After reading this article you will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of general education for civil services at pre-entry level.
Advantages of General Education at Pre-Entry Level:
(a) General education broadens the outlook and widens the mental horizon of the young man. Lord Macaulay rightly opined, “men who distinguish themselves in their youth above their contemporaries almost always keep to the end of their lives the start which they have gained.” Public administration, however technical it may be, does require the services of men with wider outlook and broader vision.
(b) A specialized mind has a cramped outlook. As such it is apt to fail in grasping the intricate problems pertaining to administration.
(c) Educational system—the foundation of culture and civilization —is not made a tool serving the needs of a government and remains based upon the ideals and moral values of the people.
(d) A general mental equipment is required even for imparting any specialized knowledge, otherwise it is apprehended that the youth might develop myopic vision and stereotyped conception.
(e) There will be no heart-burning if a Youngman equipped with liberal education fails to get an administrative job. On the other hand, a young man specially trained for administrative jobs, may feel utterly frustrated if he does not get the job after getting such a type of training.
In the words of Dr. White, “pre-entry education is intended to enable an aspirant to pass an examination or otherwise to show fitness for appointment or more broadly to develop the knowledge and qualities of mind which will make for subsequent success. There is no certainty of selection for a civil service post and the object is properly therefore to prepare the would-be government executive or professional employee on sufficiently broad lines so that his efforts will not be wasted if he is unsuccessful in entering public work.”
Thus government’s money, in fact tax payer’s money, is saved if special training courses are not opted for at this stage.
Disadvantages General Education at Pre-Entry Level:
It is argued by the critics that the civil service like military service is a specialized activity. Hence it can be best carried out by civil technicians trained in civil academies like military academies. The initial defeats of British during World War were attributed to the untrained raw civil servants.
The select committee of the House of Commons on the National Expenditure in October 1942 went to the extent of recommending the establishment of the staff college for training for the would-be civil servants. However, the suggestion was set at naught on the plea that it will turn the civil service into a caste like and unify the mentality of all civil services.
It is suggested that the general education should ordinarily be imparted at pre-entry level. However, it may be supplemented with some information concerning the nature of public administration. Such a study need not be compulsory at university stage.
It may be made optional meant for those who aspire for civil service posts. Up to Degree level, the students may be told the importance of public administration in the modern welfare state, the practical working of the governmental institutions at the national, state and local level.
At the M.A. level, the study of public administration should be professional or technical type so that the students opting for administrative careers alone may go in for it.
In U.S.A., the University of Chicago, the Harvard School of Public Administration, the Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, the Institute of Public Administration, University of Michigan, the School of Public and Business Administration, Cornell University, and the School of Business Civil Administration, Columbia University, and concerned with the imparting of training in administration—some of them impart general education on Public Administration whereas others in specialized and technical.
In India also, the Delhi School of Social Work and Indian Institute of Public Administration impart training on the various aspects of administration in the various fields.
It is suggested that general education should be the rule in the pre-entry training though exception may be made for training in professional and technical services in certain cases. Present day public administration does necessitate the services of technicians like engineers, doctors, scientists, etc.
These persons are apt to be imparted technical training in their technical institutes. However, it is advisable that such institutions must not be kept isolated from educational institutions imparting liberal education. It is still more desirable if the students of technical institutes mix up and stay together with students of Arts faculties.