Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Senior Gandhian Scholar, Professor, Editor and Linguist
Gandhi International Study and Research Institute, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229
Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India
Educational Problem and Mahatma Gandhi
The Marwari High School, recently renamed Navabharat Vidyalaya, is celebrating its Silver Jubilee. The management conceived the idea of calling on the occasion a small conference of nationally minded educationists to discuss the plan of education I have been endeavouring to propound in these columns. The Secretary, Shri Shrimannarayan Agrawal, consulted me as to the desirability of converting such a conference, and asked me to preside if I approved of the idea. I liked both the suggestions. So the conference will be held at Wardha on October 22nd and 23rd. Only those will attend who are invited thereto. If there are any educationists who would like to attend and who have not received invitations, they may apply to the Secretary, giving their names and addresses, and such particulars as would enable the management to decide whether they can afford to issue the invitation. Provision is being made only for a limited number who are deeply interested in the problem and can make a useful contribution to the discussion. The conference is not intended to be at all spectacular. There will be no visitors. It will be a purely business meeting. A limited number of Press tickets will be issued.
I advise Pressmen to elect one or two representatives and share the reporting. I approach the task in confidence but in all humility, with an open mind, and with the will to learn and to revise and correct my views, whenever necessary. The propositions I shall submit to the conference for consideration will be, so far as they occur to me at present, as follows:
1. The present system of education does not meet the requirements of the country in any shape or form. English, having been made the medium of instruction in all the higher branches of learning, has created a permanent bar between the highly educated few and the uneducated many. It has prevented knowledge from percolating to the masses. This excessive importance given to English has cast upon the educated class a burden which has maimed them mentally for life and made them strangers in their own land. Absence of vocational training has made the educated class almost unfit for productive work and harmed them physically. Money spent on primary education is a waste of expenditure inasmuch as what little is taught is soon forgotten and has little or no value in terms of the villages or cities. Such advantage as is gained by the existing system of education is not gained by the chief taxpayer, his children getting the least.
2. The course of primary education should be extended at least to seven years and should include the general knowledge gained up to the matriculation standard less English and plus a substantial vocation.
3. For the all-round development of boys and girls all training should so far as possible be given through a profit-yielding vocation. In other words vocations should serve a double purpose to enable the pupil to pay for his tuition through the products of his labour and at the same time to develop the whole man or woman in him or her through the vocation learnt at school. Land, buildings and equipment are not intended to be covered by the proceeds of the pupil’s labour. All the processes of cotton, wool and silk, commencing from gathering, cleaning, ginning (in the case of cotton), carding, spinning, dyeing, sizing, warp-making, double-twisting, designing and weaving, embroidery, tailoring, paper-making, cutting, book binding, cabinet- making, toy-making, gur-making are undoubtedly occupations that can easily be learnt and handled without much capital outlay. This primary education should equip boys and girls to earn their bread, by the State guaranteeing employment in the vocations learnt or by buying their manufactures at prices fixed by the State.
4. Higher education should be left to private enterprise and for meeting national requirements whether in the various industries, technical arts, belles-lettres or fine arts. The State Universities should be purely examining bodies, self-supporting through the fees charged for examinations. Universities will look after the whole of the field of education and will prepare and approve courses of studies in the various departments of education. No private school should be run without the previous sanction of the respective Universities. University charters should be given liberally to anybody of persons of proved worth and integrity, it being always understood that the Universities will not cost the State anything except that it will bear the cost of running a Central Education Department. The foregoing scheme does not absolve the State from running such seminaries as may be required for supplying State needs. It is claimed that if the whole scheme is accepted, it will solve the question of the greatest concern to the State training of its youth, its future makers.
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