Post Mortem

Need of gandhian holistic view on education

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/2/2020 12:22:12 PM IST

 On 2nd October the entire world has celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 151st Birth anniversary. Real celebration would be achieved only by implementing the Gandhian values in our day to day life. Education remains instrumental in this execution and transformation of the society. 

“By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-   body, mind and spirit”-M.K.Gandhi.

It is truly said that all our problems are ultimately educational. Defects in the system of education are responsible for all our problems and only true education can set right all our defects. 

In 20th century Gandhi emerged as a most prominent personality. He had an extra mile outlook on education and life. In all the arenas of a human life Gandhi diverged with a vision of humanity and spirituality. For more than five decades he continuously wrote and stood firmly for the Holistic values of education. Unlike an armchair thinker Gandhi put great theories in to practice and even developed his own firm convictions about education. Gandhian educational values were purely based on the supreme value of “Truth”. In all walks of his life truth occupied a prominent role and he had given paramount significance to it. For Gandhi, truth is the supreme principle along with numerous other principles. Gandhi was a great believer of ancient Indian education system. He himself was proud about the way he had received education in his childhood. He also believed in the ancient principle of education “Sa VidyaYaVimktaye” or education is that which liberates. So, for his educational philosophy Self-Realization remained the corner stone principle. 

“The field of education which holds the seeds of the future of children of the soil requires absolute sincerity, fearlessness, the pursuit of truth and boldest experiments provided always that they are sound and based upon deep thought, matured and sanctified by a life of consecration.”

Gandhi always opted for alternative educational program which was very much people oriented and rejected those developments that dehumanize and degrade people’s lives such as biased industrialization. According to him education not only shapes generation, but replicates a society’s essential assumptions about itself and the individuals which construct it.  For this he innovated and developed a system for the complete reformation which is unique in nature and at the same time for the wellbeing of the entire humanity, which is called ‘Sarvodaya’ meaning comprehensive progress. His views declared that there is no teacher better than parents. 

Gandhi’s thorough research, introduced the ideas of education through productive work that is vocational education. He strongly believed that education cannot remain aloof from the powerful social and economic forces which are changing the social economic pattern of our society. Hence, he designed an education for all round development even in the field of science and technology for improving the economic life of people and therein eradicating poverty from the country. 

Gandhi’s development in education emphasized and focused on spiritual and moral development and character formation. He felt that when children are engaged in handy-crafts they enjoy the process of learning and a sense of creativity is developed in them. The thirst for knowledge should not be based only by mere bookish knowledge. It should also include vocational training to develop skills in children for employment.  So, he designed craft education in schools where students can earn from their craft products which would help them to become self -sufficient and thereby enhance the social-economic conditions of life. Apart from craft education importance in the field of technical education and training for various occupations was given due significance which would facilitate in self-discovery and self- discipline of an individual. 

Gandhi put forward his dream education method through his self-supporting education. By adding craft education along with conventional educational syllabus, he had given new dimension to the education of his time. He has explained the Basic education as the physical, intellectual and moral growth of the children through the medium of handicraft. He even tried his idea to link it with the educational ideas of other western educational thinkers-such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Dewey, Maria Montessori- of his time as learning by doing, an education as self-supporting in its nature. By self-supporting schools, Gandhi visualized a school with teaching learning process with an evaluation method to analyze its self-sustainability to a great extent. He has pointed out that when children admitted to school, they should be provided with craft tools as an important study material as text books. Gandhi insisted that for education big infrastructure is not required, rather dedicated teachers with good morals are required.  He visualized that Vocational training will enable children to repay the expenses incurred for their education and it will train them for their future life.

Gandhi emphasized that the present community has to reach a level of self-sufficiency. He has promoted the idea of ‘earn while learning’. The present education system should support his vision by introducing a balanced education system which ensures not holistic values for the communities but also the holistic growth.  This is possible in present education, if it focuses on plain living and high thinking philosophy. Since, the present educational institutions have moved away from the purpose of education to profit making policy, which increased the cost of education, which was available freely in earlier period, but now non reachable to economically deprived sections of the community. The Gandhian idea of educational policy was to make education reachable even to the communities consider to be unreachable.  The present educational institutions must promote exchange programs for students and faculty with utmost priority. The variation in the acquisition of skills happens, when the institutes derails from their primary focus on imparting required skills that demands the society in which they live. As an after-effect, only 3% learners of India are converted to skilled personals compared with 97% Germany.  He also supports to introduce self-supporting schools and self-supporting education which becomes essential in the present educational era.

M.S.Patel says, the real greatness of Gandhiji is an educational philosopher consists in the fact that dominant tendencies of naturalism, idealism and pragmatism are not separate and independent in his philosophy, but they fuse into a unity.” 

Thus, the goal of Gandhian education covers a wide spectrum of values that relates to the total development of both individual and society.

Fr. Dr. P.S.Varghese


MGM College 


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