Hunter Education Commission
In 1882, Lord Ripon organized the Hunter Commission under William Wilson Hunter. He was appointed as a Magistrate in the Bengal Presidency in 1862, and from there only he started compiling the local traditions and records. He published “The Annals of Rural Bengal” and “A Comparative Dictionary of the Non-Aryan Languages of India” but his best known work is “The Imperial Gazetteer of India” on which he started working in 1869. This work was delegated to him by Lord Mayo. In 1882 as a member of the Governor General in Council he was appointed the chairman of the Commission on Education. In 1886, he was also elected as Vice Chancellor of the Calcutta University.
The Hunter Commission brought out the neglect to the primary and secondary education in the country. The commission recommended that the responsibility for the Primary Education must be given to the Local Boards and Municipal Boards. The important recommendations were as follows: The government should take special care to extend the primary education. There should be literary and vocational training in secondary education. The commission brought out inadequate facilities available for the female education in the country. The recommendations were partially implemented and there was a slow growth in the number of the secondary schools in the country.
In 1917 the Government of India appointed a Commission to study and report on the problems of Calcutta University. The Commission included two Indian members, namely Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee and Dr. Ziauddin Ahmad.
While the Hunter Commission had reported on problems of secondary education and the University Commission of 1902 mainly on the different aspects of university education, the Sadler Commission reviewed the entire field from school education to university education.
The Sadler Commission held the view that the improvement of secondary education was a necessary condition for the improvement of university education.
The Commission reported that an effective synthesis between college and university ‘was still undiscovered when the reform of 1904 had been worked out to conclusion’ and the foundation of a sound university organisation had not been laid down.
Further, it reported that ‘the problems of high school training and organisation were unresolved’. Although the Commission reported on the conditions of Calcutta University, its recommendations and remarks were more or less applicable to other Indian universities also. The following were the main recommendations:
Recommendations of the Commission
The main objective of the Commission was ‘to inquire into the condition and prospects of the University of Calcutta and to consider the question of a constructive policy in relation to the question it presented’.
The Commission discussed the main weaknesses of Higher Education in Bengal and offered the following recommendations:
1. All the teaching resources in the city of Calcutta should be organized so that the Calcutta University may become entirely a teaching university. It means that the colleges in Calcutta should be so grouped together that they may discharge the functions of a teaching university.
2. A separate teaching and residential university should be established at Dacca.
3. Other universities should be established and the older ones are recognized as teaching and residential. It means that colleges should be so developed that new centres may gradually rise to become universities.
4. Universities should be freed from excessive official control. The government interference in the academic matters of universities should stop. Its control should be less rigid.
5. An academic council should be set up in each university to deal with all academic questions for example, those connected with the courses of study, examinations, and conferment of degree and research.
6. The senate and the syndicate should be replaced by the Court and the Executive Council respectively. This step would improve the administration of the university.
7. Teaching work and work connected with research should be organised under different departments and each department should have a head.
8. A full time and salaried Vice-Chancellor should be appointed to be the administrative head of the university.
9. Faculties, boards of studies, and other statutory bodies should be formed. Faculties should serve as Departments of teaching.
10. Honours courses should be instituted and they should be distinctly different from the Pass courses.
11. Tutorials and superior kinds of research work should be organised.
12. Provisions should be made for imparting instruction in engineering education, medicine, law, agriculture and technology. Thus, university education would cover practical and vocational studies as well as technical and industrial courses.
13. There was a need for coordinating agency. Hence an inter-University Board should be set up.