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In 1854 the Government attempted to meet these criticism by the introduction of

a more comprehensive system of education, incorporating both missionary and


vernacular schools. The new policy was outlined in n Educational Dispatch of 19
July 1854 drawn up by Sir Charles Wood, President of the Board of Control.
Although noticeably less antagonistic to Oriental learning than Macaulay had
been twenty years before, Wood still insisted that Western learning was far
superior to Oriental, and that it must remain the basis of Indian education. From
there he went on propose the establishment of an articulated educational system
extending from indigenous primary schools to universities located in the
Presidency towns. He upgraded the Government in Particular to direct its
attention to the dissemination of "useful and practical knowledge suited every
station in life" among the great mass of the people. But as the cost of such a
scheme was beyond the limited resources of the Government, Wood turned to
private agency. All schools which offered a good secular education, even those
operated by religious groups, were made eligible for grants-in-aid on the English
pattern. They had only to submit to Government inspection and maintain
adequate local management. In accordance with these rules, grants were at
once awarded to the overwhelming majority of mission schools and those
vernacular primary schools which had been set up in Bombay and North-Western
Provinces by the local authorities. The establishment of universities on the
London model at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras followed in 1857. the dispatch of
1854, although adhering to the basic principles laid down in Bentinck's time, thus
opened a new era in Indian education. Its implications for the India of the 1860's
will be examined in a subsequent chapter.
Religious and Social Reform
To the enthusiastic reformer the introduction of Western education was only the
first step in the regeneration of India. Real progress, in his view, required not just
the diffusion of Western learning but the subversion of the Hindu religious
system, for Brahminism, idolatry and caste were the forces holding the Indian
mind most firmly in subjection. Charles Trevelyan spoke for most liberal
reformers when he asserted that nothing short of the conversion of the natives
to Christianity would effect any real moral change. But there was widespread
disagreement among them as to the role the Government should play in toppling
the structure of idolatry. The missionaries asserted that since God had laid upon
Britain the solemn duty of evangelizing India, the Government should not
hesitate to throw its weight into the struggle. They demanded above all open
Government patronage of Christian education and vigorous warfare upon the
abuses associated with the Hindu religion. Few reformers outside the Church
were willing to take up such an extreme position. Trevelyan, for instance, insisted
that the Government ought to convey only secular education in its schools.
Although he admitted that all education not based on Christian instruction was
imperfect, the time had not yet arrived, he told a House of Lords Committee in
1853, to attempt this very forward and advance step, which at this stage of our
progress would only lead to a violent reaction. He added, in a prophetic vein,
We ought never lose sight of the possible effect upon our native army of any
measures that may be urged upon us which would be likely to excite the
religious feelings of the Mahomedans and Hindoos. In any case Trevelyan, like
most of the early reformers,was convinced that spread of Western education
would by itself open the way for the light of Gospel. Once the young Indian had
been taught to weigh evidence, and had adopted Western standards of morality,

Trevelyan pointed out, he invariably abandoned his ancestral faith; and no man,

least of all the Hindu, could long exist without the comforts of
religion, he would soon go on to 'Christianity of his own accord