PIECE OF BASIC LEGISLATION
Winding up the debate during the third reading of the
Kerala Education Bill in the State Legislature today,
(September 2, 1957), Shri.Joseph Mundasserry, Minister
for Education, spoke as follows:
No new suggestions have been raised on the floor of the
House against the passing of this Bill into law.
People generally consider it a good fortune to do good
deeds or be participants in good deeds. I regret very
much that my friends opposite, even at this last minute,
did not take this view. One or two honourable friends
were of the view that the Bill should not be passed now
and that it should be postponed. I have replied to those
suggestions even during the course of the second reading
of the Bill. I do not wish to add anything to what I have
already expressed. But let me say for their information
that here is a Bill which their own leader (Shri. Panampalli
Govinda Menon) had sponsored when he was in office.
Quoting from official documents, the Minister said:
On the suggestion of the Chief Minister a Special Officer
was appointed by Government to draft a bill for the better
organisation of general education and to give it a statutory
basis having regard to the recent development in educational
theory and practice and keeping in view the directive
principle embodied in the Constitution.
The Bill drafted by the Officer so commissioned is in
Sir, the Assembly proceedings have on record the speech
made by Shri Panampalli Govinda Menon, introducing a supplementary
demand for the implementation of a scheme (the Private
secondary School Scheme), which he sought to implement
by means of an executive order. The Congress Party, which
was in power then, had from that time on wards voiced
the opinion that some sort of legislation in respect of
education was absolutely necessary. The present Bill has
been introduced here, taking into due account the suggestions
recorded by them and giving consideration to the various
points of view that have since come up in the educational
field. I fail to understand how the introduction and the
passing of this Bill now can be called a revolutionary
or rash venture. Probably, it is the frailty of the normal
human mind not to tolerate any one else succeeding when
they themselves could not. That must have goaded the section
of the Opposition to persist in this attitude even in
this last stage. Some are against the immediate enactment
of the measure. I doubt whether there has been any other
Bill who has been given the benefit of so much deliberation
and mature consideration as this measure has been. But
there is one thing which I would wish to stress. As far
as I can remember, there has been during the last ten
years no basic legislation which affects the traditional
interest and problems as has been under taken here. This
Bill is the first piece of basic legislation which has
been enacted in this State.
This Bill has been discussed here for several days. There
have been very heated discussions in the Select Committee
also. Freedom has been granted for demonstrations both
against and for the Bill. Yet, to claim and to argue that
the Bill is being audaciously rushed through can only
be deemed to be the result of chagrin and frustration.
Surely this is a historic event. This Government feels
legitimately proud that this is a guide-post for the other
States of the Union. Other States might have enacted legislation
of a piecemeal nature in this sphere. But I wish to reiterate
that this is the first Bill enacted anywhere in India
guaranteeing safeguards to thousands of teachers who toil
in the educational field.
It has been claimed that this Bill had roused opposition
throughout the state. This Bill does not relate to the
content or mode of education. The object of the Bill is
to regularize, on a statutory basis, the relationship
between teachers and manager, managers and Government,
and teachers and Government. It is in appropriate to scrutinise
the Bill for provisos about pay, allowances etc. The Bill
does not give priority to pay and allowances. It gives
a glorious opportunity to teachers, who have so far been
the slaves of managements, to hold their heads high. For
that reason alone this Government believes that this Bill
will blazon the path of other States of India.
Those provisions which are acceptable to a majority of
managers should be acceptable to other managers as well.
It is not proper for a very small section of the managers
to oppose the passing of this Bill. This does not mean
that after passing this Bill Government will not be prepared
to seek a solution to any difficulties felt by the managers
in implementing its provisions. Government will be prepared
to render any help whenever necessity arises. At the same
time, it can be seen that it is a great achievement that
cent percent protection has been given to the teachers
by this Bill. It is on this basis that it is said that
this should be treated as a historic event. Now therefore,
I appeal to my friends to realise the importance of this
Bill and to support it at least at this late hour.
It will be better if honourable friends realise the importance
of this Bill, at least now. If they do not do so, they
will only be wasting their breath and energy in arguing
in vain for private managements and the middlemen in education.
If hon’ble members sitting on the opposition benches
are interested I educational progress, they should stop
pleading for this kind of middlemen in education. I believe
that the members on the opposition benches will have as
much enthusiasm as members on this side to strive for
the comprehensive cultural progress of our country. Let
me hop that if it does not happen today it will come to
pass at least in the coming days.
It was stated here that this Bill is injurious to the
interests of a particular group. This State has slightly
less than seven thousand private schools. Of these only
about 1,259 private schools are under the control of those
who lead the agitation against the Bill. I refused to
yield to the demand of those who want to postpone the
passing of this Bill, which seeks to give protection to
teachers in about 7,000 schools, and at the same time
seek to protect the legitimate rights of the managements
of these 7,000 schools, simply to placate the managements
of 1,259 schools. Further there are no provisions in the
Bill affecting these institutions in particular.
An aspect of the Bill which the Opposition still objects
to relates to the clause empowering government to take
over private schools in the interests of educational progress.
I this context I have only to say that it is Government’s
intention to take over only such schools as are run by
individuals or agencies in an unsatisfactory manner. It
is wrong to interpret this Bill as one meant to annihilate
the entire private managements functioning in this State.
On the other hand, it is Government’s intention
to encourage the managements so long as they do not function
in an unsatisfactory manner; this Bill will not discourage,
for any reason, any management which functions well. But
I wish to tell my friend, Sri. Kunjuraman Nambiar and
others, that Government does not consider managements
to be an indispensable factor in the educational system
in this State. Nor do we take the view that all schools
should be taken over by Government. This Bill has been
prepared in a realistic manner; we do not wish to jump
from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas in one single leap.
This Government would be prepared to encourage and support
any school, under whatever denominational authority it
may be, which renders satisfactory service.
I cannot agree with the argument that this Bill does not
provide safeguards for minorities, or on the other hand,
that it contains provisions injurious to their interests.
I would ask you to scrutinise whether there is any single
clause in this Bill which detrimentally affects the minority
interests. I can confidently assert that there is no such
provision. On the other hand, all safeguards for such
interests are provided for in this Bill. If it is argued
that the Christians in this State are a minority, I will
say that every community here is a minority. The Nair
community, the Christian community and the Muslim community
will all have to be referred to as minorities in this
State. Government does not wish to accept this line of
argument, which is redundant as far as matters educational
Managements which have, for a long time, functioned with
in the educational structure of the State and have generally
contributed to the progress of education alone come under
the ambit of this Bill. Management Schools which function
purely on communal basis are so few as can be counted
on the finger tips as, for example, Anglo-Indian schools.
Even in respect of these, the present Bill is not objectionable.
Sir, My hon’ble friend, Shri A.A.Rahim, expressed
a doubt relating to allowances for teachers. Allowances
are a sort of temporary aid granted to those in Government
service, from time to time, according to the prevailing
circumstances. Such allowances will be paid to teachers
in the same way as they are being paid to Government servants.
It need not be concluded that because only the term “salary”
is mentioned in the Bill, allowances will not be granted.
Teachers will continue to get their allowances at the
same level as Government servants. I hope this would dispel
the doubt raised by my friend.
The Kerala Education Bill is, to my mind, the most important
and memorable achievement of basic legislation in our
country. I implore all section of this House, including
the Opposition Parties to pass this measure into law unitedly
and in a spirit of goodwill, thereby making the event
a day to remember in our lives.
Reply to Debate. (The Kerala Education Bill was then passed)