Report No. 165
Frederick Engels in Speeches in Elberfeld (1845) remarks:
"the first [measure] would be the general education of all children without exception at the expense of the state-an education which is equal for all and continues until the individual is capable of living as an independent member of society. Every man has the right to the full development of his abilities and society wrongs individuals twice over when it makes ignorance a necessary consequence of poverty. It is obvious that society gains more from educated than from ignorant, uncultured members."
"The education is not merely a means better income and employment opportunities for individuals or for higher-economic growth potential for their nations. The social benefits of education spread in many directions. Education leads to better health care, smaller family norms, greater-community and political participation, less income inequality, and a greater reduction of absolute poverty. The role of education in removing poverty is decisive. No educated society can remain politically, socially or economically repressed for long. Education is a basic component of social cohesion and national identity."1
1. Excerpts quoted from Mahbub Ul Haq and Khadija Haq Human Development in South Asia, 1998, Chapter 2.
1.2.2. The importance of education may be set out below while quoting the relevant passages from Unnikrishnan, J.P. v. State of Andhra Pradesh: AIR 1993 SC 2176.
"The immortal Poet Valluvar whose Tirukkural will surpass all ages and transcend all religions said of education:
"Learning is excellence of wealth that none destroy; To man naught else affords reality of joy."
Therefore, the importance of education does not require any emphasis.
The fundamental purpose of Education is the same at all times and in all places. It is to transfigure the human personality into a pattern of perfection through a synthetic process of the development of the body, the enrichment of the mind, the sublimation of the emotions and the illumination of the spirit. Education is a preparation for a living and for life, here and hereafter.
An old Sanskrit adage states: "That is Education which leads to liberation" - liberation from ignorance which shrouds the mind; liberation from superstition which paralyses effort, liberation from prejudices which blind the Vision of the Truth.
In the context of a democratic form of Government which depends for its sustenance upon the enlightenment of the populace, education is at once a social and political necessity. Even several decades ago, our leaders harped upon universal primary education as a desideratum for national progress. It is rather sad that in this great land of ours where knowledge first lit its torch and where the human mind soared to the highest pinnacle of wisdom, the per centage of illiteracy should be appalling. Today, the frontiers of knowledge are enlarging with incredible swiftness. The foremost need to be satisfied by our education is, therefore, the eradication of illiteracy which persists in a depressing measure. Any effort taken in this direction cannot be deemed to be too much.
Victories are gained, peace is preserved, progress is achieved, civilization is built up and history is made not on the battlefields where ghastly murders are committed in the name of patriotism, not in the Council Chambers where insipid speeches are spun out in the name of debate, not even in factories where are manufactured novel instruments to strangle life, but in educational institutions which are the seed-beds of culture, where children in whose hands quiver the destinies of the future, are trained. From their ranks will come out when they grow up, statesmen and soldiers, patriots and philosophers, who will determine the progress of the land....
The importance of education was emphasised in the 'Neethishatakam' by Bhartruhari (First Century B.C.) in the following words:
"Translation: Education is the special manifestation of man;
Education is the treasure which can be preserved without the fear of loss; Education secures-material pleasure, happiness and fame;
Education is the teacher of the teacher;
Education is God incarnate;
Education secures honour at the hands of the State, not money.
A man without education is equal to animal."
The fact that right to education occurs in as many as three Articles in Part-IV viz., Articles 41, 45 and 46 shows the importance attached to it by the founding fathers. Even some of the Articles in Part-III viz., Articles 29 and 30 speak of education.
In Brown v. Board of Education, (1953) 96 Law Ed 873, Earl Warren, C.J., speaking for the U.S. Supreme Court emphasised the right to education in the following words:
"Today, education is perhaps the most important function of State and local governments, Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is the principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education."
In Wisconsin v. Yoder, (1972) 32 Law, Ed 2d 15, the court recognised that:
"Providing public schools ranks at the very apex of the function of a State."
The said fact has also been affirmed by eminent educationists of modern India like Dr. Radhakrishnan, J.P. Naik, Dr. Kothari and others."
1.2.3. Imparting education has the benefits of various kinds to the society. It leads to broad economic and social benefits for individuals and for society for it helps in achieving higher productivity, lower infant and child mortality rates, and better health. These benefits are greatest once primary education broadly covers the population.1
1. World Bank on Primary Education in India, 1997, Chapter 2, p. 30.
1.2.4. Primary education leads to better family health, lower fertility and thus slower population growth.
1.2.5. The World Bank1 Report concludes from the survey or the economics and social outcomes of education in the following words:-
"First, the economic and social benefits of education are greatest when a critical minimum level of educational attainment has been achieved across the population. Mass expansion of primary education that raises India's currently low educational attainment (averaging about 1.9 years for workers in 1981) to a threshold of about four to five years of completed primary education per worker could have high payoffs in economic and social benefits. To realize these benefits in the medium term, all states will need to develop a solid foundation of education. And second, the benefits of education extend beyond individuals who receive schooling directly. Other members of society also gain, through externalities.
The resulting improvements in economic efficiency provide continuing justification for public sector involvement in education. Primary schooling offers the greatest economic and social returns, followed by secondary schooling. On economic outcomes, the survey leads to five conclusions. First, the average educational attainment of the population has a strong positive effect on economic growth. An exploratory production function analysis suggests that for 1971-81 each one-year increase in the average schooling of the labour force was associated with an increase in out-put; of 13 per cent. Second, in agriculture, primary schooling affects productivity, speeds the adoption of green revolution technologies, and accelerates growth where there are new technological opportunities.
Third, schooling also produces externalities by helping to diffuse knowledge about new agricultural technologies to unschooled farmers. Fourth, in areas where schooling across the farm population has reached a certain threshold, the potential effected of an advance in agricultural technology are more fully realised. Fifth, private and social market returns are highest for primary and middle schooling, and returns to primary schooling are highest for lower-caste graduates."
1. World Bank Report on Primary Education in India, 1997, Chapter 2, pp. 50-53.