ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Perspective Plan for Education.

Editorial from Volume X, No 7, February 15, 1958

Perspective Plan for Education Madras may legitimately take credit for bringing into focus for the first time possible action for the implementation of the Directive Principle of the Constitution on which all the States have defaulted, i e, that on compulsory education for all children boys and girls between the years of 6 and 14. This, the State Minister of Education, has been able to do by sizing up the problem, breaking it into parts, projecting it over time and relating the costs involved at each stage to the progress contemplated. For the first time, therefore, the problem has been reduced to manageable proportions.

But why make a mountain of a mole hill, it may be complained? Primar y education costs no foreign exchange. To say that it is held up because of the lack of trained personnel would be equally ridiculous when the problem of educated unemployed is one of the most formidable problems before the country. Why, then, this tardy progress? To argue thus, however, is to betray ignorance of the pattern of development that we have chosen to follow in t his count r y. Neglect of mass education is implicit in the aims and objectives behind Government policy, whether at the Centre or in the States. Let us not kid ourselves. There has been no articulate desire to build from the bottom or to go down to the grass roots. Since in the long run we are all dead, and the prevailing atmosphere in the country is that of cynicism, anything ‘perspective’ is bound to be damned right at the start. Yet the brilliant Education Minister of the State of Madras has chosen this very epithet for his practical and sensible scheme and called it “the Perspective Plan”, for the development of education. It will not be surprising if it is received with distrust, if not downright derision. That, however, is not the fault of the plan itself, but a necessary concession to realit y. The magnit ude of t he under t aking is such, and we have been so slack in get ting t he t hing started, that nothing much can be done here and now. What can be done here and now, however, is make a proper beginning. If this is done, then by the end of the Third Plan can free, universal and compulsory education be provided to children between the ages of 6 and 11 and not even then up to 14, as laid down in the Constitution. The merit of this perspective plan is that it lays down the cost control target on the basis that by the end of the Third Plan, expenditure on education should rise to Rs 7.50 per head of the population, of which rupees five should come from Government funds, one rupee each from local bodies and school fees and the balance of half a rupee from private donations.

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