In this issue we explore the model of education proposed by Mahatma Gandhi — that of the unity of the head, heart and hand. Does this idea continue to hold relevance today? Can Gandhi’s ideas offer us a different vision of education? While some of the essays argue that it is not impossible to recover those ideals, others stress that these ideals have to be recovered if we have to combat the divisiveness in our society.
The “unfinished business” of Basic Education
Gandhi’s ideas on Basic Education that remained “unfinished business” due to the political turmoil of those times is the need of the here and now , if educationists have to realize a system where all have an equal chance to learn, work and play.
The best gift
B Ramdas and Rama Sastry
There is a renewed interest and new followers to Gandhi’s idea of basic education today. Gandhi himself said that this was his best and last gift to the nation. It may have seemed revolutionary during his time, but he was only providing a framework that could be adapted according to the situation and the times. The school space needs to be used to break down barriers that are threatening our social fabric, and his ideas are a good way to begin with.
Bold and holistic: Mahatma’s education
Pawan Kumar Gupta
Buniyadi Shiksha was Gandhi’s attempt to give prime importance to local crafts and weave in the learning of different subjects. While learning a craft many things get integrated naturally, subjects as well as values. According to the author Gandhi cannot be understood in a fragmented manner. To understand his thoughts on education, one would have to understand his beliefs on religion, politics, economics and swaraj also.
The foreign medium: English and other non-mother tongues in India
A Giridhar Rao
In this article, the author makes a case for learning English only as an additive language and not at the expense of other languages. It should only remain a part of the country’s multilingual ecology.
Gandhi as my double
Is Gandhi relevant today? Relevance is not the issue here at all, it is how Gandhi pushes one to be relevant in today’s world. He may not take up much space in the school text books but he continues to haunt us — in the way he teaches us, in the way he constantly reinvented himself. Remember to read up this author’s interesting dialogue with Gandhi.
A work-able way to learning
Anand Niketan in Sewagram is an excellent example of Gandhi’s ideas of education being practiced with sincerity and successfully. The principles of nai talim have been implemented to the extent possible and the teachers have found it workable and effective too. Take a glimpse into this school’s activities.
Nai talim: whither the question of relevance?
The current times that we live in require an education that is transformative, one that sees beyond the curriculum, prescriptive text books, class sizes etc. We need an education that is capable of building a relationship between the learner and the teacher. This can happen only if we begin to draw deeply from the vision that Gandhi presented to the nation.
The ideal of citizenship
In this article the author focuses on the ideal of citizenship in the Wardha scheme of education. This scheme is drawn from the text that finds a place in the Report of the Zakir Hussain Committee. The five-fold ideal of the society and citizenship is powerful and clear and can become the basis for aims and ideals of education in any democratic society.
The turn of the takli and the charm of the charkha
The humble takli sings a song that says, ‘you are one, and spin but one yarn, one weak link. Together there is great strength! Do your bit, spin your yarn, and offer it to the common pool…. and see what can happen.’ The takli sings a song of hope and possibility. Can the humble takli energise people and bring consciousness of the community into their lives?