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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 life.

    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 at 4101.

     The most important achievements relating to education level are

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.

Sir Bhagvatsinhji

The Maker of Modern Gondal



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