Lord Curzon pointed out that no change had been seen in university education because they failed to follow the guidelines of London University.
Some of the major defects noticed in the development of collegiate education in India were lopsided development of liberal
education and to the neglect of professional education in general
and technical education in particular, uneven spread of higher
education among different communities and followers of different sections, neglect of women education and Indian languages.
Hence it was considered worthwhile to go into various aspects of university education n India. Lord Curzon accorded the top priority to his programme of university reform. He appointed the Indian University Commission with Sir Thomas Releigh as its Chairman in 1902. Indian members were also associated with the commissions in June of the same year.
The commissions recommendations of university education have been regarded merely rehabilitation and strengthening the existing system.
Purpose of the Commission:
Lord Curzon appointed the commission on 27th January
1902 ―to inquire into the conditions and prospects of the universities established in British India, to consider and report upon any proposals which have been or may be made for improving their
constitution and working and to recommend to the Governor
General-in-council such measure as may tend to elevate the standard of university teaching and to promote the advancement of learning.
Recommendations of the Commission :
The recommendations of the Commission can briefly be put
as under :
1) Teaching Universities – For teaching Universities following
recommendations were made by the commission.
i) The reorganisation of the administration of universities and the territorial jurisdiction of each university to be defined.
ii) A much more strict and systematic supervision of the affiliated colleges by university, and he imposition of more exacting conditions of affiliation.
iii) A much closer attention to the conditions under which students live and work, provision of adequate library facilities etc.
iv) Substantial changes in curriculum, and in the methods of
v) The assumption of teaching functions by the university within
vi) Central Colleges under the university where affiliated colleges
should send their students for advanced studies and their
lecturers to teach.
2) English Language – For teaching English the following suggestions were given –
a) Matriculates found incapable to follow college lectures.
b) Evil traced down to the teaching of English at school level. It
was recommended that :
i) English should not be taught till student is able to know what is
being taught to him.
ii) Language classes be small.
iii) An Englishman should train the teachers of English.
iv) Text books at school leaving examination.
v) Standard of English at degree level be raised.
3) Other Languages – For other languages, following suggestions were given :
i) Vernaculars be encouraged upto M.A.
ii) Classical languages be studied because the rich literature
leads to good mental training.
4) Examinations – Concerning examinations, following
suggestion were given –
i) Teaching found to be subordinate to examinations.
ii) Examination was a necessary evil.
iii) Abolition of intermediate Examination not favored.
iv) Opposed the practice of appearing privately at the
The object of this commission was not to introduce revolutionary changes but to reorganise and strengthen the existing system.
Terms of Reference :
To enquire into the conditions and prospects of the Universities established in British India, to report upon the proposals which have been or may be made for improving their constitution and working, and to recommend to the Governor General such measures as may tend to elevate the standard of University teaching and to promote the advancement of learning.
Other Recommendations :
1. Instead of recognizing the Universities, the Senate and
Syndicate should be recognized.
2. The number of members of the Senate should be reduced and
their terms should be five years.
3. The number of members of Syndicate should be between nine
4. There should be a proper representation of the teachers and
the scholars of the affiliated colleges in the University Senate.
5. Affiliated colleges should strictly be supervised by the universities.
6. Universities should appoint teachers to impart higher studies.
7. Hostels should be built for students.
8. According to the position of students, arrangement for
scholarship should take place.
9. A managing committee should be there for every college,which besides managing the college concerned, should also appoint competent teachers and pay attention towards the discipline of the students and the construction of buildings and hostels etc.
Extracts from the Report :
1. Teaching Universities :
We think it suitable that undergraduate students should be left in the main, to the colleges, but we suggest that the Universities may justify their existence as teaching bodies by making further and better provisions for advanced courses of study.
2. Stress on English : The declared object of policy which led to the
establishment of Indian universities was the expansion of Western
knowledge by means of English language in the higher branches of
instructions. The proper teaching of English must for this reason be
regarded as the most important matter in the curriculum of the high schools and the universities.
Teachers whose mother tongue is not English, should be passed through a training college where they may be tested in expression an elocation by an Englishman before they are given certificates to teachers.
3. Classical Languages of the East – Need for Critical Appraisal :
With regard to teaching of Sanskrit we have to remark that the teachers whether European or Indian ought to have critical
knowledge of the subject and should be acquainted with Western
methods of study.
From the evidence we have, we are led to conclude that the teaching of Arabic in the majority of Indian Colleges leaves much to
Though fewer complaints have reached us with regard to Persian, we are not satisfied that the teaching of that language is
as efficient or in as efficient hands as it might be.
4. Encouragement of Vernacular Languages of India : Speaking generally, we fear that the study of Vernacular languages has received insufficient attention and that many
graduates have a very inadequate knowledge of their mother tongue. We hope that the inclusion of Vernacular languages in the M.A. Course will give encouragement to their scholarly study.
5. Need for University Examination :
Examinations are required only in order to determine how far
teaching has been successful. A man becomes a graduate, not of a
particular college, but of the University and it is not possible to
contemplate his being examined for a degree by the staff of the college to which he belongs, without the assistance of outside examiners.
6.General Scheme of Examination :
We think it desirable that there should be uniformity in the
nomenclature (name or designation) of the examinations and degrees in Arts and Science at the different universities. We, therefore, suggest that the three examinations should be called the Matriculation Examinations, the Intermediate Examinations and the
Examinations for the degree of B.A. or B.Sc. respectively.
7. Restriction of Private Solution :
We desire to express the opinion that no private student should be admitted to the Intermediate Examinations or to the examination for the degree of B.A. or B.Sc. unless by a special order of the time of making the order.
8.Matriculation and Government Service : It appears to us that until passing the Matriculation Examination ceases to be a gratification for employment under
Government, the examination will always be more restored to than
a school find examination by those whose object is to obtain employment.
Looking at the matter solely as it concerns the advancement of learning; we think that it would be of great benefit to the Universities if the Government would direct that a Matriculation Examinations should not be accepted as a preliminary or full test of fitness for any post in Government Service.
The recommendations of the Commission refer mainly to
following five topics :
i) The reorganisation of university Government.
ii) A much more strict and systematic supervision of the colleges by the University, and the imposition of more exact conditions
iii) A much closer attention to the conditions under which students live and work.
iv) The assumption of teaching functions by the University within
v) Substantial changes in curricula, and the methods of
The truth is that Commission, failed to make any impact on