Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Village School in India

Pre-British India had a system of village schools that impressed the English enough that they imported at least one feature back to their own schools in England - instruction of the younger pupils by the more advanced students. A good deal of English rhetoric was expended on what to do about these schools, but in fact, they were mostly left to their own devices.

They were very economical, because teachers usually had no training beyond the village school themselves, and the money they made came in small fees and presents from the villagers they educated. There were no teacher's colleges and no books. These virtues also made them hard to reform and update. They did not admit students from the scheduled castes and many or most did not educate girls

Such efforts and expenditures the British made were on the colleges or their own educational ventures.

The best source I have found on them is D. D. Aggarawal's History and Development of Elementary Education in India.

He reports that the village schools

...languished outside the official of education till they disappeared almost completely, by about 1900. Some were destroyed by ill-planned efforts at reform; others were destroyed by competition; but the vast majority died of sheer neglect.

Aggarwal has lots of interesting details.