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in his first report on the Agra district, enters at some length into this subject, and recommends that the Persian schools be excluded from the patronage of Government, on the ground that the Persian and Urdu languages are worse than useless, and should be forthwith abolished. There are few things more difficult, even for the most powerful Government to accomplish, than the abolition of the language spoken by any portion of its subjects: and, as there is no probability of Urdu falling into desuetude, the landholders are immediately interested in acquiring that tongue. We think with Mr. Fink that the Persian schools are undeserving of Government support; but we think so, not because Persian and Urdu are unworthy to be taught, but because the schools will not accept the practical improvements which might be grafted upon them, and because the object in view, namely, the diffusion of Urdu, may be effected in another and a better way.
The Sanskrit schools, if they could be made to work with any efficiency, might be really useful. Some languages are so admirable in their structure, that they offer the finest field of exercise for the human intellect. Sanskrit is certainly one of these. Its lexicology undoubtedly tends to elevate and enlarge the Hindi dialects; and thus rich resources would be thrown open to people, who are precluded by inborn taste and prejudice from learning any other tongue except the cognate languages of Hinduism, and have therefore no other means of improving the medium through which they think and convey their thoughts. But schools, like those which have been hitherto tested (we mean of course the village Sanskrit schools), can do no good to any one. One advantage however is conferred by all Sanskrit schools.
They popularize the Nagri character. The common Hindi or Kaythi character varies exceedingly. It is at the best uncertain, and is often illegible. But it is of course perfectly possible to teach Hindi at the schools in the Nagri character.
The indigenous Arabic schools require no comment, the instruction given in them being merely parrot-learning and “ cram"-knowledge.
The preceding considerations lead us to the conclusion that of all the existing schools by far the most important are the Hindi. They are evidently the medium through which any momentum must be primarily communicated to the popular
of the other two classes, the Persian schools, though not without their advantages, are on the whole, but little deserv. ing of patronage; and the Sanskrit may as well be left alone,
unless they can be placed on a different footing, and made to change their modus operandi.
It remains to be seen what effect the new Government plan will produce upon existing institutions, and what further improvements it will originate.
In Paragraph 15 of the Resolution, it is stated that the "sanction of the Hon'ble Court of Directors at present authorizes the introduction of the scheme into eight districts.” The following are the districts selected :-Agra, Muttra, Mynpurí, Etawah, Furruckabad, Allygurh, Bareilly, Shahjehanpur. It will be remembered that operations had been already commenced partially in five districts, namely, Agra, Muttra, Mynpuri, Bareilly, and Benares. These are all included in the present scheme, except Benares, which is pronounced to be too distant from the other districts. We observe also that indigenous education in that district appears to be at a very low ebb. It has only ninety-five schools; whereas some districts, such as Bareilly, have nearly five hundred, and several districts have between three hundred and four bundred. It is not here intended to institute any accurate comparison, inasmuch as the relative size of districts, the number of villages, &c., should be taken into account. But at all events, there would be but comparatively few schools in the Benares district to work upon. Of the eight districts now selected, it will be observed that the five first, namely, Agra, Muttra, Mynpuri, Etawah, and Furruckabad, belong to, (and in fact comprise the whole of) the Agra Division. The reason of the selection is clear. In these the pioneers of education had been working; and all five lie compactly together, and are close to the seat of Government, under the immediate eye of the highest authorities. One, namely, Allygurh, belongs to the Mírut division, but it is conterminous with the above-mentioned districts, and is near to Agra. The remaining two, namely, Shahjehanpur and Bareilly, belong to Rohilcund. The latter had been the scene of former operations. One of the most influential and flourishing of the Government schools is situated there. The district can boast of more indigenous schools than any district in the provinces; and great interest in native education has been evinced by the local officers. We are not aware that Shahjehanpur possesses any special recommendation; but it contains a large number of schools, and is contiguous to Bareilly.
The agency, through which the scheme is to be carried out in these several districts, is thus constituted in Paragraph 7:“There will be a Government village school at the head quar
ters of every Tuhsildar. In every two or more Tuhsildaris, there will be a Pergunnah visitor; over these a Zillah visitor in each district; and over all a Visitor General for the whole of the Provinces.”
The Government village schools are to be constituted as follows:The school-master is to draw a salary of from ten to twenty rupees per mensem; besides which, he may collect what fees he can from his scholars. Thus, in point of position and emolument, these school-masters will be better off than any of the most-favoured school-masters of the indigenous schools, and five times better paid than the Hindi teachers, who usually scrape together only three rupees per mensem. The course of instruction is to consist of reading and writing the Hindi and Urdu languages, accounts, and mensuration of land according to the native method; and, whenever practicable, instruction is to be added in the elements of geography, history, and general subjects.
The remarkable feature in this course is the introduction of the Urdu language. We do not find in any of the reports the reason stated for the non-existence of any Urdu schools. The same want of Urdu schools is perceptible in Bengal and Behar. Mr. Adam remarks thereon as follows:-“The absence of Urdu schools for the Mussulman population, corresponding with the Bengali and Hindi schools for the Hindus, may explain in some measure the great degradation and ignorance of the lower class of Mussulmans, when compared with the corresponding portion of the Hindu population; and the first step to their improvement must be to supply this defect.” We have before explained the reason for concluding that Urdu is a language, which all land holders, who wish to look after their own concerns, must learn. Persian schools are useful only so far forth as they contribute to diffuse the knowledge of Urdu: but the best way to attain that end is to establish Urdu schools at once. In them, arithmetic, mensuration and other practical sciences can be conveniently taught; whereas the Persian schools will not suffer the introduction of these useful branches into their system. The best plan therefore obviously is to go straight to the fountain-head, to found Urdu schools, and let them supersede entirely the Persian.
We have pointed out the importance to landholders of the Settlement papers and the Collector's record. It vitally concerns them to consult these papers, and they are all written in Urdu. We have shown that it is the landholder's interest to understand the revenue system. Now the regulations, circulars, notifications, Government orders, &c., are all written in Urdu. The Government Gazette is translated into Urdu. This language is therefore quite as necessary to landholders as Hindi. Its introduction into the Government system of Vernacular education is a novelty, and a great step in the path of improvement; but these schools are not in any way to rival or interfere with the indigenous schools already established by private exertions. To prevent any such contingency, the terms of admission are to be higher than those usually demanded in the village schools. Free admissions are only to be granted under special circumstances. In the Agra district, it had been discovered, that the free admission to the Government school injured the attendance at the indigenous schools; and it was also found that this gratis system crowded the institution with the lower orders, while the higher orders, who could pay, were deterred by the fear of unworthy associations. (See Mr. Fink's Report). In several parts of the country it has been observed that the teachers of the indigenous schools had been alumni of the Government institutions. In the same way it may be reasonably hoped, that in the Tahsildari schools may be formed a nucleus, from which teachers may be drawn to scatter enlightenment among the villagers. A set of competent teachers is a great desideratum. The Hindi teachers are universally represented as rude and ignorant: and Urdu teachers there are none. One of the most approved portions of Lord John Russell's late educational plan was that which provided for the school-master's station, emoluments, and respectability. Government has done much, and seems likely to do more, to provide a class of qualified teachers. It rests with the people to give them employment.
The duties of the Pergunnah Visitor are varied and important. They have but little to do with the Tuhsildari schools ; their business lies in the villages. They are to visit all the towns and villages in their jurisdiction, and to ascertain what means of instruction exist. Where there is no school, they will urge the people to found one; they will aid in procuring a qualified teacher : they will provide books. They are to examine and encourage all schools which they find in existence, and to communicate with the teachers. Wherever these offers of assistance are accepted, the schools are to be placed on their lists : necessary books would be procured for them, the boys would be examined, the most deserving noted, rewarded, and granted free adinissions to the Tuhsildari schools. Meritorious teachers are also to be rewarded, and vested with the power of granting these
admissions. The Pergunnah Visitors are to receive from 20 to 40 Rs. a month.
Over the Pergunnah Visitors will be placed a Zillah Visitor in each district, on a salary of 100 to 200 Rs. per mensem. He is to carefully overlook the Tuhsildari schools, and to hold periodical examinations. He will see that the Pergunnah Visitors do their duty, will test their reports, and decide on the bestowal of the prizes they may recommend. A sum of 500 Rs. per annum is to be placed at his disposal for distribution in this manner. He is to furnish an annual report on the state of education throughout the district. The Pergunnah Visitor's statements will of course form the basis of this compilation ; but he is expected to make investigations on his own part. These enquiries will comprehend every kind of education, public or private, whether conducted in the families of individuals or in schools, whether included or not in the Pergunnah Visitor's list. The nature of the various kinds of instruction is also to be specified. He is further to be the agent for the distribution and sale of school-books, and will receive a commission of 10 per cent on all the sales which he may effect. These officers are in a position to do much good. The results, which attended the labours of Mr. Fink and his native assistants in the district of Agra, may furnish a fair criterion of what may be accomplished by means similar to those now placed at the disposal of the Zillah and Pergunnah Visitors. Mr. Fink and his subordinates constantly visited all the villages which supported schools. They distributed books, awarded prizes, obtained free admissions for the most deserving scholars to the Government schools, procured efficient teachers, and exposed incompetent teachers. The period of the experiment commenced in April 1844, and closed in April 1847. Mr. Fink died during the course of the latter year. The total number of indigenous schools rose during this period from 225 to 284; the total number of scholars from 1,999 to 3,061. Each successive year added about one fourth to the aggregate number. The year 1848, when the guiding hand was removed, exhibited a slight decrease.
The present scheme would influence in a similar manner the following number of indigenous schools already existing :In the Agra Division
District of Shajehanpur .........
Total ... 2,027