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Provincial Geographies of India/Volume 1/Chapter 11

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CHAPTER XI

THE PEOPLE (continued): EDUCATION

Educational progress.— According to the census returns of 1911 there are not four persons per 100 in the province who are "literate" in the sense of being able to read and write a letter. The roportion of literacy among Hindus and Sikhs is three times as great as among Muhammadans. In 1911-12 one boy in six of school-going age was at school or college and one girl in 37, This mayseem a meagre result of sixty years of work, for the Government and Christian missionaries, who have had an honourable connection with the educational history of the province, began their efforts soon after annexation, and a Director of Public Instruction was appointed as long ago as 1856. But a country of small peasant farmers is not a very hopeful educational field, and the rural population was for long indifferent or hostile. If an ex-soldier of the Khdlsa had expressed his feelings, he would have used words like those of the "Old Pindari". in Lyall's poem, while the Muhammadan farmer, had he been capable of expressing his hostility, might have argued that the teaching his son could get in a village school would help him not at all in his daily work. Things are better now. We have improved our scheme of teaching, and of late raised the pay of the teachers, which is, however, still hardly adequate. Till a better class of teachers can be secured for primary schools, the best educational theories will not bear fruit in practice. The old indifference is weakening, and the most hopeful sign is the increasing interest taken in towns in female education, a matter of the first importance for the future of the country.

Present position.— The present position is as follows:— The Government has made itself directly or indirectly responsible for the education of the province. At the headquarters of each district there is a high school for boys controlled by the Education Department. In each district there are Government middle schools, Anglovernacular or Vernacular, and primary schools, managed by the Municipal Committees and District Boards. Each middle school has a primary, and each high school a primary and a middle, department. For the convenience of pupils who cannot attend school while living at home hostels are attached to many middle and high schools. Fees are very moderate. In middle schools, where the income covers 56 p.c. of the expenditure, they range from R. 1 (16 pence) monthly in the lowest class in which they are levied to Rs. 4 (5 shillings) in the highest class. In rural primary schools the children of agriculturists are exempt because they pay local rate, and others, when not exempt on the score of poverty, pay nominal fees. Besides the Government schools there are aided schools of the above classes usually of a sectarian character, and these, if they satisfy the standards laid down, receive grants. There is a decreasing, but still considerable, class of private schools, which make no attempt to satisfy the conditions attached to these grants. The mullah in the mosque teaches children passages of the Kuran by rote, or the shopkeeper's son is taught in a Mahajani school native arithmetic and the curious script in which accounts are kept. A boys' school of a special kind is the Panjab Chiefs' College at Lahore, intended for the sons of princes and men of high social position.

Technical Schools.— In an agricultural country like the Panjab there is not at present any large field for technical schools. The best are the Mayo School of Art and the Railway Technical School at Lahore. The latter is successful because its pupils can readily find employment in the railway workshops. Mr Kipling,

Fig. 42. A School in the time preceding annexation. (From a picture book said to have been prepared for the Maharaja Dalip Singh.)

the father of the poet, when principal of the former, did much for art teaching, and the present principal, Bhai Ram Singh, is a true artist. The Government Engineering School has recently been remodelled and removed to Rasul, where the head-works of the Lower Jhelam canal are situated.

Female Education.— Female education is still a tender plant, but of late growth has been vigorous. The Victoria May School in Lahore founded in 1908 has developed into the Queen Mary College, which provides an excellent education for girls of what may be called the upper middle class. There is a separate class for married ladies. Hitherto they have only been reached by the teaching given in their own homes by missionary ladies, whose useful work is now being imitated by the Hindu community in Lahore. There is an excellent Hindu Girls' Boarding School in Jalandhar. The Sikhs and the body of reformers known as the Dev Samaj have good girls' schools at Ferozepore. The best mission schools are the Kinnaird High School at Lahore and the Alexandra School at Amritsar. The North India School of Medicine for Women at Ludhiana, also a missionary institution, does admirable work. In the case of elementary schools the difficulty of getting qualified teachers is even greater than as regards boys' schools.

Education of European Children.— There are special arrangements for the education of European and Anglo-Indian children. In this department the Roman Catholics have been active and successful. The best schools are the Lawrence Asylum at Sanawar, Bishop Cotton's School, Auckland House, and St Bede's at Simla, St Denys', the Lawrence Asylum, and the Convent School at Murree.

The Panjab University.— The Panjab University was constituted in 1882, but the Government Arts College and Oriental College, the Medical College and the Law School at Lahore, which are affiliated with it, are of older date. The University is an examining body like London University. Besides the two Arts Colleges under Government management mentioned above there are nine private Arts Colleges aided by Government grants and affiliated to the University. Four of these are in Lahore, two, the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic and the Dial Singh Colleges, are Hindu institutions, one, the Islamia College, is Muhammadan, the fourth is the popular and efficient Forman Christian College. Four out of five art students read in Lahore. Of the Arts colleges outside Lahore the most important is the St Stephen's College at Delhi. The Khalsa School and College at Amritsar is a Sikh institution. The Veterinary College at Lahore is the best of its kind in India, and the Agricultural College at Lyallpur is a well-equipped institution, which at present attracts few pupils, but may play a very useful role in the future. There is little force in the reproach that we built up a superstructure of higher education before laying a broad foundation of primary education. There is more in the charge that the higher educational food we have offered has not been well adapted to the intellectual digestions of the recipients.

Education in N.W.F. Province, Native States, and Kashmir.— The Panjab Native States and Kashmir are much more backward as regards education than the British Province. As is natural in a tract in which the population is overwhelmingly Musalman by religion and farming by trade the N.W.F. Province lags behind the Panjab. Six colleges in the States and the N.W.F. Province are affiliated to the Panjab University.