Forcing the Pace of Literacy
Though Thakore Saheb surveyed the educational intuitions in
Gondal only a small percentage of children of schooling age were
receiving instruction. He was particularly unhappy at the rate at
which literacy was spreading among women. The number of girls
attending school compared with boys was much smaller. Unless he
could alter that fact the great disparity existing between the
percentage of literate men and women compared with the total
population of either sex would continue.
Illiteracy was partly traceable no doubt, to the Institution
of Purdah, which even then was rigidly observed among the higher
classes, especially the Rajputs though for a generation they had
seen her highness Rani Sahiba going about unveiled, Since, every
girl was expected to many and be supported by her husbandís family
schooling was deemed a superfluity.
The old ideas were however deeply embedded in the peopleís
mind. Years of nature thinking led the Thakore Saheb to the
conclusion that something more than settling an example and
providing facilities for obtaining knowledge was needed to stimulate
education among girls so that in time matters may be evened up
between the sexes in respect of literacy.
By 1917, he made up his mind and made education compulsory
for girls between 7 and 11, but not for boys. Many objections had
been anticipated against Bhagvatsinhji. He could not however devise
any other way for remedying the uneven distribution of education
between the two sexes, which held back progress in every sphere of
Girls on the contrary were not a part of the economic system,
to anything like the extent that boys were. They no doubt rendered
them selves generally useful at home and sometimes even in the
fields, but they could be spared from such tasks relatively with
greater case than could their brother.
Before initiating the experiment the Thakore Saheb instructed
his officials to go from house to house from field to field and have
heart to heart talk with the cultivation. So zealously and
intelligently did the educational officials carried on their tasks.
At the end of very first year experiment startled doubters. Only 891
girls were at school in 1916-17. But after 1 year the number stood
The most important achievements relating to education level
1] The number of schools in all parts of the
state have been greatly increased. Already there is one institution
of learning serving 4 square miles.
2] The courses of study have been revised. The
agricultural classes particularly appreciated the beneficence of
this reform. Notions of this kind had shown a tendency to crop up
long before control over the educational system passed into Thakore
Sahebís hand and in consequence the track town wards from the farm
and the industrial cottage had begun. To check such tendencies a
strong agricultural bias has been given to the educational system,
from the lowest to the highest classes.
Reform relating educational Planning
The climate of gondal is
exceedingly dry. The rainfall is scant and unreliable. To keep plant
alive and thriving toil and vigilance is required. It is interesting
to watch boys and girls tacking water from the village well or
reservoir to the school garden early in the morning, to water the
plants. Each school tried to excel at gardening.