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Forestry and fundamental education - An experiment in Mysore, India

by JOHN BOWERS, Director of UNESCO Group Training Scheme for Fundamental Education

THIS is an account of an experimental marriage between education and forestry. But let us begin at the beginning of the story. The General Conference of UNESCO at its Seventh Session in 1952 resolved that "in order to meet the acute shortage of specialists... a group training scheme to train future experts in fundamental education be organized in one of UNESCO's Associated Projects."

The term "fundamental education" has been defined by UNESCO as:

"that kind of education which aims to help children and adults who do not have the advantages of formal education, to understand the problems of their immediate environment and their rights and duties as citizens and individuals, and to participate more effectively in the economic and social progress of their community".

It may be well described as the educational arm of social and economic development and is specially concerned with those areas of the world where formal education is not available to all and where a high degree of illiteracy is found, generally in conjunction with widespread poverty and disease - namely the so-called underdeveloped areas.

There has been in the secretariat of UNESCO for the past seven years a division charged to help Member Governments to "extend and improve fundamental education in their territories". Many projects and activities have been studied in every continent and in many countries - some operating under the name of "fundamental education", others under different names, such as "community education", "mass education" and "social education". Experts have been sent to assist them - on an increasing scale since the development of the United Nations Expanded Program of Technical Assistance. Yet this experience has revealed that fundamental education is still in a pioneer stage, that much practical research is needed and that staff must be trained if this new and vital use of educational techniques is to be developed to its full potential.

In agriculture, for example, and in forestry, every country has its long-established research institutes, its experimental farms and plantations, its trained specialists in varied fields, such as soil science or pestology, its training colleges and its university departments. The techniques of growing food and trees have been constantly studied and improved. Yet the techniques of grafting new knowledge and new skill upon the old stocks of ignorance and illiteracy are still in a rudimentary stage.

To meet this situation UNESCO has established, or helped governments to establish, a number of rural Fundamental Education Centers in which practical research, the training of specialist staff and the production of prototype educational materials are co-ordinated in a single program. FAO has co-operated, and continues to co-operate, with UNESCO in a number of these projects. But educational specialists are needed to staff these centers, and the scheme which is the subject of this article was set up, at the invitation of the Government of India and the Government of Mysore State, to train them.

The area chosen for the scheme is a typically underdeveloped area. It is a dry area with an average annual rainfall of about 20 inches (500 millimeters) lying to the northwest of Mysore City. Perhaps because of its climate it is one of the depressed areas in a State which is noted for its progressive development policies. The headquarters of the UNESCO scheme is a 18th century house, known as the "Yelwal Bungalow", 10 miles from Mysore City; and within a 5-mile radius, in an undulating landscape of barren and gravelly soil, lie more than 70 villages. It is an ideal training area, presenting as it does so many of the problems that fundamental education must inevitably face: a high rate of illiteracy; a heavy density of population; land hunger and fragmentation; shortage of grazing land in an area where religious tradition forbids the killing of cattle; erosion and increasing barrenness of the soil; few productive crafts and widespread poverty in the population. Due perhaps to the dryness and coolness of the climate at 2,500-3,000 feet (760-900 meters) above the sea, and the efficiency of the health services, disease is not a serious problem, in spite of a complete absence of sanitation and sewage disposal in the villages. Malaria is controlled and the occasional epidemics of cholera or plague are usually held in check.

This then is the area in which UNESCO is carrying out the resolution of its General Conference "to train future experts in fundamental education."

From December 1953 to July 1954, 17 persons from 10 countries of Europe and Asia went through a practical course of training, and a second course, involving 15 persons from seven countries of Asia and Australasia, is continuing from September 1954 to May 1955.

To quote from the final report on the first course 1

"Probably the most valuable feature of the course was its experimental nature. It was itself an experiment in training. Equally it imparted training by experimental methods... we could and did learn as much from failure as from success... and it is no false humility to add that the staff certainly learnt as much as the students."

But the reader may well enquire at this point: "What has this scheme of educational training to do with forestry?" The answer is: "A great deal"; for this scheme, limited as it was in time and scope, indicated the possibility of a very fertile union between forestry and fundamental education.

1 Final Report on the First Course (GTS/EE/Re. 9): November 1953-July 1954, pp. 29. Mimeographed. Available in limited quantity from the Director, UNESCO Group Training Scheme for Fundamental Education, Yelwal Bungalow, Mysore (India).

Forestry as a subject for educational experiments

In the jargon of fundamental education and community development much is made of the principle of the 'felt need'. The purists of this school of thought state with some justice that people will not take effective action on projects that are thrust upon them by interested outsiders, unless they, the people, appreciate the need for these projects and see clearly that they are going to reap some tangible benefit from the efforts they put into them. This is certainly a sound principle, but it may lead, if it is slavishly followed in conservative and inert communities, to prolonged inaction.

In the Mysore Training Scheme we adopted a flexible attitude to this matter, and conceded to the 'felt need' school that fundamental education and development work in a community should certainly begin, whenever possible, by helping the people to attain the immediate objectives that they consider most important, especially if this enables them to gain confidence and to practise co-operation in helping themselves. On the other hand we considered that it might also be an important function of fundamental education to call attention to the real needs of the community that were not fully appreciated - or perhaps not appreciated at all - by the people.

It was partly to test the validity of this attitude that we turned our attention to forestry.

The Progress Report of February - the third month of the Mysore Training Scheme - contains the following record, under the heading: "Selection of Topics."

"Looking beyond the boundaries of the Government forest plantation which surrounds the bungalow we could see vast stretches of barren hilltops, covered with lantana scrub and dried-up grass. Below them patches of poor gravelly soil and, here and there, scraggy trees, lopped of their branches by the villagers in search of fuel or of fodder for their goats. The problem of deforestation and erosion was obviously a serious one in this area.

We recalled also that, in our visits to Government Departments in Bangalore during December, the Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr. M. A. Muthanna and his staff had taken a genuine interest in our project, had spoken with feeling on the menace of deforestation and had promised us co-operation if we decided to work on this subject.

But our first concern was to find out whether the villagers themselves were aware of the problem and how far they understood the complicated relationship between trees and climate and the fertility of their soil. A number of our group, therefore, discussed this with the villagers and found that some few individuals were concerned about it. Obviously reforestation was not, in the current jargon, a felt need of the area. We recognized that the difficulties of persuading villagers to tackle this problem were enormous, yet it was argued that one of the functions of... fundamental education was to transform 'real needs' into 'felt needs'.

So we paid another visit to the Chief Conservator of Forests, obtained more information on the problems of the Yelwal area and a promise that he and Dr. M. N. Ramaswamy, his Research Officer, would visit the Yelwal Bungalow and discuss these problems with the whole group.

In this way we committed ourselves to the topic of tree-planting as the first target of our experimental educational activities."

Study of the problem in the villages

This procedure was not as systematic as we should have liked. Had we been working in a long-term development project, we should certainly have preferred to have deployed in advance our social sciences team which was studying the application of anthropology and experimental psychology to fundamental education, before taking our decision. We should have liked to have waited for the results of two sample village surveys, in order to discover, for example, why deforestation was taking place, and how rapidly, what were the conflicting claims in the limited land space, how far food growing, grazing and tree planting were in competition, and much other relevant data on the subject. In particular, we should have liked to have set our psychology unit to undertake an 'attitude study' to discover, more systematically than we could by our random questioning, what villagers thought about trees and tree planting, about deforestation and erosion, and the interaction of trees and climate and soil fertility.

In the time at our disposal we could not do this, but as the village surveys of our social sciences team progressed we did gather an increasing wealth of information on the whole subject. We learned, for example, that fifty years ago the whole of our training area had been richly forested, and now timber for houses must generally be bought for three rupees a cart-load at the cost of a six-day visit to a forest area 30 miles away, that the 100 acres (40 hectares) or so of barren hill-top that dominated one of our pilot villages, with its meager covering of stunted bushes and sparse yellow grass and its eroded gulleys, provided grazing ground for 12 surrounding villages and an unknown number of stunted and mostly useless cattle. We learned that a chemical fertilizer factory was buying 1,000 tons of wood fuel a year from the few remaining stands of timber in our area; that a prosperous gentleman in the neighborhood was encouraging the villagers to cut down their remaining trees and sell them to him as middleman fuel merchant.


Planting the seeds. Mixed seeds are sown on the top of the mounds and in the trenches.

Young trees in their first year.

Young trees in their third year in the Forest Department's plantation.

We watched also the wasteful methods of the village carpenter, chopping away with his primitive adze. We compared the fine, straight, carved pillars of the older houses with the miserable, twisted, cracked, unseasoned poles that supported the poorer houses of more recent date. We found that timber for building the better styles of village houses and for cart making once available locally, now had to be imported from forests 30 to 40 miles (48-64 kilometers) away. We found an increasing number of women making dung cakes for burning, as the supply of wood fuel decreased or disappeared. We listened to the complaints of the village potters and their wives that they had to walk miles to fetch the fuel for their ovens.

We watched the small boys with knives bound to long poles lopping the branches of the ficus and neem trees for their voracious goats. We saw many ancient groves of ficus and mango falling into decay. We saw trees being cut down and burnt down, but hardly ever a young tree planted within the past ten years.

Another interesting thing we discovered was that we should not use the word 'forestry', either in our discussions with villagers or with local officials. This term, rightly or wrongly, was associated in their minds with large-scale timber cultivation in national forests, and implied to them the exclusion of all other uses of land from the area. So we banned the word 'forestry' from our vocabulary, and adopted the term 'tree planting and protection' to describe the process which we aimed to encourage through educational activities in our training area.

Technical co-operation with the forestry department

Our social sciences team investigated methods of studying and analyzing the community. (It is a generally accepted principle that a basic survey should precede any important education or development project, in order to provide data for planning and a base line for the subsequent evaluation of progress.) But we found, as, of course, we expected, that such a survey demands the co-operation of specialists in other fields relevant to social and economic development. And since tree-planting had become one of our most immediate interests we naturally turned first to the Forestry Department of Mysore.

The February Progress Report records how we obtained the generous co-operation of the Chief Conservator of Mysore and a promise that he would visit our center.

"In preparation of this visit, and in order to extend our knowledge of this complicated subject, we drafted a questionnaire 2... This was sent to the Chief Conservator of Forests and also to the Forestry Division of FAO, with a request for information on tree-planting in dry areas in other parts of the world. The FAO took an immediate interest in the project and promised some useful documentation". (This was later received from several parts of the world.)

"The visit of the Chief Conservator of Forests and Dr. Ramaswamy was a most stimulating experience for our group. After two hours of discussion based upon the questionnaire we took our visitors out to a typical area of barren land, two miles (3 kilometers) from the bungalow, and obtained further practical advice on how such an area could be dealt with by the local population, if their energy and interest could be aroused."

2 Questions on Reforestation in the Yelwal Area (GTS/FE/QU 4). Mimeographed. pp. 5.

This exercise enabled our group to learn how specialists in fundamental education must draw upon the knowledge of specialists in other technical fields, which are beyond their competence but are nevertheless the essential substance and content of the educational program.

Experimental media

At this stage we were planning to produce some experimental audio-visual materials (films, filmstrips, recordings for radio broadcasts, posters etc.), on our selected topic and the audio-visual team which contained the group's photographers, film makers, graphic artists and radio specialist, was now drawn into the scheme. The Progress Report for March records this development:

"Following the decision taken in February that a village tree-planting campaign should be the focus of our production activities, the audio-visual team, accompanied by a member of the social sciences team, made a trip to Bangalore in the first week of the month to study the subject more deeply and to obtain photographs in color and black and white for filmstrips. The team had further discussions with the Chief Conservator of Forests and his Research Officer, visited the Forestry Research Institute, and spent a large part of the two-day visit taking photographs in the government plantations some ten miles (16 kilometers) outside the city.

Special attention was given to the trench-mound method of tree planting, which makes it possible to grow many species of trees on barren soil with rainfall of 20 inches (500 millimeters) and less. As its name implies, this consists of digging a series of trenches, about 1½ feet (½ meters) deep, 1½ feet across and 12 feet (3.7 meters) long (following the contours of a slope) and piling the earth from trenches into mounds on the down-hill side of the trenches. Mixed tree seeds are sown on the top of the mounds and in the bottoms of the trenches, which serve to catch and hold the rainfall like a sponge, retaining the moisture long enough after the end of the rainy season to enable the young tree seedlings to establish themselves. This method, which is quite unknown to the villagers of the Yelwal area, is cheaper and easier than the old method of planting individual seedlings in separate pits. The team also obtained detailed information on the various species of trees that should be grown and their uses.

As a result of this visit a document was prepared with the title Tree-Planting in Dry Areas". 3

3 Tree-Planting in Dry Areas (GTS/FE/5). Mimeographed. pp. 6.

At this stage, also, the Chief Conservator very generously assigned to our Center as full-time technical advisor, Mr. A. N. Sharman, a field officer of his department.

Film making

It was one of the purposes of our scheme to train a small three-man film unit in making films for villagers. We had strong views about the production of such materials. We had examined a large number of films made in different countries for fundamental education and extension work. We projected some of these to the villagers of our training area, and with co-operation of the psychology department of Mysore University, our psychology unit carried out an evaluation of the villagers' response. 4 The result confirmed our belief that the use of foreign films and films made by city-based units, with scant appreciation of the attitudes, interests and level of comprehension of illiterate adults, have little educational impact on rural audiences. It was our conviction that films for villagers should be made in villages as far as possible with village actors and should be in an idiom that holds the interest of the villagers and is understandable to them, even at some sacrifice of technical quality. Their production is a specialized job, involving the co-operation of film technicians, educators and practical psychologists, with technical specialists in any subject which may be chosen as the topic for a film.

4 Report of Audience Reaction Evaluation Project. (GTS/FE/9). Mimeographed. pp. 14.

It was agreed that our film unit should start work on a 16 millimeter film in color on a dramatic theme intended to arouse the interest of village audiences in the importance of planting and maintaining trees on their lands. It would be left to filmstrips and other media to instruct them in the methods of tree planting and protection.

So this unit went with the forestry advisor to a village 5 miles (8 kilometers) from our bungalow, in which our social sciences team was undertaking a pilot survey. The village had the unpronounceable name of Dadadakallahalli, but it had two advantages, that it had a large area of barren eroded land suitable for reforestation and that the village headman and elders had expressed interest in planting trees.

We hoped to get the villagers to carry out a tree planting campaign and to enact for us the dramatic story which we had built into a script, and on which they had already expressed favorable views. We have no space here to describe the many problems and vicissitudes which attended this experiment - for example, the difficulty of getting villagers, and especially village women, to act naturally before the camera, or the general inertia of the villagers themselves when it comes to putting their good intentions into practice.

One of the worst problems, which inevitably faces any attempt to persuade cultivators to plant trees, arises from the fact that tree planting has to be done during the rainy season when everyone is occupied from dawn till dusk in their millet fields. Suffice it to say that, with constant encouragement, we persuaded the villagers to turn out in full force for one day and to plant 150 seedlings along the approach road to their village, - thereby providing some good crowd scenes for our film. All our efforts of peaceful persuasion, however, failed to induce them to try out the trench-mound method on their waste lands. And then at the crucial point our leading actor left the village on a long journey.

Since by this time our second experimental film was going ahead rapidly, we decided to give up the struggle in Dadadakallahalli and to concentrate the attention of the film unit on the completion of the other, a horticultural film: "A Garden Comes to Life" and here our problems were much less acute. The owner of the garden was a natural film star and the garden did come to life before our eyes - an ideal subject for filming in color.

After six months, therefore, we have to record that our attempt to make a dramatic motivational film on tree planting has not yet succeeded. We shall persevere during the second course, which is now beginning in the Yelwal Bungalow. Nevertheless, as a training exercise the experiment was most valuable, revealing as it did, in contrast to our other film on horticulture, the worst problems of making films for villagers, in villages and with village actors, and the great difficulty of arousing enthusiasm for an unfelt need - the planting of trees.

Filmstrips and exhibition unit

It is widely accepted that, while the motion picture is an excellent medium for arousing interest and enthusiasm, the filmstrip - modern counterpart of the magic lantern slide - is generally a more suitable, and certainly a much cheaper, medium for instructional purposes. Acting on this assumption we completed two filmstrips, one in color and one in black and white, showing the trench-mound method of tree planting in dry areas.

But of all the projects undertaken by our audio-visual team perhaps the most interesting was the construction of an experimental exhibition unit on tree planting.

In this project we used a training technique which proved useful in other aspects of our course. In February, we prepared a first draft manual entitled How to set up an Educational Museum-Exhibition Unit. This recorded, somewhat imaginatively, our plans for the exhibit, which we then tried to put into practice over the next five months.

Our artists worked with tremendous energy, drawing posters and diagrams, constructing various gadgets, and trying out all manner of locally available substances, such as crepe rubber, papier maché, clay, gauze and putty, for constructing models. A local carpenter was employed; and the glass blowers of the Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore helped us to make a sectional working model of a tree, which drew water up from the subsoil through its roots and emitted it as vapor into the air. A glass cloud incorporated in the same model then produced a realistic rainstorm.

We were convinced that, for illiterate audiences, a much increased impact would be achieved if our models and other visual elements could be equipped with sound, so that they had a simultaneous appeal to eye and ear. Our radio specialist therefore worked with a model constructor and together they produced a 'viewing box' with earphones linked to our tape recorder. The effect of this gadget was spectacular. The viewer looked through a small window and saw a brilliantly lit diorama model of a typical landscape with figures of a man cutting a tree and boys lopping branches for goats. Then he passed to another window through which he saw the dire results of the indiscriminate destruction of trees - the same landscape 50 years later - a forbidding semidesert scene, with a few decayed trees, skinny cattle seeking grass in a dried up pond, all illuminated by a lurid sunset sky at the back of the box. And, as the viewer looked, a voice (our tape recorder) spoke softly into his ear in simple Canarese language:

"Fifty years ago your land was rich, green and shady. Trees grew around your village and fields. These trees provided your fathers with fuel and timber, and enriched their soil with humus formed from the falling leaves.

Now you are looking at the same land as it is today. You are chopping down your trees and lopping off the branches to feed your goats. Yet you never replant the trees when you cut them down. So your land gets more barren and your crops yield less each year. You are destroying the trees which bring moisture to the air and protect the land from the heat of the sun and damaging forces of rain and wind. You are depriving your land of the rich humus that comes from their leaves.

Now move to the next window, and you will see what your land will look like if you continue to destroy your trees. Later we will show you how you can prevent this devastation of your land".

We also included in the exhibit three stereo-viewers, showing a series of color slides made by our photographer to illustrate methods of tree planting. The special attraction exerted by this item encouraged us to believe that '3D' photography has a great future for fundamental education.

A series of magnifiers of varied power then introduced the villagers to the strange process of magnification and to the beauties of germinating tree seeds. These were accompanied by diagrams explaining to the viewers what they saw.

The exhibition was finally set up in the central hall of the bungalow for our farewell function on 19 July. The response which it evoked from our visitors, including some five hundred villagers from our training area, was most gratifying to those who had worked long and hard on its construction.

At this stage, we produced a revised second draft of our Manual, 5 and illustrated it with diagrams and photographs of the actual exhibit. Our concern in the next course, if funds can be found for the purpose, is to construct a fully mobile exhibition-unit, which can move from village to village on a specially constructed bullock cart. This will involve further experiments with cheaper and less complicated sound installations. Finally, we plan to produce a third, final, and more authentic, draft of our Manual on Exhibition Units for fundamental education.

5 How to Construct an Educational Museum-Exhibition Unit (GTS/FE/20). Mimeographed. pp. 17.


Our radio-student also took tree planting and protection as his central topic. Programs for six rural broadcasts were prepared. These included a number of talks and an opera composed by Sri K. A. Karanth, the well-known Canarese writer, dramatizing the problem of deforestation in villages.

Our broadcasts were recorded on our own tape recorder and were played in villages, and again to an appreciative audience at our farewell function. Their effect on village audiences will be tested more systematically during the second course.

Radio is not yet developed in our area as a medium of rural education and extension work, but experiment with our own recording equipment gave us training in how this subject could be handled in any area where receivers were effectively installed and maintained to pick up rural broadcasts.

Adult literacy

A team of six persons in our group was specializing in adult literacy work. We started from the conviction that literacy is not an end in itself nor necessarily an essential prerequisite of fundamental education, but that, whenever adult literacy is an accepted policy, it should be efficient and effective. The world is littered with the debris of literacy campaigns which have failed. Large sums are spent in many countries on teaching illiterate adults by out-of-date and academic methods to the point where they can read a set passage and gain a literacy certificate, but not to the stage of what is sometimes called 'functional literacy'. So it was the purpose of our scheme to train a group of future specialists in rational and up-to-date methods of teaching adults to read and write, in training teachers and in setting up classes. This involved them in the production of a whole series of new primers and teaching materials in the Canarese language, and the testing of these materials in three experimental classes. It was always our view that literacy teaching should be integrated with other aspects of fundamental education and community development, so we brought forestry into our production program.

Two important principles, among many others, guided the production of our teaching primers:

1. they should be attractive and interesting to adults;

2. they should not try to teach new ideas or complicated subjects at the same time as they taught the basic skill of reading and writing.

We did not attempt, therefore, to teach tree planting. The story, written for our primers by Sri K. S. Karanth, and the illustrations done for us by a famous Indian artist, Sri K. K. Hebbar, had a religious motive which is always attractive to Indian villagers, but through it all ran the idea that a land without trees is a poor land. Indeed at the climax of the story a mendicant Yogi gives a handful of seeds to the headman of the poor village, with the words:

"This is the blessing, go and plant these";

and as he leaves the barren village he promises:

"After the trees have grown and the shade has come, I will come back".

And so ten years later at the end of the second book, the Yogi returns to find the once barren village pleasantly shaded with trees, and the fields and gardens fertile and well tilled.

Later in our second course we may turn to the production of so-called follow-up reading materials in simple language on the relationship of trees to climate and soil fertility, or the trench-mound method of planting.

Training of field workers

Since it may often be a function of the fundamental education specialist to train field workers and teachers and to produce simple manuals for their guidance, we made a study of this activity and, as part of our study, produced a draft manual, Tree Planting in Dry Areas, 6 for village-level workers (the Indian term).

6 Manual for Village-level Workers in Fundamental Education: Tree Planting in Dry Areas (GTS/FE/18). Mimeographed. pp. 14.

This draft was submitted to FAO and is already being revised with a view to laying more emphasis on the difficulty and importance of protecting young trees from grazing goats and cattle. Its purpose is to suggest in very simple language how the village teacher or extension worker can set about persuading villagers to plant and protect trees. In imaginary dialogues it raises the objections that villagers will raise, and the answers that can be given to them. It incorporates in practical terms the advice given to us by the Forestry Division. It describes how trees may be planted on waste lands by the trench-mound method without excluding the grazing of cattle. It indicates what species can be planted on cultivation boundaries and how they can be used by composing to enrich the soil. It indicates in simple terms the vital influence of trees on climate-and water supply, and gives a list of species suitable for the area with notes on their uses, and the right way to plant them.

Like all our materials it is the product of a training scheme and not, therefore, to be measured by the standards of production applicable to an established fundamental education center. Nevertheless, we think that, with some further revision, it may have the makings of a useful booklet for field workers in this area.


Perhaps the experimental marriage which was arranged between fundamental education and forestry cannot yet be acclaimed an established success in that we have not yet achieved - or attempted - a widespread tree-planting campaign or made a noticeable impact on the age-old conservatism and inertia of the villagers. But in two respects we feel that it has been of intense value: first as a training exercise, and secondly as a pilot experiment.

Let us briefly consider these two aspects of the scheme.

Sixteen young people from ten countries of Europe and Asia have benefited from this experiment. All of them are potential experts in fundamental education; four of them have already taken up responsible junior positions in UNESCO's fundamental education projects and centers in Cambodia, Thailand and Bolivia. One has returned to work in the Burmese Mass Education Movement; six more are being absorbed into education and development work in India.

They have learnt much of the very complex relationship between trees, climate and the fertility of the soil. They have become aware of the menace of deforestation and erosion. They have learnt in some detail how they, as specialists in the production of educational books, broadcasts, films and other visual aids, or as literacy workers, social scientists and psychologists, can work with specialists in other technical fields to produce educational materials on different subjects. Above all they have learnt, by an intensive, if inconclusive, experiment, how fundamental education can and should be integrated into a wider rural program, not as an end in itself, but as the educational arm of community development. They have learnt how their services as specialists in fundamental education could be devoted to a long-term program of enlightened forest policy in areas where large-scale, commercial or national forestry is not an economic proposition.

It is, however, as a pilot experiment that our scheme may perhaps be of most interest to FAO and to readers of this review.

Our scheme was a short-term project for training specialists in educational techniques, but in the nine months of our first course, we were able to get a fair idea of how a more permanent fundamental education center could carry out the three functions of research into educational methods, the production of educational materials and the training of specialists and extension workers to use them, and of how these services could be placed at the disposal of a rural development program - involving also a forest policy to encourage people to plant and protect trees.

In areas where ignorance and economic pressure have caused the indiscriminate destruction of trees, a forest policy must win popular support if it is to lead to widespread and effective action. We believe that this demands intensive fundamental education, bringing to bear systematically all available media of mass communication and propaganda. On the basis of our pilot experiment we think that a fundamental education center could produce these materials in the course of one year, with advice from an imaginative forestry specialist. They should be produced for a single climatic and cultural region. But this is not to say that they might not be exported to other areas and other countries and there adapted and used with good effect. We still believe, however, that imported materials are a poor substitute for materials custom-tailored to the local needs.

We suggest that a fundamental education center should undertake the production of such materials involving also, as it must, testing, and the evaluation of audience response and comprehension, as part of the production process. (Consumer research is just as important in selling ideas as in selling shoes or saucepans or cigarettes.) We constantly stressed in our course that the educator must not exceed his competence and pretend to be an agriculturalist or a forestry expert. Equally, we felt, the agriculturalist or forester should not pretend to be an education specialist. The production of posters or educational filmstrips or books and pamphlets for newly literate adults, is just as technical a job as making trees grow on desert land. It should be done by centers properly staffed and equipped for the purpose, not by small propaganda units operating independently in the various technical departments of government.

Estimated cost of production equipment for a regional tree-campaign in India




One poster (double color 1,000 copies)



One motivational film (2 copies 20 minutes black and white with commentary)



Three filmstrips (50 copies)



Six radio broadcasts (assuming an existing transmission and reception network)



A mobile exhibition unit 1 with audio -visual equipment

5,000/- to 15,000/-

1,060.00 to 3,180.00

6 books, pamphlets, and cartoon strip-books for literate adults (250 copies each)



One training manual for teachers and extension workers (50 copies)




Rs. 11,500


1 This can be built on to a cinema projection van at considerably less cost.

So, assuming a center set up with competent staff and production equipment, let us consider the cost of production for a regional tree-planting campaign on the basis of our experiments in India.

All this assumes that there are in the area teachers, leaders, and other agents of fundamental education, as well as forest officers and extension workers, at the village level, some of them equipped with projectors, who are able, or can quickly be trained, to use these materials. This training would itself be a proper function for a fundamental education center.

It is not, of course, essential that all these instruments of fundamental education should be brought to bear on any single campaign, but, even supposing the highest intensity of propaganda effort, and production costs of Rs. 15,000/- ($3,180.00), would not such a project be justified in comparison with the cost of cumulative devastation caused by deforestation, erosion and loss of fertility of soil?

In the small experiment in Mysore we have tried to integrate forestry and fundamental education. If a forestry expert could be introduced into one of UNESCO's established Fundamental Education Centers, a more permanent union might be brought about to show the world what can be done by such a partnership to check the destruction of its vital natural resources. 7

7 See also "Forestry for All", Unasylva, Vol. VIII. No. 2, 1954.

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