Monday, July 15, 2024

Need for Comprehensive Education

Education is a process of uplifting a person from the stage of a ‘social animal’ to that of an enlightened human being. It is four dimensional. 1) Physical Education, 2) Education of the Mind, 3) Education of the Heart and 4) Education of the Spirit.

1. Physical Education: In ancient Gurukuls students used to work and study irrespective of their social status. Now our children wear uniforms and study without doing any work. Working in Gurukul made them feel one but wearing uniform did not make our children forget their status. In fact wearing their own clothes makes them understand the reality of the differences that exist in the world. Thereby they will be prepared to face it soon after leaving the school or college. Police and Military wear uniforms but never forget their ranks. So thinking that uniforms will bring in equality among students is a myth. Only working or playing together brings in oneness among a set of people.

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Physical work, play and exercise go a long way in maintaining the health of a person. A more important benefit of playing is developing the ability to move with others. This quality of adjusting with others is missing today due to lack of siblings at home and not having play grounds in schools. Children often commit mistakes. One does wrong things for one’s benefit. That is to say selfishness leads to wrong doing. Then parents who ignore the mistakes of their children and the teachers who are not allowed to punish the wrong doing children are creating selfish people who do not think of others, not even of their parents. Parents who praise or support every act of the child and teachers who award more marks than the student deserves are abetting the creation of a false ego and irresponsible wild behaviour of the youngsters. Suicides, Divorces, Old Age Homes are the consequences of the developed ego and maladjustment. The point to note is that the origin of this maladjustment is in not playing enough in childhood. A point to add is that present toys like guns and computer games are developing cruelty, killing the natural soft nature of children.

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2.  Education of the Mind:  Man is born with a certain level of intelligence which can be sharpened with education and dulled with narcotics. But the irony is the education system we have is nullifying creativity and originality and develops only memory and leaves a furrowed mind that can move only in a beaten track. Ancient Gurus made students memorise sastras and when they grew up and started interaction with their society they applied the theory learnt and got practical knowledge of men and matters. This is use of Deductive Logic in education. We were made to abandon our system of education based on this logic and were made to adopt the Western education system based on Inductive Logic in which students are made to observe a fact several times and after several such observations make a theory about it. That is to say it develops a questioning mind which is the root of science. The Indian system with Deductive Logic does not tax the mind of the child whose thinking power is yet to blossom and makes him accept what elders say, honour traditions and customs. Obviously Deductive Logic based education makes one understand things and also inherit one’s culture. But the Inductive logic which develops questioning mind makes an informed person without imbibing of culture. Consequently we may develop informed monsters. This education system introduced in India by the British is the major reason why we became aliens to our own culture. This is greater harm to Indians than looting wealth, destroying thousands of temples, burning thousands of ancient scripts and killing lakhs of people in the name of religion. No one seems to have realized this tragedy. Well or ill, we can’t turn the clock back but can make our students efficient as well as cultured if only we sincerely try. The New Education Policy 2020 is only a step to divert our children from rote learning and make our degrees acceptable in western countries. A lot of such steps are to be contemplated and implemented to set right the education of the mind.

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3.  Education of the Heart: Scientists proved that like human beings; animals, plants and even so called inanimate objects respond to stimulus. In other words all these have feelings to some degree. But we have some people who sell even lifesaving drugs in black market and doctors and hospitals who continue to treat dead bodies for extracting more money. Humaneness, the fundamental ingredient of a human being, is missing in many along with some other qualities like kindness, sympathy etc. Why and how does this happen? Once again the upbringing of a child, in which education has a major role, is responsible for this situation. We concentrate on learning sciences which help improve our mind in a particular way and totally neglect the dimension of developing hearts. Heart is the seat of things like kindness, ability to enjoy etc. Today, highly placed persons are living in greater stress, tension and boredom. The reason is not developing the ability to enjoy things and not creating time even to think of happiness.

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Remedy for this miserable life is in Fine Arts. Any of the Fine arts like literature, music, dance, sculpture, painting are things that satisfy your emotional urge to be happy. Reading a story or watching a movie moves your heart and leaves you in happiness. Earlier, education gave not only professional competence but also scope to study some of the fine arts, at the least, literature as a part of the curriculum. As we did not realize the value of this and avoided it, we did not learn the art of enjoyment. This left our lives dry in spite of prosperity. So it is imperative that education should have at least one fine art which makes our heart soft and kind and we become eligible to be called humans.

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4.  Education of the Spirit:  Education is developing the ability to think. This ability makes us distinguish good from bad and leads us to becoming and being good. This is not happening today as education ceased to develop the ability to think. Consequently goodness has become out of bounds for education. This malady is a result of several factors like lessening of faith in religion due to domination of science, ineffective spiritual leaders of whom many are frauds, silence of the intellectuals who mind their own business without thinking of their responsibility towards society, removing study of model men from the syllabuses of children, not having ‘Moral classes’, ‘Citizenship Training’ classes (which, earlier, we had in schools), avoiding study of books about epics and culture which we were made to read in ‘Library class’, abolishing ‘General Education’, a subject even at degree level. Reasons for all these are very well known to many. Vested interests subverted our history and in the name of secularism (though they do not know the real meaning of it) are enslaving our minds to make us adopt alien cultures ill-suited to Indian way of life. Still nobody wants to raise his voice against these harmful practices. We have become cowards who dare not speak the truth against the dictates of powerful invaders and politicians. Without any of the benevolent things mentioned above our schools and colleges are turning out informed robots which have no sense of right and wrong though they perform brilliantly. Knowing about good and following it truthfully makes one gain control over the six enemies of man (Desire, Anger, Miserliness, Pride, Improper Sexual urges and Jealousy) and get nearer to Perfection or Salvation. Education that contributes to spiritual strength is an absolute necessity for any society that wants to rise above barbaric life. In fact the real meaning of education (Vidya) is imparting spiritual education and all else is considered non-education (aviidya). Eating, sleeping and procreating are the activities of all living beings. Only thinking and spiritual advancement make human life valuable and make one nearer to God.

When can we think of having such comprehensive education which develops all the four dimensions of man into an accomplished personality?  Not to me but our efforts only will tell us that.

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Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.
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