fully as possible in the minimum of time. I realise that this is not the time for a general disquisition on the whole subject of education in India. I move this Clause for two reasons First, I wish to do something for the cause of education in India; and, second, I do not think that it would be consonant with the dignity and with the reputation of this House if such a vast matter as education in India were passed over in the course of the debates on this Bill without a single moment being devoted to its discussion.

The object of the Clause is quite clear. It is to give the Secretary of State power to make appointments in the education services of any Province if there appears to him to be good reason to do so; in other words, if there is grave deterioration in those education services. I want to be perfectly frank. I do not expect the Government to accept this new Clause to-night. In the absence of the Secretary of State that would be ridiculous, but I am bold enough to hope that the wide measure of support which the Clause has received, and which, I hope, it will receive during the course of the Debate, may persuade hon. Members on the Front Bench to ask the Secretary of State to give the matter his serious consideration before the Report stage. It will be noticed that so wide is the support which I have received, that Even the ranks of Tuscany Could scarce forbear to cheer. I am very glad to receive the support of the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl), but I want to make it clear that I refuse to be answerable for any excesses or atrocities that may be committed by the Tuscan regiments. I shall not press this Clause to a Division.

I want to give the Committee a brief outline of the situation as regards education in India. It is a subject that was entirely transferred under the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms. The next great landmark in the history of the transferred subject is the Lee Commission, the result of which has been that since 1924 there has been no further European recruitment or indeed any recruitment to the Indian Education Service, and two years ago—these are the latest figures I have—there were only 93 members of the Indian Education Service left. I want to make it clear that, as a transferred subject, in my opinion, education has been very well managed and directed. I am not one of those who join in the general criticism of Indians and Indian politicians, owing to their administration of education.

There are certain very ominous symptoms in the educational position as it exists in India to-day. It is a fact that no Province has yet instituted a superior education service which it was intended should replace the Indian Education Service, but I wish to dissociate myself entirely and completely from the statement that education in India has deteriorated owing to the reforms. I make no such charge. I am not quarrelling with the existing policy with regard to education. My contention merely is that in the event of a serious breakdown the Secretary of State should have reserved powers. I shall be told that I am merely trying to add to the list of safeguards, and to a certain extent that is true, but I submit that this is not an ordinary safeguard and that education is in a category by itself. I maintain, and I am sure that I shall have the Committee with me, that education, of all the services that this country has rendered and is rendering to India, is the most disinterested. I say with a perfectly clear conscience that my suggested Clause is purely in the interests of India, and not in the interests of England, and that by no stretch of the imagination could this country be accused of selfish motives were this Clause accepted.

I have said that I fully realise that this is not the time for a general disquisition on the subject, but it is such a fundamental one that I am compelled to beg the indulgence of the Committee for a few moments longer. I do so, because I am convinced that not only the successful working of this Bill, but the whole future of India itself depends upon education in India. I want to ask hon. Members a very fundamental question. What, in their opinion, are we trying to do in India? What is our main ideal in India? Do we limit ourselves to the enforcement of law and order and to the administration of justice? Shall we consider that our duty is done when we have set the feet of India upon the path of material prosperity? I feel that our duty and our destiny are far greater than that. As I see it, we are trying to build up in India a civilisation that shall embody all that is greatest and best in the English tradition; one that will learn from our failings and profit by our mistakes. Our ideals, in short, are those which every father should have for his son. I cannot believe that we shall carry out these ideals merely by establishing material prosperity. Nor do I believe we shall do so merely by the force of the example of the thousands of Englishmen who have given and are giving their lives in the service of India. I claim that if India is to benefit to the full by the experience of the West it can only do so by means of education services which embody the best that England has to offer. This belief is abundantly justified by what is being accomplished in India to-day.

A certain type of person constantly decries educational work in India. Nobody can shut their eyes to the shortcomings and the failings of educational work in India to-day, but it would be equally foolish to ignore the great work which is being done. I do not wish to deluge the Committee with statistics, but a few are necessary. There were two years ago over a quarter of a million recognised and unrecognised institutions for the education of boys and girls. There were in those institutions nearly 13,000,000 pupils, including 1,100,000 of the depressed classes. I do not wish to weary the Committee, but I do not think that hon. Members can have any idea of the vast extent of the educational machine in India, which includes many universities, technical colleges, art colleges, high schools—several Provinces have over 1,000 high schools—middle schools, and elementary schools of all sorts. It is a tremendously impressive list that I could offer to the Committee did I think the moment more auspicious or hon. Members more interested in the subject. I content myself with saying that I personally feel more proud of England's work in education in India than of any other branch of our achievement.

The system that we have erected in India is easy to laugh at. It is easy to laugh at the efforts of an Eastern race to assimilate Western education. Our comic papers are full of examples of the mistakes that the Baboo makes with the English language. It is easy to criticise and easy to mock at. It is easy to laugh at the workship of the examination system which obtains in India. But anybody who has been in India, for however short a time, sees more of pathos than of humour in the educational system that exists there, and more pathos than humour in the thirst for knowledge that is a most prominent feature in Indian life in the year of grace 1935. I do not think so much of the humorous mistakes of the Indian student in learning the English language as of the thousands of parents who are literally starving themselves in order to provide education for their children. I think of the scores of thousands of devoted teachers scattered through the length and breadth of the land who exist on a pittance that would be ludicrous and would indeed be a matter for laughter were it not the actual truth that men and women are attempting to exist upon such pittances. I can think of cases within my own knowledge. I think of every village in India—and there are half a million of them—demanding schools. There is something to my mind infinitely pathetic in this demand, this clamour for education. Education, which to the Indian is the key to the higher life and to everything that makes life worth living. That is the most prominent feature of Indian life to-day.

In this very enthusiasm for education there resides the danger for education in India. The main danger is that quantity will be increasingly substituted for quality. The record of every Indian Legislature since the last reforms is on those lines. They say, "We are spending, say, 100,000 rupees on 1,000 schools, which is 1,000 rupees per school," and they desire to spend the same amount of money but to have twice the number of schools each costing half as much, as before. It is obvious that that sort of thing must result in progressive deterioration, but it is not so obvious to them. There are other grave dangers in the Indian educational system—one is the increasing neglect of female education. Then there is great danger of communal education, with every community in every village demanding its own communal school. You will have your school attended by Hindus, your "maktab" for Mohammedans and various secondary schools, and perhaps an agricultural school. I ask the Committee to remember that this is an alien system embodying alien principles and alien ideals, and it depends for its success entirely upon direction and inspection by the right kind of person.

I wish I could make the Committee see as I see the difference between the right type of high school in an Indian Province and the wrong type. I am thinking of two schools that I visited a few months ago. One was all that was lamentable in education, directed by a drunken head master, existing on a mere pittance, while the other, a few miles away, was the finest thing in education. The school magazine of that school would give a picture comparing favourably with the school life of any secondary school in this country. It all depends on education and inspiration from above. In other words it is essential that English standards should be maintained. I have no reason to doubt that all that I have said is fully recognised by Indians in India today. I am not making any criticism of the educational ideals that obtain in India. My point is that the consequences of deterioration, however unlikely that deterioration may be, will be so serious that we as Parliament in this country can in no wise be justified in risking such deterioration.

I am prepared to face the idea of a breakdown in any other branch of Government than in education. You can restore quite easily law and order. You can restore irrigation. You can even restore defence, and you can certainly restore public health, but it takes a long time to restore a breakdown in education. I speak perhaps in an exaggerated way, but I could face the loss of 50,000,000 lives with far greater equanimity than the loss of the whole educational system of a country. This Bill is an experiment: a perfectly justifiable experiment. We are entirely justified in experimenting with the lives, the safety and the happiness of the people of India, but I do not feel justified in making an experiment at the expense of unborn generations and of the Indians. Completely washing our hands of education in India will be making such an experiment.

I understand that the First Commissioner of Works is going to reply to my feeble effort. I can almost make his speech for him. He will say that he entirely agrees with my remarks, with what he imagines I have been attempting to say, but that in any case this is a transferred subject, and we cannot go back on our steps. He will say that if there was a lack of wisdom in transferring this subject that is the responsibility of those who carried through the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, and that to go back on those reforms would be a slap in the face for Indian opinion. But is it impossible to go back? I ask the Committee to note that in this proposal I suggest giving the power of appointment to the Secretary of State; in other words, to this House, not to the Governor-General or the Governor. Secondly, are the Government justified in saying that my proposal would be regarded as a slap in the face of Indian opinion unless it has already been mooted in India? I shall not attempt to press the matter to a division, but I would ask the Under-Secretary or the First Commissioner of Works to pass on my request to the Secretary of State that this matter should be mooted in India before the Report stage, that there should be some investigation undertaken. I should consider it the gravest derogation of our responsibilities towards present and unborn generations in India if we abandoned all responsibility for the education services in this sub-continent.

9.17 p.m.


In supporting the new Clause, I should like to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether he has read the latest report of the Director of Education for Assam, which was published in December last. I read it in the "Assam Times," and the Director of Education commented upon the fact that in the examinations for girls in Assam none of those from State-aided schools were in the first 10. They were from schools run by missionaries or at any rate private schools, and he regarded this as a scandal and disgrace. I was a member of the Assam Legislative Council about 1924 when we had a European instructress of schools, but on account of financial stringency she was dismissed. Returning in about 10 years' time I see this report, that the standard of female education has sunk considerably since the European instructress of schools was dismissed. I do not say that it happens in every school in India, but I have been told by Indians that many of the schoolmasters and schoolmistresses are underpaid. What can you expect from a schoolmaster who arrives at 10.30 a.m. when the school should start at 9.30, and the first thing he does is to write down in the diary "Arrived at half-past nine." I do not put that forward as a joke, because that is the kind of education administration you get when people are underpaid. I hope the First Commissioner of Works, if he has a few minutes to spare, will read the report of the Director of Education in Assam, and in that case I am sure he would be sympathetic towards the new Clause.

9.20 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel APPLIN

I should have put my name to this proposal but for the fact that I have been ill. It affects materially those whom I represent, the Anglo-Indians. The schools to which Anglo-Indians go are mainly run by Christian missionaries or the Church in India Perhaps the biggest of these schools is the Bishop Cotton school at Bangalore, and I understand that Bangalore is now to be handed over to the Maharaja—a place which has been a British station for nearly 100 years is to be handed back and with it the Bishop Cotton school. The Maharaja of Mysore is an educated and enlightened man and as long as he is on the throne everything will be well. But we have to remember that in the course of time another Maharaja may be on the throne and that this particular school, and others like it, may fall into decay. This proposal is absolutely essential in order to preserve the education of Anglo-Indians, who after all are statutory natives of India and have a right as natives of India to education. They have a right to education in schools such as we have in this country. It may be a non-sectarian school, but it is a school of essentially a British character, because the Anglo-Indians have been brought up in the traditions of Englishmen.

Therefore, I feel that the new Clause is of vital importance to the community I represent, and I beg the Secretary to look far into the future when this Bill becomes an Act and the government of India is in the hands of Indians. We are still responsible for the community which we created, who, without education are bound to fall and go under. Hon. Members opposite are great believers in education. This is one of the safeguards for the education of Anglo-Indians for whom we are responsible, and I beg the Secretary of State to give it his gravest consideration before he turns down a proposal which is absolutely essential to this community to-day.

9.23 p.m.


I can ease the mind of the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield (Lieut.-Colonel Applin) at once. This proposal does not affect in any way Anglo-Indian schools, and, if it were added to the Bill, it would not make the slightest difference to them. We have passed Clause 83 which safeguards the grants to Anglo-Indian schools, but above all the essential point to bear in mind is that the Anglo-Indians have their own school boards, make their own appointments and do their own recruiting. This proposal merely means a resumption by the Secretary of State of recruiting for the ordinary Provincial schools under ministers in the Provinces, and I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that if he thinks the new Clause would help him in any way he is quite mistaken. He need have no anxiety. The point to which he has referred has been abundantly met and covered.

I honestly think that my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. G. Nicholson) has made rather too heavy weather of the Clause which he moved, which is, after all, limited to a, narrow point, although it has been made the basis for saying many things about education in India in the past, present and future. The Clause is really confined to a proposal to give the Secretary of State power to resume the recruiting of personnel for the educational services which have been transferred. It is always very difficult when speaking from this Box to remember that one is not a private Member. I remember that when I was a private Member, at the time of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, being particularly keen on the transfer of education to Indian Ministers and to the Provincial Councils, because nobody was more critical than I was then—possibly ignorantly—of the system of education under the British Raj in the old days. There have been individual cases of remarkable effort by remarkable individuals in the educational services. But, rightly or wrongly, I have always taken the view that from the time of Macaulay onwards—and going back even further than Macaulay to the day when Warren Hastings failed to carry his point against the Anglicisers in this country—the whole basis on which we attempted to base our educational imposition on India was unsound. All the time I was at the Colonial Office and working on the committee of education at the Colonial Office, I endeavoured to prevent what was allowed to happen in India happening in the Colonial Empire. I think it was a fundamental mistake that we put all our money, all our personnel and all our effort into higher education for the children of the intelligentsia, and lamentably neglected rural and primary education.

That is the tragedy of India during the last century. It is because I see under the reforms a real effort on the part of Ministers, particularly in the Punjab and the United Provinces, to concentrate on primary education and to adapt the education to rural environment and to rural needs, that I welcome the results of transfer. Let me at once contradict the statement made by my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth when he talked about the deterioration of girls' education since the reforms. May I point out that the number of pupils in Government schools in India has gone up between 1918 and 1932—the last year for which I have official figures. The number of girls has gone up by 100 per cent. and the number of boys by 33⅓ per cent., and there has been a most encouraging progress in the provision of further facilities for female education in the Provinces. I want to emphasise that because I think it was an unfortunate suggestion that female education has been neglected by Ministers under transferred education.


Does my right hon. Friend ask us to believe that the question of numbers proves anything as to the value of the education?


No. I was not talking about that. I was replying to the speech of the hon. Member for Morpeth, who suggested that there had been a decline in female education. As I was saying, the figures of quantity show an opposite result. As to the point of quality, it is true that since education has been transferred there has been a conscious effort by Indians to change the character of the education given in many of the schools. Remember what we have always concentrated upon. Ever since the old days we have concentrated upon academic education—examination standards and mark-earning capacity. That was the old tradition we imposed on India, and we imposed it particularly in the literary form. We also imposed it, remember, with this great limitation—that whereas that academic education in this country is accompanied in all our schools by some religious education, all that we could give India was the academic English education without any religion. In fact we gave them early Victorianism plus a sort of enforced agnosticism. I am not surprised at the result. Those who have read the recent book on Warren Hastings will remember how he endeavoured to resist those at home who belittled the culture, the drama, the literature, the art and the history indigenous in India. Macaulay came along and said this idea was valueless and that the whole object of education should be to impose Western ideas and methods of education upon the Indian people. Since the reforms, and since the transfer of education, there has been an element of re-nationalisation in Indian education, and I believe that the Indians have had to start again in their primary schools in some of their educational effort. I would be the last to belittle that attempt. I do not want to recall my own discussions of this subject in the past; they are no doubt unsuitable for anybody speaking from this Box. But what is the authoritative report on this subject? It is the report of the Hartog Committee, and this is what they say on this matter: So far as we have been able to judge, the Ministers have shown themselves zealous for the advancement of education—particularly of primary and rural education—and some of them have shown marked abilities in dealing with the practical problems before them. They have inherited many defects in the present system as a legacy from pre-reform days. That is a great tribute by the Hartog Committee to what has been done. I would only say this, that it is rather a reflection on the educational system of India that education should be, both in quality and in quantity, so much more advanced in several of the leading native States than it is in British India. Nobody can gainsay that. In Travancore and Baroda, and in other States, it is definitely ahead. And, of course, there they have combined what the West can give in the way of science and art and the like with the preservation of all that is best in the national tradition.

I do not know much of India, but I have been almost all over the Colonial Empire, and there our whole effort has been to prevent the denationalisation of education, to preserve the vernaculars, to build upon them, to use the Mother tongue of the children as the main medium of instruction everywhere, and to introduce European subjects after the traditions of the life and environment of the child have formed the basis of education. I cannot help thinking that if that had been the policy in India—I see it to-day beginning again to be the policy in India—India would not present us with such political, administrative, and, above all, with such sad problems and difficulties as we have to face in the minds and hearts and very souls of some of the people.

9.37 p.m.


We shall all feel indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for having delivered the speech that he has just delivered. It was time that speech of that sort was delivered in this House, and I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for having taken the trouble to enlighten us as to what precisely has happened in regard to education in India in the last 10 or 12 years. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the Mover of this new Clause did make rather heavy weather over this subject, and perhaps unnecessarily. Let us not be unduly severe with the Indian people. I do not wish to excuse anything that is evidence of any deterioration, if such evidence can be adduced, but, after all, these people have had a tremendous task confronting them. What is a period of 14 years for people to leave a lasting impression upon an educational system so widespread as that of British India? I have heard one or two comments, which I frankly confess rather amused me, from hon. Members who have spoken. For instance, an hon. Gentleman cited, not on his own authority, but on that of someone in India, a certain educational report in Assam. What was the point there made? It was that in some educational results that were presented the first 10 places were taken by the pupils of missionary schools as against the State schools. But the first 10 places had to be taken by someone, anyway.


A similar thing very often happens here.


That is the point to which I was coming. Examine the results of, say, a competition for exhibitions at Oxford or Cambridge, and it will be found that large numbers of them are taken by children from the elementary schools. Is that a reflection on the public schools of the country? If it is a scandal that pupils of the State schools of Assam do not take first places in the competitions of Assam, equally it is a scandal that our public schools take second place to the elementary schools in competitions in this country. There is not very much in that. It is a small point and not a fair point to advance against the general approach of the Indian people to a very heavy and responsible task.

It is quite true, judging from what I have read of education in India, that they do tend to attach undue importance to academic results. But what of that? It is only some seven years ago that we ourselves in this country had a report presented to us on our own post-primary education, and it was the comment of the Hadow Committee that we ourselves are applying too much of an academic standard to our educational work here. Now we are inviting education authorities up and down the country to reorganise education so as to provide for practical-minded children. If the Indian reformers apply themselves to the task of providing for the vast population of children in the countryside by equipping their schools or developing a curriculum that is applicable to the agricultural needs of the country, then I wish them God speed in their efforts, for one of the most deplorable results of our secondary schools here has been that we have emphasised so much the clever child's needs as against the needs of the ordinary child. If the Indian reformers feel that there is something in the Indian culture that ought to be harnessed to this great task of educational progress, by all means let them do it. I am all in favour of the retention of these cultural traditions in a country. I wish that the traditions of my own little country had been safeguarded more in the past in the schools of my country. But in a country like India, where they have a noble tradition, cultural as well as otherwise, it is all to the good that the schools should be encouraged to develop a respect on the part of the children for their cultural inheritance.

I was very glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman pay his very remarkable tribute to the approach by the Indian educational reformers to their task. But I would add this, and here perhaps I am with the Mover of this new Clause: It is encouraging to have this testimonial given, but perhaps, in common with others who desire to be understood to be sympathetic to the Indian people's aspirations, I may be allowed to say that I hope that the Indian people, and the Indian reformers in particular, will take special care to see that education is amply safeguarded in future by them. The instrument of education is a most potent weapon in the building up of an efficient democracy such as we hope may be realised in future in India. Nations march on the feet of little children, and if this Bill becomes an Act the children of India may be introduced to a civic responsibility such as their fathers were never called upon to take. I am sure that in facing that new civic responsibility education will be a most potent force.

9.44 p.m.


I want to express my gratification that the question of education has been discussed. We have to thank the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. G. Nicholson) for putting down this new Clause so that the question could be raised. It would have been a pity if 30 days had been given to the debating of this Bill and some time had not been given to education, a subject upon which the future of India so largely depends. I only hope that in the midst of our comment upon education in India we shall not forget the very remarkable contribution that has been made by the missionaries. The work that has been done by the missionary in India in relation to education has been a factor of untold consequence. In particular I would refer to the work of the missionaries among the depressed classes. I have had opportunity of learning something about the work which has been done in districts like Hyderabad among the depressed classes, and the fact that those classes have now some prospect of coming into a fuller share in the life of India is due to the work of the missionaries probably more than to any other single factor. A great tribute was paid by the Statutory Commission to the missionaries when it was said that their work had given hope to people who had been hopeless for generations and centuries. I think that is a remark which ought to be made when we are discussing this subject to-night.

I feel myself in general agreement with the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works but I wish he would get away from Macaulay. I thought his reference to Macaulay, in the Second Reading Debate, was one which would not be approved of in India. Probably there would be much stronger approval of Macaulay in India than the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to give. Macaulay's famous note is one of the most remarkable contributions that has been made to the study of Indian history. It was based on considerable study and was not a decision arrived at casually. Although the right hon. Gentleman spoke of being saved from political difficulties, there we had the Tory speaking rather than the educationist. Macaulay thought that the teaching of our Western ideas and our Western literature would inspire the love of liberty. He said in this House that if we gave Indians education the time might come when as a result of it they would demand Western institutions, and, if they did so, it would be the proudest day in our history. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman, in referring to the political difficulties upon which we have entered, wished that the Indian people had never made that demand.

I think that the ideal before the Indian is something better even than the development of his indigenous institutions, and that is the combination of all that is best in East and West. Sir Rabindranath Tagore has said that the combination of what has been learned in the West with the philosophy of the East may bring some contribution to civilisation which would not be possible from this country alone and would not be possible from India alone, and in a very remarkable book published the other day, "The New Empire," by Mr. K. M. Panikkar, the writer asked why some effort should not be made to bring the achievements of British art home to the Indian people. He said it would be well worth the while of this country to spend money in putting before the people of India, especially the educated youth of India, some of the best examples of British art, and he suggested that a few thousand pounds spent in that direction might have remarkable results. In the past the mistake has been made of dealing with the Indians as if we were dealing with an uncivilised people. We are of course dealing with a people who had a highly developed civilisation before this country had emerged from the mists of antiquity. India had a system thousands of years ago under which the teacher took the supreme place in society and was honoured above all others.

While I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the statement he made just now, I hope he will not refer to Macaulay again or, if he does, that he will pay the tribute which ought to be paid to a man who, perhaps next to Burke, would be recognised in India to-day as a sort of intellectual bridge between India and ourselves. If the educated Indian has that regard for Macaulay, I do not think that this House is the place where Macaulay ought to be disparaged. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman is attaching too much importance to the books written of late by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping is not the best judge of Macaulay. I hope we can discuss this question of education, important as it is, as the very basis of all Indian life, without disparaging one whose name will long be held in high honour in this House as well as in India.

10.0 p.m.

Viscount WOLMER

The Committee is greatly indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. G. Nicholson) for having stimulated a most interesting and I think important discussion. I must congratulate my hon. Friend on the exceedingly able and interesting speech which he made in support of the new Clause. He showed what an enthusiastic educationist he is and he also showed how heavily he feels the responsibility resting on every member of this Committee in regard to the Indian Constitution. I only wish that that sense of responsibility were shared by more hon. Members, in which case we should have better attended Debates. As I say, the speech of my hon. Friend was exceedingly eloquent, and he drew attention to a very important point. I do not share his willingness to try experiments in the lives and fortunes of 350,000,000 of His Majesty's subjects. He said he could view with equanimity the loss of 50,000,000 lives. I think that was the figure which he said would be necessary in order to arouse any sense of remorse at all in him. Apparently 49,000,000 could go to the shambles and my hon. Friend would not turn a hair. I cannot subscribe to that feeling in favour of grave experiment. The one thing in which my hon. Friend is not prepared to experiment, beyond a certain point is education. Personally I agree with all he said regarding the importance of education to Indians.

My hon. Friend was answered by the First Commissioner of Works in an equally eloquent speech, the only defect of which was that it did not deal at all with the points made in favour of the new Clause. My right hon. Friend treated the Committee to an eloquent account of what he said in 1919 and how right he had been and how careful he had been to carry out his admirable and excellent principles in all parts of the British Empire over which he ever had control. We followed him in his peregrinations through the Colonies, and listened with great enjoyment and benefit to his account of the doctrines which he enunciated. But he made no attempt to answer the points made by the Mover of the Clause. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) also delighted the Committee with a very eloquent speech which did not deal at all with the points made by the hon. Member for Morpeth. Then we had the eloquent speech of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) which was quite as irrelevant to the whole Debate as the speech of the First Commissioner of Works. But the reputation of Macaulay has as much to do with the subject raised by the hon. Member for Morpeth as the development of education in the Colonial Empire.

The hon. Member for Morpeth said there ought to be a safeguard in this Constitution in the case of an educational breakdown. If I understood him aright, he does not anticipate that this safeguard would ever have to be used—he does not suggest that in the least—but he says that when you are passing a Constitution into which you have put a number of safeguards on all vital matters, it is wrong and unwise not to have a safeguard in regard to education; and I am bound to say that I entirely agree with him. I regard this as a matter of moral responsibility. My right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works is, unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth, delighted to see the Indians making their educational experiments. The hon. Member for Morpeth does not mind the lives of 50,000,000 men being lost in experiments in law and order, and the First Commissioner of Works does not mind the educational careers of 50,000,000 children being blighted in the educational experiments of the people of India. I certainly want to see neither 50,000,000 Indians massacred, nor the educational careers of 50,000,000 Indian children wrecked by injudicious educational experiments.

I think that what the hon. Member for Morpeth said is perfectly true, and I doubt if any hon. Member would contradict him when he said that the tendency of those experiments has been to sacrifice quality to quantity. I was amazed to hear the First Commissioner of Works refute his argument by saying that the number of girls who had entered schools had gone up by 100 per cent. That is exactly the gravamen of the charge, if charge it be, that was levied by the hon. Member for Morpeth, and that is the criticism that you hear by those who are very well qualified to speak on the subject. The danger is that in order to improve their statistics Indian Ministers may be sacrificing the real educational needs of the children, and in those circumstances the hon. Member for Morpeth asks the Committee to put a provision in the Bill under which, if affairs in any one Province get to a pass which amounts to a public scandal, the Secretary of State shall have power to step in. The Clause would not come into operation unless affairs did amount to a public scandal, and if affairs had got to that pitch, would my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works or any Member of His Majesty's Government deny that something would have to be done? What would they propose to do in these circumstances?


I do not see how recruiting a few men in England and sending them out to a Province is really going to help.

Viscount WOLMER

If my right hon. Friend had really addressed himself to the practical difficulties of dealing with the problem, I should have more sympathy with him, but I do not understand him to have admitted that the necessity for any such action ought to be considered in the Bill. It seems to me that my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth has suggested a very important remedy. After all, what is education divorced from personality, from the personality of the teachers and the education officers? The whole efficieny of your educational system depends on the men and women who are administering it. Everybody admits that there has been educational failure in certain Provinces. How great that failure has been is no doubt a matter of difference of opinion, but nobody would deny that there have been cases of failure as well as cases of success. Where there has been a failure it has surely been due to the fact of putting people to do the job who are incompetent to do it, either because they are insufficiently paid, or because they are given classes which are too big for them to be able to control, or for some other such reason.

Therefore, when my right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works asks how this Clause would help to deal with the situation, I reply that I do not think it would be a complete remedy, but it would be a very important step, and I think it is a step that certainly ought to be taken. As I was saying when my right hon. Friend interrupted me, this Clause would never come into operation unless there had been a really bad educational breakdown in any Province, and will any Member of the Committee deny that in such circumstances something ought to be done? The Under-Secretary of State will no doubt correct me if I am wrong, but, as I understand it, there is no provision in the Bill by which a state of affairs such as this new Clause contemplates can be dealt with. For instance, I do not suppose the Governor of a Province would declare that a state of emergency had arisen because all the children were being badly educated. You could not call it a state of emergency, but it might be a real scandal. You might, as my hon. Friend said, be inflicting an appalling injury on these children and on the whole constitutional future of India. If such a situation did arise, then I say that the Secretary of State or the Governor-General—personally, I should prefer the Governor-General to the Secretary of State—ought to have the power to step in.

After all, we come back to the old dilemma. If the necessity is not going to arise, what harm is there in inserting a Clause of this sort? The Clause would never come into operation unless the necessity arose, and if the necessity does arise, I say that you have no other provision to deal with it. Therefore, I hope the Government will give more sympathetic consideration to the proposal of my hon. Friend, and, if I may say so, there is no more whole-hearted Conservative supporter of this Bill—there are not many of them—than my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth. He is, like Caesar's wife, above suspicion in regard to this Bill. He is a genuine friend of the Bill, he is a genuine friend of education, and he is obviously worried and alarmed. He thinks it is necessary that a safeguard should be put in against a possible breakdown. Will anyone here present deny the possibility of a breakdown? With the facts before them, who can deny the possibility of an educational breakdown in certain Provinces? That being the case, ought we not at any rate to have in reserve some power? This may not be the best method, but, if the Government will only admit the necessity of having some machinery, I am sure my hon. Friend will be ready to consider any plan better than his. At present the Bill has no provision of this sort, and I submit that that is a state of affairs to which we ought not to agree. As my hon. Friend said, the educational future of India is a matter of vital importance to the whole working of the Constitution, and it is certainly a subject on which we require safeguards as we do in regard to other matters.

10.5 p.m.


This has been a most provoking Debate. Perhaps first of all I might be allowed to deny that I wish to massacre 50,000,000 people. I have never before seen myself in the role of Moloch. I merely used that expression as perhaps a rather wild comparison, meaning that human life was perhaps of less importance than the cultural future of whole generations. I do make heavy weather of the subject. I think that it is a very serious subject, and if I have treated it seriously I really make no apology. My right hon. Friend said to the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer): "What good would it do if the Secretary of State appointed a few people to a Province in a case of deterioration of the educational service?" I was amazed to hear that remark. One reason why education has worked so well under the reforms is that every Minister has had the loyal and capable support of his Director of Public Instruction who has been a member of the moribund Indian Educational Service.

If the right hon. Gentleman will give me four or five people of my own choosing in every Province, I will answer for the educational service in that Province. You need a capable Director of Public Instruction and three or four capable people to carry out his wishes. As the Noble Lord has said, the First Commissioner of Workes has not said what the verdict of the Government is on the Clause. I have a strong suspicion what that verdict would be, but I hope that he will inform the House as to it. I wish to protest very seriously and strongly against the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman. I think that he is guilty of something approaching sentimentalism in his view. How many languages are taught in the primary school of India, and in how many of these languages is there sufficient literature to provide an adequate basis for a cultural education? In most cases instruction has to be given in a dead language, namely, Sanskrit. In primary schools you give instruction in the vernacular of the district, but beyond the stage of primary instruction you are almost forced to give instruction in English.

We are trying in India to impose on a whole mass of different races and languages a, system of education which is fundamentally Western, and I maintain that we have been perfectly right in trying to build up a class of people sufficiently imbued with our educational ideals to try to carry on that Western system. I beg my right hon. Friend not to sentimentalise too far about Indian culture and civilisation. I am convinced that if he studied it a little further he would find that he is relying on a broken reed. I beg the Government to give this matter their honest and sympathetic consideration. I regard it as one of the most fundamental importance. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.



10.11 p.m.


I did not want to say very much on the subject, but I had in the course of my service a great deal of experience of education, and I should like to make one or two comments on what has been said by various hon. Members. Over the greater part of India there was no system of education at all before the British Raj introduced it. The only education was education in Sanskrit in certain centres for Brahmins, and there was a Mohammedan university. Those people who wanted to have children taught to read and write were the people who made their living by methods which required reading and writing, and three or four of these would club together and employ a teacher for their children. The Province I knew best was the Central Province, and it was remarkable how in the course of time people began to ask for primary schools. The children give up school at an early age and forget all they ever learned, and I well recollect stopping in a village where I had not been before and asking the people how many could read and write. They said, "About 14." I said, "How long have you had a school here?" They said, "Forty years." I said, "You must all have been at school." They said, "We have, but we have forgotten all that we learned."


I necessarily allowed this Debate to go a little wide, but I think that I must remind the hon. Member that we have a particular new Clause before the Committee, and up to the present his speech has had no reference to it.

Viscount WOLMER

Surely the working of education in India has as much to do with this new Clause as references to Macaulay?


But the Noble Lord will perhaps have heard me say on other occasions that if I have made a mistake

once, that is no reason why I should repeat it.


I will try and make a few remarks that will be in order. The hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. G. Nicholson) hoped that provision would be made in the Bill for recruiting the Service in the event of education seriously deteriorating or breaking down. It was with great reluctance, as a member of the Lee Commission, that I agreed to bring the All-India Education Service to an end, because I said that if you are introducing Western ideas and systems into India surely at no time do you more require teachers acquainted with the West to train the youth to benefit by those systems. Other considerations prevailed, however, and I have always thought it was a great pity that that Service was brought to an end. Undoubtedly there has been deterioration in education and in many respects the general standards have tended to fall. One aspect of that deterioration is shown by the fact that the people who want their sons and nephews to get employment are always in favour of lowering the standards of examinations, so that they may pass and get the qualifications for employment. They do not mind what the qualifications are so long as they can write after their names the magic letters which are the pass to employment.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 19; Noes, 195.

Division No. 159.] AYES. [10.20 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Greene, William P. C. Remer, John R.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Broadbent, Colonel John Gritten, W. G. Howard Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Carver, Major William H. Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Knox, Sir Alfred Wragg, Herbert
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Reid, David D. (Country Down) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Sir Basil Peto and Major Courtauld
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Bossom, A. C. Christie, James Archibald
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Boulton, W. W. Clayton, Sir Christopher
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Bower, Commander Robert Tatton Cleary, J. J.
Aske, Sir Robert William Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Colman, N. C. D.
Assheton, Ralph Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.
Attlee, Clement Richard Brass, Captain Sir William Cook, Thomas A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Cooke, Douglas
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Crooke, J. Smedley
Balniel, Lord Burghley, Lord Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)
Banfield John William Butler, Richard Austen Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Cadogan, Hon. Edward Croom-Johnson, R. P.
Batey, Joseph Caporn, Arthur Cecil Cross, R. H.
Beit, Sir Alfred L. Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Culverwell, Cyril Tom
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Daggar, George
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Law, Sir Alfred Rankin, Robert
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Rathbone, Eleanor
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Lawson, John James Rea, Walter Russell
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Leckle, J. A. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Leech, Dr. J. W. Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Rickards, George William
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Liddall, Walter S. Ropner, Colonel L.
Emrys- Evans, P. V. Lindsay, Noel Ker Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Llewellin, Major John J. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick Salmon, Sir Isidore
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Lloyd, Geoffrey Salt, Edward W.
Fox, Sir Gifford Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Fremantle, Sir Francis Loftus, Pierce C. Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Ganzoni, Sir John Logan, David Gilbert Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Gardner, Benjamin Walter Lunn, William Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lyons, Abraham Montagu Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Goff, Sir Park MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Smithers, Sir Waldron
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) McEntee, Valentine L. Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding) McKeag, William Spens, William Patrick
Grigg, Sir Edward McKie, John Hamilton Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)
Grimston, R. V. Magnay, Thomas Stones, James
Groves, Thomas E. Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Storey, Samuel
Grundy, Thomas W. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Strauss, Edward A.
Gunston, Captain D. W. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Strickland, Captain W. F.
Guy, J. C. Morrison Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.
Harris, Sir Percy Milne, Charles Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Milner, Major James Sutcliffe, Harold
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Moreing, Adrian C. Thompson, Sir Luke
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Tinker, John Joseph
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Holdsworth, Herbert Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Turton, Robert Hugh
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Munro, Patrick Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) O'Donovan, Dr. William James Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Hume, Sir George Hopwood O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Orr Ewing, I. L. Weymouth, Viscount
Jamieson, Douglas Owen, Major Goronwy White, Henry Graham
Janner, Barnett Parkinson, John Allen Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Patrick, Colin M. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Pearson, William G. Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Percy, Lord Eustace Wills, Wilfrid D.
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Perkins, Walter R. D. Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Petherick, M. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Ker, J. Campbell Pickthorn, K. W. M. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Kerr, Hamilton W. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Radford, E. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Ramsbotham, Herwald Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
and Sir Walter Womersley.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.