« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Madras and Bombay, going through College as it was technically called, in reality studying the vernacular languages with more or less diligence, but at any rate making the acquaintance of the leading men of their service, and insensibly imbibing their ideas and tone of feeling. But nowadays the young civilian is despatched immediately on arrival to enter at once upon his duties as assistant magistrate of some outlying district, where the only European residents of the place will possibly consist of a couple of senior civilians. If these men are not disposed to undertake the social education of their new colleague, the young civilian, losing what little opportunity remained for fusion with his own service, is marked off thenceforward by the observant native officials as belonging to a separate class. Such cases have occurred, and will no doubt continue to occur, and to the extent to which they occur there is a serious failure of efficiency in this great public service. The young civilian of former days was sometimes conceited and arrogant, and occasionally stupid; still he was a man who thoroughly understood that he belonged to the governing class, and looked and acted as if conscious of his position and responsibilities. There was usually the making of a good public servant in him, and he was a man whom the people of the country were quite ready to respect and obey. Of the exceptional young person of whom we have spoken it can only be said that he is likely to be from first to last utterly out of place.
It is not only special cases which have to be considered, but the training of the whole service. It might be thought that if ever there was a body of young men whose education needed to be formed in a public rather than in a separate mould; who should be taught to consider a certain degree of acquaintance with the principles of law and political economy and the Indian languages as not the only sort of knowledge necessary to fit them for their profession; who should be educated to look beyond themselves, and even beyond the narrow horizon of English life and politics, acquiring the habit of mind which befits the members of a great administration, whose education, in a word, should be public and imperial in character rather than private and individual, it would be the chosen candidates for the Indian Civil Service. Yet, strange to say, the practice adopted has been the very reverse of this: rather it seems as if purposely designed to keep out of sight their future duties and responsibilities, and to suppress the growth of any corresponding sentiments, any sense that they are destined to become the rulers of a great empire. The selected candidates, their places once gained in the competi
ten we have last utter cases me from first only of she whole of younger
tive examination, are thenceforward left to pursue their subsequent course of studies as they may, and disperse themselves over the kingdom or in London lodgings, to read the Indian languages here and there with private tutors, and to make notes of law books and law cases. Their only connexion with the government to which they now belong consists in their appearance now and then to receive their stipends, or at the subsequent private examinations, when each man is called forth for a time from his retreat to confront the examiner. In fact the procedure resembles nothing in life so much as the system obtaining in China, where each candidate for the public service occupies, while under the test, his own little cell closed all round, and with only a hole at the top for the examiner to look through. Here too the candidate is visible only to the examiner, who takes a view of him now and then during his technical course, till finally he is shipped off to India, there to be relegated to his jungle home. From first to last there is nothing to remind the young civilian that he is destined to become a member of the greatest public service in the world, while equally there is no opportunity afforded to the government or his fellow-students to judge of his fitness for that service.
The conclusion from all this is plain. Competition may be a good way of choosing candidates in the first instance, or at least a sufficiently good way: this has been proved by the success of the experiment at Woolwich. But a mere examination, even if it were otherwise a suitable test, does not take the place of that training and education which are necessary for preparing the future members of a great administration for the duties they have to perform, for rubbing off individual eccentricities, and welding the different units composing it into one homogeneous body. To which must be added that mere examinations will not suffice for that further elimination of candidates which may sometimes be desirable. Everybody knows that the certificates of moral character which are the only additional tests now demanded, are always forthcoming in such cases if a man has not actually broken the laws of the country, and it is notorious that in this way men occasionally get through who ought never to be admitted to any public employment.
Such a system is utterly destructive of all that inestimable esprit de corps and mutual reliance which formerly distinguished the Indian Civil Service. That feeling may sometimes have degenerated into a spirit of clique, but on the whole it was no doubt an extremely healthful one. Formerly each man regarded the reputation of the service as his own, and to reflect on the character of one member of it was to attack the whole body. This feeling is fast disappearing; in fact nowadays no persons are more pronounced in their criticisms on the shortcomings of individual civilians than other members of their body.
The remedy is plain. Assuming that the competitive system is to be retained for first selection, the selected candidates should afterwards be associated together in college life for their subsequent course of preparation, so that they may embark on the public service with the same social and moral advantages as the bulk of those men possess who enter upon what are termed the liberal professions.
Such a measure would appear, from a speech made on a public occasion a few months ago by the late Secretary of State for India, to be in contemplation, and certainly it cannot be carried out too soon, while fortunately there are no powerful conflicting interests to stand in the way. The only apparent difficulty will be to fix on the place for this college, and the sort of curriculum to be pursued by the selected candidates. As to the first point, it may be said that the oriental languages, law, history, and political economy could be taught as well, if not better, at either of the English universities than anywhere else, while there are obvious advantages in bringing this class of students within the traditionary influences of one of the old. established seats of learning, rather than in setting up a new institution of which the intellectual spirit and moral tone would have to be created. But it would be difficult to choose between the conflicting claims of Oxford and Cambridge, supposing each to be desirous of affiliating the new institution with itself; while of course Trinity College Dublin would feel itself aggrieved if either of the English universities were selected. Indeed it is possible that a remonstrance might be heard from other and younger institutions at being cut off from participating in the business of training the young civilians. Such dog-in-the-manger like complaints would not, however, deserve serious attention, since no one public institution has under the present system more than an infinitesimal share in the preparation of selected candidates, and it is to be loped that, whichever party may be in power, the Government of the day will have sufficient firmness and strength of purpose to carry out the measure without regard to selfish opposition of this sort. The object in view is not to distribute subventions with equal band on this or that place of education, or even to advance the cause of education in England or Ireland, but to secure for the future
t thoseddition, tural sordingls with
Indian civilian the best possible training, mental and social; and this end can only be arrived at by bringing them all together, and under the influence of the highest form of education the country offers. These conditions, we believe, will be most completely satisfied by passing them through a college to be established at one of the English universities. The greater prominence given at Oxford than at Cambridge to those branches of study which the Indian civilian has to pursue, seems to justify the preference being given to the former if she is willing to accept the offer. It would be easy, by a very moderate adaptation of the present Oxford curriculum, to organise an additional school for degrees, which, in combination with the existing ones, should provide all the subjects of study needful for this class of students; it would also be quite practicable to arrange that those who might desire to pursue other branches of study in addition to their special course, such as mental philosophy or the natural sciences or mathematics, should be allowed some credit accordingly in the final examinations. This is a matter of detail which, with other points, such as the number of terms of residence required for graduation and so forth, could easily be arranged when once the principle of the measure is determined on, but it would not the less be an advantage to permit a certain degree of latitude in this respect. Indian civilians are not required to be naturalists or mathematicians, but it is certainly to be regretted that under the present system the selected candidates, who may perhaps have obtained their place by proficiency in these or other branches of knowledge, are practically debarred from continuing to pursue their studies in them just when they have begun to master the difficulties. Let us add that it would be a sufficient provision against that tendency to idleness which carries away the majority of university students, to require every student of the Indian College to take a high degree as a condition of qualification for the public service. But the main point is to establish the college. Competition has had a fair trial, and there has been sufficient opportunity to find out in what respects it fails; and considering the paramount obligation resting on all concerned to furnish India with the best possible material for her administrators that can be procured, no time should now be lost in applying the needful remedy. No one indeed seriously believes that the existing system will be permanently maintained, but what is wanted is that the authorities at the India Office should take the initiative. Let us hope that the same degree of promptitude and vigour with which the Duke of Argyll lately reformed the defective mode for recruiting the Indian Civil Engineers' Service which he found in force on taking office, may now be exhibited by his very able successor the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, in dealing with the education and training of the young Indian civilians. The call for
body to be dealt with being a still more important branch of the public service.
But next, assuming that competition of some sort is the best way of selecting candidates for this branch of the public service, that is, as a merely preliminary test, still even for this purpose the present form of examination reeds entire revision. When we contrast the expectations formed of the effect of establishing these examinations, with the actual result, they must be pronounced an egregious failure. We lay no stress on the failure of the more sanguine anticipations expressed, that the current of the foremost talent of the universities would be turned in this direction, and that, when the restrictions of patronage were removed, the Indian Civil Service would be regarded as the finest field of employment for a working member of the middle classes; because, although undoubtedly it offers a noble career, which may well satisfy the aspirations of those who regard the means of exerting personal influence and extending the happiness of their fellow-creatures as the first object, since there is probably no position in life, save that of a great monarch or great minister, which offers the same opportunities; yet the dravbacks to life in India may well suffice with the majority of men to turn the balance in favour of a career at home, while for those of the first talent the limited range of even the highest Indian reputation may naturally deter them from embracing a career in that country. But these reasons do not explain why scarcely anyone ever comes up from the different universities and colleges of the kingdom for these great prizes. Nearly a thousand men graduate every year from Oxford and Cambridge alone, yet practically the English Universities contribute no candidates to the competition. After
sities combridge alone, en graduate er for these
which was to have exerted such an extraordinary stimulus on the higher education of the country, is that, as we learn from advertisements, one-half of the successful candidates at the late examination were prepared by one private tutor. The majority of the remainder were prepared, we believe, by another. The representatives of the various public edueational institutions of the country who succeeded in gaining places were mere waifs and strays in the list.