Comprehension set – 10

It is an old saying that knowledge is power. Education is an instrument which imparts knowledge and, therefore, indirectly controls power. Therefore, ever since the dawn of civilization persons in power have always tried to supervise or control education. It has been the hand-maid of the ruling class. During the Christian era, the ecclesiastics controlled the institution of education and diffused among the people the gospel of the Bible and religious teachings. These gospels and teachings were no other than a philosophy for the maintenance of the existing society. It taught the poor man to be meek and to earn his bread with the sweat of his brow, while the priests and the landlords lived in luxury and fought duels for the slightest offence. During the Renaissance, education passed more from the clutches of the priest into the hand of the prince. In other words, it became more secular. It was also due to the growth of the nation-state and powerful monarchs who united the country under their rule. Thus, under the control of the monarch, education began to devise and preach the infallibility of its masters, the monarch or king. It also invented and supported fantastic theories like the Divine Right Theory and that the king can do no wrong etc. With the advent of the industrial revolution education took a different turn and had to please the new masters. It now no longer remained the privilege of the baron class but was thrown open to the new rich merchant class of society. Yet education was still confined to the few elite. The philosophy which was in vogue during this period was that of ‘laissez-faire’ restricting the function of the State to a mere keeping of law and order while, on the other hand, in practice the law of the jungle prevailed in the form of free competition and the survival of the fittest.

1. Who controlled education during the era after the industrial revolution?

(a) The baron class

(b) The priests

(c) The prince

(d) The monarch

(e) None of these

2. What does the theory of Divine Right of king stipulate?

(a) That kings are gods.

(b) They have the right to be worshipped like gods by their subjects.

(c) That the right of governing is conferred upon kings by god.

(d) That the rights of kings are divine and therefore sacred.

(e) None of these

3. What does the expression ‘hand-maid of the ruling class’ mean?

(a) Private mistress of the prince

(b) Something fully under the control of the ruling class

(c) Private maid-servants of the prince

(d) The symbol of authority of the prince

(e) None of these

4. Who controlled education during the Renaissance?

(a) The common people

(b) The prince

(c) The church and the priests

(d) The secular leaders of the society

(e) None of these

5. What does the word “infallibility” mean?

(a) That every man is open to error

(b) That some divine power is responsible for determining the fate of men

(c) The virtue of not making any mistake

(d) Sensitivity

(e) None of these

6. What did the ruling class in the Christian era think of the poor man?

(a) That he is the beloved of god

(b) That he deserves all sympathy of the rich

(c) That he should be strong

(d) That he is meant for serving the rich

(e) None of these

7. Who controlled the institution of education during the Christian era?

(a) The church and the priests

(b) The monarchs

(c) The secular leaders of society

(d) The common people

(e) None of these

8. What do you mean by the ‘sweat of his brow’?

(a) Very hard work

(b) The tiny droplets of sweat on the forehead

(c) The wrinkles visible on the face

(d) The sign of innocence

(e) None of these

9. Why have persons in power always tried to supervise or control education?

(a) Because they wanted to educate the whole public.

(b) Because they wanted to deprive the common man of the benefits of education.

(c) Because it involved a huge expenditure on the state exchequer.

(d) Because it is an instrument of knowledge and therefore power.

(e) None of these.

10. What does the philosophy of Laissez-Faire stand for?

(a) Joint control of the means of production by the state and private enterprise

(b) Individual freedom in the economic field

(c) State control of the means of production

(d) Full development of the individual’s personality

(e) None of these

Answer key:

1. (e) 2. (c) 3. (b) 4. (b) 5. (c) 6. (d) 7. (a) 8. (a) 9. (d) 10. (e)