The geographical position has its inevitable impact on the culture, civilisation and education of a nation. The various countries of the world have different geographical positions. Therefore, their modes of living, civilization, culture, social institutions and educational systems are also different.
The climate of a cold country is different from that of a tropical one. Therefore, ways of living and social organisation of the two types of countries are not the same. Serial systems influence the educational organisation.
An agricultural country emphasises agricultural education in its educational system, and an industrial country pays special attention to technological and-industrial subjects in the organisation of its curriculum. In a cold country there is a long winter vacation and in a hot country a long summer vacation. Evidently, the educational structure of a country is conditioned by its geographical situation.
The educational system of a country is closely related with its economic condition. The aims and curriculum of education are framed according to the economic condition of the land. The belief about the economic system as adhered to by a country is inculcated in the citizens.
For example, under the socialistic economic system, the State is the owner of all property. Therefore at the very primary stage of education children are given the impression that all property belongs to the State and each individual has to protect it. In the democracies like U.S.A. and India the situation is quite different. In these two countries the individual property is recognised.
Therefore in the development of their educational systems full attention is paid to the lights of the individual. That is why in these countries “Public Schools” for the children of a few rich and higher class people are allowed to exist. Evidently, the economic factor is a very effective element and in the study of comparative education it occupies a special place.
In each country a number of races exist. These races influence its educational system. The race which considers itself superior to others tries to rule over them. If it succeeds in this attempt, then it tries to strengthen its control on them by developing a particular educational system.
For example, the French and the British people established their colonies in Africa. Because they were ‘white’, these people thought that they were superior to the natives of Africa. So they developed a special kind of educational system to strengthen their control over the black natives.
Thus, in South Africa, the racial factor has been an effective element in the educational system of that country. Similarly, during the British rule in India, the English people introduced a type of educational system in order to produce a special type of workers to man their administrative machinery. They did this to strengthen their imperialistic control over the country.
Accordingly, English was made the medium of instruction and a particular type of curriculum was introduced. Their actions were prompted by the feeling that their culture and civilisation were superior to those of the Indian people. Needless to emphasise once again the importance of the racial factor in the study of comparative education.
The individual has to learn the language of the group in which he is born. The culture and civilisation of a country are expressed through its language although there are other features as well which unmistakably point to its culture and civilisation.
However, the importance of the language cannot be denied. In the educational system of a country its language occupies a special place. We know that if the mother tongue is the medium of instruction, the people are generally of strong national character and if the medium is a foreign language the national character becomes weak.
It is true that there are many other factors that are responsible for moulding the national character, but the medium of instruction has its own special importance, in the educational system. Those educational problems of a country which are related with its cultural elements can be understood on the basis of linguistic factors stated above.
Now we shall understand some other factors that may be grouped under the spiritual category. These are philosophical, moral rind religious factors.
The education system of a country is influenced by the philosophy of the land. Philosophy influences life, therefore, its influence on education is quite natural.
For example, in ancient Greece, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle based the educational system of the country on a particular philosophy of life and entrusted the administration of the country to philosophers. In China to-day, the educational system is based on communist philosophy.
In ancient India the Gurukul system of education was based on Vedic philosophy of life. The educational system in the Buddhist period as obtained in Vihars and monasteries based on Buddhist philosophy.
The Dayanand Anglo Vedic Colleges of modem India are based on the philosophy of life propounded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Similarly, there are some iqstitutions based on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy.
In modern India, some people are advocating a special system of education based on the Sarovodaya philosophy of Gandhiji and Vinoba Bhave. Thus the philosophical factor is a very important factor in the study of comparative education.
Some countries emphasise moral principles and some religious. In a democratic country moral behaviour of each citizen is specially emphasized, because moral behaviour is the soul of democracy.
Thus in countries with a democratic setup, development of moral behaviour is specially emphasized as an aim of education as in Japan, Switzerland, Great Britain, India and U.S.A. Thus the moral factor is a very important element in the study of comparative education.
Religion occupies a very important place in an individual’s 1 life. History is testimony of the fact that thousands of persons have sacrificed their lives for the sake of religion. The history of Europe is full of such examples. In a religious country, the public is generally conservative and resents any change in its old traditions.
Therefore in the organisation of an educational system we have to be careful about the religious sentiments of the people. In an industrialised country, due to scientific developments, old traditions usually begin to break-down and the society is re-constructed according to the needs of the time. Education has to pay a special role in this reconstruction.
But opposite to this, in an agricultural country, the public is conservative and views any change with suspicion and it wants to preserve its religious traditions intact. Accordingly the educational system has to be organised. Needless to remark that the religious sentiments of the people have to be honored in any educational system.
Therefore, the religious factor cannot be ignored in the study of comparative education. Indeed, a comparative discussion of how different religious loyalties have given birth to various educational systems in different countries of the world will be very interesting.
Now we shall understand some such factors which may be regarded as results of scientific developments in the world. These factors are those of socialism, humanism, nationalism and democracy. The influence of these factors on education came to surface from the beginning of the modern age.
The impact of socialism may be sensed in the various aspects of our life to-day. Plato’s ideas had the seeds of socialism. He advocated the state control of rearing and bringing up the children. Accordingly, he stood for complete state control over the development of education of children.
This ideology influenced education in Greece for sometime in due course. Sir Thomas More of England in his book “Utopia” advocated socialistic principles in accordance with Plato’s ideas. He held that the state must arrange for public education in order that the citizen may fulfill his duties to the state.
Rousseau, too, had advocated a socialistic pattern of society. He stood for universal education under the control of the State. Condorcet may also be mentioned in this connection.
Condorcet stood for equal opportunity of education for all citizens. Rousseau and Condorcet were supported by such writers as Saint Simon (1760-1825), Robert Owen (1771-1858), Charles Fouries (1772-1837), Etienne Cabet (1778-1856) and Louis Blanc (1811-1882).
Modem socialism has its origin in Marxism. Marx (1818- 83) made Hegel’s materialism as the base of his philosophy. Marx contended that the economic condition of a country is at the base of its social, political and spiritual process. According to socialism, the purpose of education is to develop the means of production for the welfare of the State.
We find an example of this type of socialism in China and North Korea. Religion has no place in this type of education. Thus the factor of socialism has an important place in the development of education— therefore the importance of this factor in the stud} of comparative education cannot be overlooked.
Towards the close of the middle ages humanistic ideas were spread in Europe with the view to make man free of blind superstitions and to base his life on scientific ways. This spirit ultimately wanted to give full scope for the development of an individual. Humanism keeps human welfare as its prime aim. Man is considered to be the measure of everything.
This idea in Europe took root from the beginning of the Renaissance. It penetrated the human mind so deeply that it ultimately resulted in the separation of the Church and State.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries some humanists advocated the introduction of some such ideas in education that the impact of humanism on the educational systems of their lands can be very well understood. Comenius in his emphasis on sense-training expressed only the influence of humanism.
The effect of humanism on education was seen in France during the seventeenth century when education was separated from the Church and the State was made responsible for education of its citizens.
New methods of teaching were devised in Germany because of the influence of humanism. England felt its impact, in the form of changes in the curriculum. In various countries such subjects as geography, mathematics and science began to be taught in such a way as to make them useful in practical affairs of life.
Now attention began to be paid to the co-relationship between philosophy and science. In U.S.A., Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Panie supported the introduction of humanistic elements in the educational system.
During the third decade of the present century, John Dewey of U.S.A supported the incorporation of humanistic elements in education. In the present age, the impact of humanism may be clearly sensed in education.
Today we consider only that curriculum and method of teaching good which promotes the growth of the individual. Thus we find that the humanistic factor influences education and we cannot ignore it in the study of comparative education.
For strengthening the sense of unity the spirit of nationalism is created in a country. This is evident in India particularly after 1947. Here there are various castes, religions and languages. Regionalism erodes the very foundation of our national life.
In spite of these differences, our attention is drawn to the social, cultural and political unity inherent in our country in order to strengthen the national spirit. Accordingly, in our aims regarding education and the curriculum, special attention is given to the development of this sense of unity in the children.
However, we have to note that the spirit of nationalism in a country may be helpful only when the international outlook is not forgotten, because then, one may become blind to the inadequacies of one’s own country.
This tendency can ultimately make the nation weak. The examples of Hitler of Germany and Tokyo of Japan are eloquent testimonies to this. Evidently, the factor of nationalism influences the system of education and its study is important in comparative education.
In democracy we find two forms, in one form political equality is emphasized and in another social unity. Within the first form come, U.S.A, Great Britain, France, India, Japan, etc. and in the other form China and North Korea may be mentioned. Because of its particular kind of democratic ideologies, each country has nurtured a special type of education.
The differences found in their educational patterns are because of their different democratic faiths which are quite evident in their different aims, organisations and contents of education. In the study of comparative education we have to note these differences in order to understand the underlying elements correctly.