Technical Education

English Essay on "Technical Education"

Technical education may be defined as the practical application of the general principles and methods of scientific studies to the teaching of some trade, profession or handicraft. The importance of such training in country like ours is quite obvious. In Pakistan where more than eighty per cent of the population is agricultural and another ten per cent industrial, it is a crime to make education merely literary and to unfit boys and girls for manual work in after life. In view of the modern age of industrial and scientific advancement, it is admitted on all hands that Pakistan cannot keep pace with other countries in the march of progress unless our eminent educationist direct the best possible attention to the introduction and patronization of technical instruction in our schools and universities, and correct the present faulty system of education which is wholly liberal and hence lopsided. An American thinker has said, "There are two obvious kinds of education. One should teach how to live and the other how to make a living." Unfortunately in our country we are taught how to live before we know how to make a living. We are brought to know and learn the plays of Shakespeare, the poems of Milton or the chronology of historical events, but very little how to drive an engine, to handle a machine, or to work at loom in some weaving factory. That is partly why a present-day student has to face so much of distress and despair when he has left outside the college walls to make his headway in the practical world. He runs from pillar to post in search of a job with a roll of certificates and diplomas under his arm, but everywhere finds the same depressing reply, "No vacancy'. It is then that he realizes how fruitless was his act of burning midnight oil in poring over the volumes of Shakespeare, Prof. Lasky and Adam Smith in order to get through his examinations. On such an occasion his despair is so deep that he either commits suicide or if at all lives, a wretched life full of want and care.

Rightly has it been said by someone that there are only three ways of earning one's livelihood, working, begging and stealing. If one fails to earn by the first method, that is, by working, it is natural that one should earn either by begging or by stealing. Therefore, a youth who has failed to seek a job and earn by working must inevitably turn out to be either a beggar or a stealer. The question which crops up before us is, who is responsible for this production of beggars and stealers and the evident answer is that it is the want of technical instruction in our schools and colleges. And if we do not want our educational institutions to produce a generation of beggars and stealers but that of the honest upright gentlemen who earn their livelihood by the sweat of their brow, then it is essential to teach the boys and girls in some special branch of industry mechanism, handicraft, trade or a profession so that at the end of their educational career they are in a position to find employment easily or failing that start their own private work or business.

Numerous benefits, both practical and moral, accrue from technical education In the first place; it solves the problem of unemployment by supplying the industries with a large .body of trained workers in every line and finds employment for the youth. Secondly, it will pay for the education of our children and make them studious and self supporting. Pakistan is a poor country. We do not have adequate means to finance our education in accordance to the existing style, not are thousands of parents able to pay the fees that are at present imposed on their wards. Education to be universal must be free and the students should be made to pay their fees in labour, partly or wholly for the education they receive. It is thought that even under an ideal system of government, we shall not be able to devote two thousand million rupees which we should require for finding education for all the children, of school going age. It follows therefore f that technical education and manual work must be introduced in schools and universities and the students required to pay their fees in the form of labour rather than cash. Another

Practical advantage of technical education is that when we shall have our own technicians, a lot of money would be saved which at present goes to the pocket of foreign technicians. In the absence of trained men in the country we are compelled to import foreign technicians. But their importation cannot continue forever. Even while they are with us, their real role should be to train the necessary personnel to step into their shoes in due course.

The habit of doing manual work will make our students healthy, strong and agile. They will have to handle tools in a workshop and this will put a strain on their muscles and make their bodies smart and active. Technical work of minute details will train them in the habits of method and discipline, observation and attention to detail and accuracy. It will also cultivate in them the virtues of patience, faith and industry. Above all they will realize the dignity of labour and practically learn that work is worship'. In this country the manual worker is looked down upon with contempt by the so-called educated class of people and thrust down into the lowest caste. But with the encouragement of technical education this feeling of superiority-complex will gradually disappear is it has disappeared in many foreign countries. In the olden days manual work was done by slaves. Slavery was a recognized institution in Greece and Rome but at present the useless distinctions of manual and mental labour are disappearing and the working classes is pushing themselves up to a position of power, influence and comparative comfort. The increasing popularity of vocational training has exploded the myth that education is only for brain-workers. For a long time this fallacy was ruling the world. But now a man who has been trained in some department of mechanics or industry can hold his own in society against one who has received purely literary education. The former is no longer thought to be a lower specimen of humanity. It is admitted now that even manual work requires mental exercise and thought, and the skilled work of the engineer, the carpenter, the putter or builder is really more mental than manual, it takes more intelligence to be an expert electrician, or even a Mistri than to be an office clerk copying letters all day.

But the extreme form of technical education is subject to certain evils and disadvantages. Literary education is equally necessary and important to hold the scale in balance. Criticizing the excess of technical education, an educationist remarks, "If the present schools offer a pathetic spectacle of a training-ground of clerks, the future schools would have the dreary aspect of children workers." A true form of education is one which aims at the full and harmonious development of all the factors of human personality. Man is not his body only and he does not live by bread alone. He has not only a stomach to fill but also a mind to think and a heart to feel. Channing has rightly said, "A man has to be educated not because he has to make shoes and hails and pins but because he is a man." Mere technical proficiency in some industry or handicraft will not promote his human qualities and develop in him those virtues which will make a man of him and render his life worth living. Literary education should also be imparted to him so that he may cultivate good tastes and finer sensibilities for the appreciation of art, literature, philosophy and religion, and a desire to follow noble ideals and aspirations of life. If literary education is not given, though well-versed in his professional duties, he will be devoted of considerations of morality and high virtues. He may indulge in bad habits of gambling, drinking and prostitution and waste his money which he earns by virtue of his 'Technical qualifications.

However, in Pakistan there h already an excess of literary education and to remedy this excess, the need of introducing technical education in our schools and colleges is of the greatest importance. The Five Year Plan promises to solve our problem of poverty and unemployment but unless a large body of skilled workers is not available to execute its various schemes and projects; it will remain only a paper document and never become a jiving "reality. In foreign countries full impetus is given to technical instruction and this accounts for the fabulous prosperity of America and Russia. As a matter of fact, the neglect of technical education in Pakistan is a legacy of the British rule. It was the deliberate policy of the Bruisers to deprive us of the fruits of technical instruction and give us only literary education so that they may get a train of clerks to work in their offices and nothing more. But now when we have freed ourselves from the yoke of foreign domination, we must reorient and remodel the system of our education and make it more consistent with our present needs, for it is on education that the future destiny of our country depends

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