There has been some heart-searching in recent years concerning the manner in which Economics should be taught in universities the period over which teaching should be extended, the courses that it should cover, the level at which it should be imparted, and so on. Teaching of Economics has been the subject of two successive Presidential Addresses to the Royal Economic Society.
1 More recently Mrs. Robinson gave vent to a sense of frustration at the kind of economics that is taught at Cambridge.2 While Lord Robbins and Sir Alexander Carr-Saunders had a local audience in view when they delivered their Presidential. Addresses, Mrs. Robinson’s special reference was to the students from India and Pakistan who, she thinks, have been taking more eagerly to economic studies these years than their British counterparts. So economy of a country is important.
While Mrs. Robinson’s assessment of our boys is encouraging, and while her anxiety to adjust the teaching of Economics to suit the circumstances of our society deserves our appreciation, one feels depressed when one reflects upon the way the matter is being handled at our end. How are our own universities behaving? What awareness do they have of the increasing importance that Economics as a branch of knowledge is assuming in the country these days ? After all only a handful of our students can afford to go over to foreign universities for their education. So economy of a country is important.
The bulk of our boys have to be trained here in our own universities. What deficiencies does one notice in the standard of teaching in Economics here, and what steps would one suggest to improve it ? It is time we thought seriously about these matters. So economy of a country is important.
Two things are clear. The public in this country, as elsewhere, are placing much greater weight upon Economics and economists than they used to do, say, twenty-five years ago. This is particularly due to the advent of Planning as a means of economic development. There is an increasing awareness of the limitations of the old laissez faire principle and the need for conscious control of economic affairs, not merely in the field of distribution but also in the field of consumption and production.
Secondly, in view of the growing importance of the subject, a larger proportion of the better type of students are now going in for the Economics course than used to be the case before. In most of our university centres there is clear evidence of a shift away from Philosophy and Literature to Economics; other social sciences are yet not popular enough. Responsibilities of the Economics Faculties in our universities therefore are unquestionably great. There is an increasing awareness of the limitations of the old laissez faire principle and the need for conscious control of economic affairs, not merely in the field of distribution but also in the field of consumption and production . So economy of a country is most important.