A Controversial Bill
If the previous Governments of what is now Kerala had done anything very substantial for the improvement of education then sweeping condemnation of the Kerala Education Bill would have been better justified. The Bill, indeed, can be much improved through modification and if the Government renounces some of the powers it originally claimed, that should reassure many. The announcement that the panel of teachers would be prepared by the Public Service Commission is welcome and also the assurance about respect for religious property. But it is true that teachers in Kerala, long neglected are generally in favour of the Bill as being the first which promises them some security. And the Congress appears to be using the agitation against the Bill as part of its campaign against the present Government of Kerala. Whereas teaching and curricula ought not to be dictated, the security and pay of teachers can no longer be left safely to private managements experience in most parts of India confirms this. Missionary schools and schools run by religious bodies have played a great part in Indian education and still have a distinguished role. But denominational schools for their part should admit that education and funds for it require public supervision.
The Government in Kerala will have noted the strong and countrywide opposition to the blanket powers sought by the Bill. If Andhra has a similar Act, as is asserted, then non-Communists must admit that what is poison for geese is also poison for ganders. In any event there is no excuse for violence whether in Kerala or in Rajasthan where the “agitation” has mercifully been called off. It should never have begun.
(The Statesman -22nd August, 1957)