Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Another activity of the Boards of Health and Welfare should be co-operation with the Government in improving and extending educational facilities. During our tour we visited a number of schools and heard a considerable amount of evidence as to the available educational facilities for the children of miners. In the Asansol area we came across a school run by the miners themselves, and evidence was also given of another such school in the Dhanbad area. We were throughout struck by the fact that success depended very largely on the attitude of the company managers, and that, in some cases, colliery schools were attended only by the children of clerks and higher grade workers, especially where managers did not directly encourage the attendance of the children of actual workers. In the Giridih colliery area no less than 17 schools are being run, and the extent of educate among the children was markedly in advance of other mining areas. The Superintendent of the East Indian Railway Colliery Department stated that the management had exercised a form of compulsion in the matter of education for more than a generation, but that the miners now willingly send their children to school. In the Jharia area, where many different companies are involved, no such scheme operates and, indeed, the number of schools, both Government and colliery, has fallen since 1927 from 99 to 88. In his most recent report, the Chief Inspector Mines emphasises the absence of any concerted movement in this area to bring the children of the workers under the provisions of the Bihar a Orissa Primary Education Act of 1919, although children under years have been excluded from the mines since 1924. In view of this fact and as alternative employment for even the older children scarce, we would press for the introduction of compulsory primary education in the coalfields. We have suggested elsewhere that Government should adopt the British practice of giving percentage grants towards expenditure on health and welfare measures, and this method might be extended to approved activities of Boards of Health and Welfare in relation both to health and welfare and to education. In the salt mines of the Punjab no educational facilities are provided either by the Salt Revenue Department or by the Punjab Government. There are, however, District Board Schools both at Khewra and at Dandot, and an infant school at Warcha. We suggest that the Salt Department and the Punjab Government should co-operate with A view to the introduction of compulsory education in the Salt Range. We agree with the Chief Inspector of Mines that, in the case of the hereditary salt miners of Khewra, there is a field for the introduction of elementary education for both boys and girls on lines suited to their special circumstances and geographical isolation.