Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Aims and purposes of education: Australia, India: a comparative study
    Bhattacharyya, Gopal Chandra ( 1960)
    This is an essay in comparative education. It may be described as philosophical, but it is not the sort of philosophical essay which would be written by a professional philosopher; it is rather an attempt to show, by comparison of selected elements in the educational practice of Australia and India, some of the distinctive characteristics of the two nations. The aims and purposes of education to a large extent reflect the cultural, social and political philosophies of any country. For this reason it is necessary to give some attention to the forces working behind the educational scene: basic beliefs, the cultural heritage, religious traditions, racial, linguistic and economic factors, and the political background. In this way it is proposed that the aims and purposes of education should be studied in the discussion of the meaning of elementary and secondary. Tertiary, kindergarten, adult and technical education will not be discussed, and some other problems of education � examinations, teachers' training, discipline for example � will be omitted. We shall concentrate mainly on the contents of the primary and secondary curricula and extra-curricular activities, the ideas behind all these, the legal foundations in which these ideas have taken shape and the administrative and organizational problems which have arisen out of them. As the State school curriculum is largely followed by non-State schools also, we shall not deal with these schools separately but occasionally mention factors peculiar to them. Both Australia and India are federations of States and each state in each country has its own educational policy independent of others. But in India there is an All-India educational policy which is formulated through All-India organizations, such as the Central Advisory Board of Education and All-India Council for Secondary Education, and followed in principle by each state. In Australia, however, as there is no such co-ordinating body, the system of education in each State differs in detail. For our purpose we shall mainly depend on the two most progressive States, namely Victoria and New South Wales, although occasional reference will be made to the other States also. (From Introduction)
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    A history of technical education in Australia: with special reference to the period before 1914
    Murray-Smith, Stephen ( 1966)
    In this thesis the attempts of colonial man to adapt to his environment and to train the young worker, the artisan and the technologist are discussed. Initially education in the form of practical training was merely an aspect of charitable beliefs or intellectual presumptions. The colonies relied in the main on obtaining their needed skills from overseas. But, especially after the gold rushes, indigenous technological challenges arose to which pragmatic educational response was made. Thus the transition from the mechanics’ institutes, largely agents of ‘improving’ purpose, to the schools of mines, ostensibly dedicated to the service and advancement of colonial industry. Technical education however was retained, throughout its history in Australia, a strong ideological component. Its most effective real contribution, in the period before 1914 at least, was in the field of opening opportunity to the socially and educationally underprivileged; but the general insistence was on its immediate industrial relevance. This latter was largely an illusion, but it served to nurture the technical schools while they performed multi-functional tasks and developed as poor men’s grammar schools. The hey-day of technical education in Australia was between 1880 and 1900, when it became a cause which appealed to free-traders, protectionists, the labor movement, the manufacturers, the nation-builders and many other important social groups. In this period it became a means of liberating the potential of democratic man, and thus a prime plank in the liberal platform. But after 1900 the vision became narrower, and technical education became increasingly identified with the concepts of ‘national destiny’, man as a social unit, and educational specialisation. Instead of being a vehicle for the concept of undifferentiated man, it became an excuse for a narrow and rigorous view of individual function. By 1914 the anti-liberal educational revolution had been achieved, and education in general, and technical education in particular, was henceforward conceived as being subservient to the objects of a modern industrial society. But public response was fickle, and the will to plan an industrial economy, and the educational system such an economy demanded, fluctuated. We are still affected by the ambivalent nature of the origins of technical education, still not clear in our own minds as to what our own responsibilities to the development of our own country are.