EDUCATION: PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION has three tasks. It must inform. It must prepare for the business of living. It must find the springs of personality and release them. Secular education in the West has been inclined to count its work done with the first two of these. Education as conducted by missions has never forgotten the third.
This is not to say that it has always achieved this great aim: the art of education is still in its infancy. In attempting to reach and speak to the soul of the Orient, our missions have commonly imparted religion as if it were information. They have not always considered that the soul has a history.
But the soul of the East has a long history, which now, in the midst of change, maintains the distinctive quality of the Orient. Its old civilizations had their own modes of education, not more through their schools than through family life and through personal centers of prestige. Its arts, technical and fine, were handed down by apprenticeship as well as by schools. Its philosophy and science, accessible to a few in written characters, were open to many more in oral tradition passed on through ample memories. Cultivation in these lands has always been more extensive than literacy. This older education, though its scientific side was arrested in growth shortly after giving to the West many early impulses in arithmetic, astronomy, logic, had its elements of strength and adequacy. The enduring spirit of the East is sufficient proof. The old techniques of teaching are gone, except for a few traces still to be found in China and India; but through a hundred channels of giving and listening, the Orient still transmits itself.