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Bagshawe, L. E. (1976) A literature of school books: A study of the Burmese books approved for use in schools by the Education Department in 1885, and of their place in the developing educational system in British Burma. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this thesis is to consider the Burmese language text books approved for use in schools and listed in the Burma Education's Handbook of 1885, and to demonstrate their place in the system that had been developed up to that year which marks the end of the early formative stage of Western education in Burma under British administration. First, in order to understand how government policy towards education evolved in Burma, the rationale of British involvement in the education of Eastern peoples, leading to the Dispatches of 1854 and 1859, is examined. Secondly some account is given of the major government decisions concerning education taken during the 1860s; that which determined, following the 1854 Dispatch, that education should be modern in content and, so far as possible, in the Burmese language, was of great importance, giving rise to a constantly appearing strain between the desire of the Burmese for an English education and the official concept of the government's duty. Thirdly the three types of school already existing in the country are discussed, namely the government's own schools, the mission schools, and the 'indigenous' schools, comprising monastic schools and lay ('house') schools, which together it was hoped would serve as the basis of a new integrated system, and also the problems involved in this integration. The second part of the thesis (Chapter IV onward) contains an examination of the way in which the system developed and how the government assumed increasing responsibility for education by the establishment of institutions such as the Teachers' Training School, Committees of Public Instruction, Cess Schools, the Rangoon High School and the Educational Syndicate. Chapter V deals with the Vernacular Committee, which in 1379 became the Text Book Committee and its mode of operation; the difficulties of producing 'modern' text books in Burmese; authors and their backgrounds and the expansion of book publishing. Finally in Chapters VI and VII a detailed examination of the list of approved books shows that by 1885 the government had not found it possible to integrate the three different educational systems into a coherent whole.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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