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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

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Improved health would provide the physiological basis for a new
advance: education is needed to provide the mental basis. The
tropics are as backward in education as in health. Over most of
Africa, not 10 per cent, of the children ever go to any school; and
not 10 per cent, of the schools are anything but the most primitive
sub-elementary bush-schools, confining themselves to hymn-singing,
the catechism, and the rudiments of the three R's. When the so-
called primitive is given his chance, he can learn as well as anyone
else. He can acquire mechanical skill, as exemplified in the work-
shops of the Belgian Congo; intellectual skill, as is to be seen in the
Gold Coast; military proficiency, as has been demonstrated in Ethi-
opia during this war by the black troops from Nigeria and East Africa.
For the realization of the people's latent abilities, home background
and some general culture are needed as well as schools. But, given
two or three generations of good education and of outlets for those
who have been educated, the tropics would be as radically transformed
in mind and capabilities as they would be in body and energies by
proper health and diet. Tropical backwardness, economic, political^
physical, and mental, is not an inescapable and permanent fact of
nature; it is a temporary phenomenon which can be remedied if we
are willing to make the necessary effort.
What measures should be taken to lift the tropical countries and
their inhabitants out of this slough of backwardness? It is clear that
the task is too large, too complex, and too long-term to be left wholly
or even mainly to the free play of private initiative.
The British Government has, during the war, passed the Colonial
Development and Welfare Act. This has not only increased five-fold
the amounts available from central funds for colonial development,
but has made social and educational improvements eligible for grants
as well as purely commercial projects.
This is an important step, but it is not enough. Aid for colonial
development must be on a much grander scale, and it must be in
large measure international. The first prerequisite is an exhaustive
survey of resources and needs, backed by adequate pure research.
Anthropology, water-power, mineral and forest resources, soils, ero-
sion, agricultural products, transport and marketing needs, home
economics, health, population trends, the prospects of export and
home industries—all need to be surveyed in a much more com-
prehensive way than has yet been done. Lord Hailey's African
Survey has itself stressed the need for the expansion and co-ordination
of research,
Next comes the financing of development.   This can be done in