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Radhakrishnan Commission/University Education Commission 1948-49

Radhakrishnan Commission/University Education Commission 1948-49
Radhakrishnan Commission/University Education Commission 1948-49

Radhakrishnan Commission/University Education Commission 1948-49


As an academic, philosopher, and statesman, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) was one of the most recognized and influential Indian thinkers in academic circles in the 20th century.

The Radhakrishnan was named chairman of the University Education Commission. After Independence the first action of a great significance to be taken by the Government of India in the field of education was the appointment of the University Education Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, a distinguished scholar and former Vice- Chancellor of Banaras University, who rose to become the second President of India.

         After independence on August 15, 1947, Radhakrishnan was requested to Chair the University Education Commission. The Radhakrishnan Committee’s suggestions helped mould the education system for India’s needs to report on Indian University Education and suggest improvements and extensions that may be desirable to suit present and future requirements of the country” The Commission’s 1949 Report assessed the state of university education and made recommendations for its improvement in the newly independent India. The Commission held its first meeting in New Delhi on 6th December, 1948, when the Hon’ble Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Minister for Education, Government of India, addressed the meeting and explained  Governments’ intentions in regard to the purpose and scope of the inquiry.  
Appointment of the Commission

The members of the Commission were appointed by the Government of India to report on Indian University Education and suggest improvements and extensions that may be desirable to suit present and future requirements of the country. 

 Members of the Commission

The following were appointed as members of the Commission:-

  1. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, M.A., D. Litt., LL.D., Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at theUniversityof Oxford. (Chairman).
  2. Dr. Tara Chand, M.A., D. Phil. (Oxon.), Secretary and Educational Adviser to the Government ofIndia.
  3. Dr. (now Sir) James F. Duff, M.A. (Cantab.), M. Ed. (Manchester), LL.D. (Aberdeen), Vice-Chancellor,Universityof Durham.
  4. Dr. Zakir Hussain, M.A., Ph.D., D. Litt. (Jamia Millia Islamia,Delhi)-(now Vice-Chancellor,Muslim University, Aligarh).
  5. Dr. Arthur E. Morgan, D.Sc., D. Eng., LL.D., Former President, Antioch College, First Chairman, Tennessee Valley Authority, President, Community Service Inc.
  6. Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, D.Sc., LL.D., D.C.L., F.R.C.O.G., F.A.S.C., Vice-Chancellor, University’ ofMadras.
  7. Dr. Meghnad Saha, D.Sc. F.R.S., Palit professor of Physics Dean, Faculty of Science; and President, Post-Graduate Council of Science, University of Calcutta.
  8. Dr. Karm. Narayan Bahl D. Sc (Panj.), D. Phil, and D. Sc.(Oxon), Professor of Zoology,Universityof Lucknow.
  9. Dr. John J. Tigert, M.A. (Oxon.) LL.D., Ed. D., D.C.L., D. Litt., L.H.D., formerly Commissioner of Education of the United States, and President Emeritus of the University of Florida.
  10. Shri Nirmal Kumar Sidhanta, M.A. (Cantab.),Professor of English and Dean, Faculty of Arts, University ofLucknow. (Secretary).

 Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference-The terms of reference of the Commission were to consider and make recommendations in regard to-

(i) The aims and objects of university education and research in India.

(ii) The changes considered necessary and desirable in the constitution, control, functions and jurisdiction of universities in India and their relations with Governments, Central and Provincial.

(iii) The Finance of universities.

(iv) The maintenance of the highest standards of teaching and examination in the universities and colleges under their control.

(v) The courses of study in the universities with special reference to the maintenance of a sound balance between the Humanities and the Sciences and between pure science and technological training and the duration of such courses.

(vi) The standards of admission to university courses of study with reference to the desirability of an independent university entrance examination and the avoidance of unfair discriminations which militate against Fundamental Right 23 (2).

(vii) The medium of instruction in the universities.

(vii) The provision for advanced study in Indian culture, history, literatures, languages, philosophy and fine arts.

(ix) The need for more universities on a regional or other basis.

(x) The Organisation of advanced research in all branches of knowledge in the universities and Institutes of higher research in a well-co-ordinate fashion avoiding waste of effort and resources.

(xi) Religious instruction in the universities.

(xii) The special problems of the Banaras Hindu University, the Aligarh Muslim University, the Delhi University and other institutions of an all-India character.

(xiii) The qualifications, conditions of service, salaries, privileges and functions of teachers and the encouragement of original research by teachers.

(xiv) The discipline of students, hostels and the Organisation of tutorial work and any other matter which is germane and essential to a complete and comprehensive enquiry into all aspects of university education and advanced research in India.

 Major Observations and Recommendations:

I  Aims of Education

The aims of education are

  • To teach that life has a meaning.
  • To awaken the innate ability to live the life of soul by developing wisdom.
  • To acquaint with the social philosophy which should govern all over institutions, educational as well as economic and political?
  • To train for democracy.
  • To train for self development
  • To develop certain values like fearlessness of mind, strength of conscience and integrity f purpose.
  • To acquaint with cultural heritage of its generation
  • To enable to know that education is a life-long process.
  • To develop understanding of the present and the past.
  • To impart vocational and professional training.

 II Functions of Universities

    The commission laid the emphasis on the following functions of education in the view of the economic and   political changes of the country.

  1. Creating individuals with a change of spirit. It is for the universities to create knowledge and train mind of men who would brings together the two material resources and human energies. If our living standards are to be raised radical change of spirit is essential
  2. Preparing individual who seek guidance from the past but give up fatal obsession of the perfection of the past. The universities are the intellectual sanctuaries of the inner life of the nation. They must train intellectual pioneers, seeking guidance from the past but providing dynamics to realise new dreams.
  3. Developing individual who understand the significance of an integrated way of life. The universities must develop the qualities of synthesizing  the knowledge – a  ‘Samanavaya’ of the different items of the knowledge
  4. Developing men of the wisdom. Our ancient teachers tried to teach subjects and impart wisdom. Their ideal was wisdom along with knowledge . We cannot be wise without some basis of knowledge though we may easily acquire knowledge and devoid of  wisdom. To use the word of Upanishad, we may knower of the text (mantravati) and not knower of self  (atmavti). No amount of factual information would make a ordinary men into educated or virtuous men unless something is awakened in them, an innate ability to live the life of the soul
  5. Developing individuals who understand the aims of the social order. The universities must develop a concept of the social order in the students. They must also develop value of democracy, justice and liberty, equality and eternity – ideals of the Indian society
  6. Producing students who can adjust to society and bring about new changes. Education is the mean by which society perceptual itself. In 1852 Newman defined the function of the university thus, “if a practical end must be assigned to a university course, then I say it is training member of the good society.” No system of the education could be directed to weakening of the state that maintains it. But the education is also an instrument for social changes.
  7. Preparing leaders. Training leadership in the profession and in the public life is one of the central aim of the university education, which is difficult to realise. President Truman remarks, “Our nation policies must be administered by men of the board experiences, mature outlook and sound judgment.” If it is the function of universities to train men and woman for wise leadership, they must enable young men and women to read with insight.
  8. Developing men of the character. We are building a civilisation, not a factory or worship. The quality of the worship not depends on the material, equipment or the political machinery but on the character of the men. The major task of the education is the improvement of the character.
  9. Developing appreciation of culture unity of India. India is like palimpsest in which new character do not entirely efface the old. In a single social pattern fragments of the different age are brought together. It would be impossible to think of an Indians where no Mugals are ruled, where no Taj was built, no Macaulay wrote his minute on education. Indian culture is like a living organism growing riches and content primitive culture are marked by extreme conservatism where social group follow the same path of the custom and convention with irrational persistence. Living cultures are dynamics and maintain their culture pattern by continuous effort of the individual and social discipline.
  10. Developing individuals capable of understandings the spiritual heritage of the past. The chief source of the spiritual nourishment for nay people must be its own past perpetually rediscovered and renewed. A society without knowledge of the past which made it would be lacking g in depth band dignity.  We must be critical and selective and use the past to illuminate the present. We should not blindly give up the great value of our past nor should we cling to belief simply because they are ancient.
  11. Developing skill for the needed personnel. The universities must prepare personnel to meet increase demand for every type of the activity, i.e., administration, commerce, industry, politics.
  12. Developing scientists and technological personnel. The universities must enable the country to attain in as short a time as possible, freedom from want, disease and ignorance, by the application and development of the scientific and technical knowledge. India is rich in natural resources and her people have intelligence band energy are throbbing with renewed life and vigor. It is the universities to prepare such personnel.
  13. Developing individual with such values and skill of cultural cooperation. The setting for development of the world culture though the cross fertilization of the culture is ready. The world has become, through the speedy of the transpiration and communication and economic independence, a single body. We must secure for recognition and acceptance of the oneness of the world i9n the thinking of the people.  Growth in mutual understanding arises from the recognition that the different cultures are dialects of the one language of the spirit.

III Standards of Teaching

 The university of education commission 1948-49 made following recommendations which still hold good:–


  1. the standard of admission to the university courses should correspond to that of the present intermediate examination that is after the completion of twelve years of the study at a school and an intermediate college ; ( this has been done by the introduction of 10+2+32 pattern)
  2. in each province a large number of well equipped and well staff intermediate colleges ( with class IX to XII or IV to XII) be establish;
  1. in order to divert students to different vocation after 10 to 12 years of schooling, a large number of occupational institutes be open;
  2. Refreshers to be organized by the universities for high school and intermediate college teacher.
  3. To avoid overcrowding at universities and colleges, the maximum number in the arts and science faculty of teaching universities be fixed at 3,000 and in affiliated college at 1500
  4. the number of working days be substantially increased to ensure minimum of 180 in the year, exclusive of the examination days; with three terms, each of about 11  week duration
  5. lectures be carefully planned and supplemented by tutorials, library work and written exercise;
  6. there be no prescribed text book for any courses of study;
  7. Attended at lectures be compulsory for undergraduate student as a present, and that private candidate of only certain categories be allowed to appear for public examinations. An experiment should, however, be made with evening college for working people;
  8. tutorial instruction be developed in all institution imparting university education in the following manner:-
  9. students should be report to tutors in group not exceeding 6 in number;
  10. tutorial should be made available to undergraduate both pass and honours;
  11. tutorial should stimulate the mental development of the students and should not become mere coaching for examinations;
  12. if tutorial are to succeed, the teaching staff should be improve in quality;
  13. universities libraries be greatly improved by;
  14. larger annual grants;
  15. the introduction of the open access system;
  16. longer hours of the works;
  17. better organization; and
  18. a well trained staff which should include reference assistants; and
  1. The laboratories should be improved in building, fittings, equipment, workshops and    technicians. .

IV Teacher Emoluments

Recognizing the importance of the teaching profession the commission recommended the following grades:

        University Teachers

  1. Professor  Rs. 900-500-1350
  2. Reader Rs. 600-300-900
  3. Lecturer Rs. 300-25-500
  4. Fellows or Instructions Rs. 250-25-500
  5. Research fellows  Rs. 250-25-500


University teacher should give the community punctuality, efficiency and devotion to duty in relation to their teaching work and new ideas and newer methods in relation to their research work.

Scales of pay for affiliated colleges with post graduate classes

Principal Rs. 800-400-1000

Senior lecturers (two in each college) Rs. 500-25-800

Lecturer Rs. 200-15-310-20-400-25-500

Scales of pay for affiliated colleges with no post graduate classes

Principal Rs. 600-45-800

Senior lecturer (two in each college) Rs. 400-25-600 

V  Courses of Study

 Knowledge should be considered as a whole. While drawing up the courses. Link between various aspects should not keep in view. There should be a connecting bond between the general academic and vocational education. The principles and practices of general education must become an integral part of course at the intermediate and degree stage.

Courses at the degree level

Apart from a course in general education following courses is to be taken up by students:

  • Federal language or if that happens to be mother tongue, a classical or a modern Indian language.
  • English
  • And for arts students not less than two special subjects preferably from each group.


  1. Classical or a modern Indian language
  2. English, German or French
  3. Philosophy
  4. History
  5. Mathematics
  6. Fine Arts
  7. Political Science

            Social Sciences:

  1. Economics
  2. Sociology
  3. Psychology
  4. Anthropology
  5. Geography
  6. Home Economic

          For science students not less than two special subjects from the following list:

  1. Mathematic;
  2. Physics
  3. Chemistry
  4. Botany
  5. Zoology
  6. Geology

VI     Professional Education

Agriculture.  The study of agriculture at the primary secondary and higher education be  given high priority in national economic planning. So far as is feasible. agricultural education be given a rural setting.  

Commerce. A commerce student should be given opportunities for practical work in three or four different kinds of firms.  

Engineering and Technology. The number engineering schools of different grades be increases particularly for training of grades 4 and 5 (foremen, craftsmen, draftsmen, overseers. etc.) 

In establishing new engineering colleges or institutes there should be fresh critical inquiry as to the types of engineering services needed in Indian. Uncritical reception and imitation of existing institutions here and aboard should be avoided.  

Law: A three year degree course be offered in special legal subjects. Students pursuing degree souses in law shall not be permitted to carry outer degree courses simultaneously except in a few instances where advanced students have proved their interest and are studying related subjects in law and some other fields.  

Medicines : the maximum number of admission to a medical college be 100 provide the staff and equipment for that number are available.

Religious education: all educational institutions should start work with a few minutes for silent meditation.

  • In the first year lives of the great religious leaders like Gautama Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Jesus, Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Mohammad, Kabir, Nanak, Gandhi be taught.
  • In the second year some selections of a universalism character from the scriptures of the world be studied.
  • In the third year the central problems of the philosophy of religion be considered.
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