Gokhale’s Bill, the first ever attempt to introduce free and compulsory primary education in our country, is a landmark in the history of education in India. Although the Bill was rejected, it focused the attention of the entire country on education. The
Government could not entirely ignore the growing popular demand for the spread of mass education. Fortunately King George V came to India in 1912 and declared a donation of 50 lakh rupees for the development of education in India. When he came
to know about Gokhale’s Bill, he expressed his dissatisfaction for rejecting the Bill. As a result the Government had to modify the previous policy and declared a new
policy with several reforms. Gokhale’s Bill created a flutter in the British Parliament also. In the course of the discussion on the Indian budget, the Under Secretary of State for India admitted the need for paying more attention to Indian education. The
Government of India passed the resolution on educational policy on February 21, 1913. Between 1910 and 1917 there was an unprecedented expansion of primary education on a voluntary basis.
The outbreak of the First World War, however, delayed the development planned in the resolution. It brought in its train many disasters, but also a promise of political reform culminating in the Government of India Act of 1919 which incidentally
stimulated interest in education. Before that some administrative changes in the policy of the Government had been accepted. In 1917 the policy of autonomous
administration was declared by the secretary of states for India, Edwin Montegue. The Provincial Government formed in different states had felt the necessity of primary education. In 1918 Bethal Bhai Patel had for the first time raised a Bill for making primary education compulsory in the province of Bombay and the bill passed to an
Act. Similar Acts were passed in Bengal, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa. Madras and Central Province passed their Acts in 1920. In Assam compulsory Primary Education Act was passed in 1926.
Thus, all these were the outcome of Gokhale’s attempt to make primary education compulsory in India. His struggle for compulsion formed an important part of the country’s struggle of independence during the British Rule.
While rejecting Gokhale’s bill of 1911, the Government promised to extend
recurring and non-recurring grants to primary education as it could not ignore the growing popular demand for the spread of primary education. The education department had declared the new policy in the form of Government of India Resolution on February 21, 1913 covering primary, secondary, higher and women
education. The major provisions of the Resolution for primary education may be summarised below-
Primary Education :
1• There should be sufficient expansion of lower primary schools, where along with instruction in the three R’s children should be taught drawing, knowledge of the village map, nature study and physical exercises.
2• Simultaneously, upper primary schools should be opened at the proper places and if necessary, lower primary schools should be raised to the status of upper primary schools.
3• Local Boards schools should be established in place of private aided schools.
4• Moktabs and Pathsalas should be adequately subsidised.
5• The inspection and management of private schools should be made more efficient.
6• In most parts of India, it may not be practicable to prescribe a separate curricula for rural and urban, but in the urban schools there is sufficient scope forteaching geography and organising school excursions etc.
7• The teacher should have passed vernacular middle examination and received one years’ training.
8• Provision be made for refresher courses for the teachers of primary education during vacations.
9• A trained teacher should get a salary not less than Rs. 12 per month.
10• The number of students under one teacher should generally range between 30 and 40.
11• Improvement should be made in the condition of middle and secondary vernacular schools and their number should be increased.
12• Schools should be housed in sanitary, spacious but in inexpensive buildings.