Contribution from Paulachan Vellarackal

Dear friends and colleagues

In March 2016, with the help of a travel allowance awarded by Nayi DISHAA I was able to attend the CIES conference and present my paper “Understanding the Gandhian Vision of Education in the Indian Context”. I take this opportunity to thank the committee for their support and encouragement, as well as update the community of scholars and practitioners associated with SA-SIG and Nayi DISHAA about my research.

In my study I employ the Gandhian ideology to evaluate the present Indian Education. The current education system in India emphasizes on 3Rs, i.e., Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. However, Gandhian education system which is known as Nai Talim, emphasized on the three Hs—Head, Heart and Hand, which helps a student to develop his/her personality in an integral way, through a balanced and integrated growth of the head (intellect), the heart (character) and the hand (manual skills).

Based on my comprehensive investigation of the Gandhi’s education ideology and the impact its incorporation is likely to have, the study offers the following policy considerations for  improving the present education system in India::

  1. The Panchayat Samitis and local bodiesalong with the teachers must decide the objectives, curriculum and syllabus. However, it must be according to age, developmental norms, and gender
  2. The curriculum materialsand activities must be indigenous, inexpensive using common objects of ordinary Indian life and people
  3. The textbooksmust be written by renowned teachers themselves from the child’s viewpoint both at the level of concepts and language
  4. Practical and theoretical trainingshould be given to teachers, based on the needs of the villages, and within the villages
  5. The latest instructional technologies must be utilized for imparting training

To improve the present student examinations system the study offers a list of competencies that can be tested to ascertain holistic development of students. They are: (i). capacity to appreciate true art, (ii)  responsible citizenship, (iii)  self-reliance, (iv) clean and healthy living, (v)   self-sufficiency, (vi) sufficient mastery over tool subject, and (vii) acquaintance with fundamental scientific, mathematical and mechanical principles.

Further, this exploratory study suggests that education at all levels should be imparted through socially useful and productive activities, linked with economic growth and development in both rural and urban areas. Curriculum of religious instructions should include a study of the tenets of faith other than one’s own. For the all-round development of students all training should as far as possible be given through a profit-yielding vocation.

The study concludes with the conviction that Gandhian model of education is one of the powerful ways to uphold to build sustainable, productive and self-reliant communities.

Once again, thanking you for your whole hearted co-operation

Paulachan Vellarackal