Literary education should follow the education of the hand - the one gift that visibly distinguishes man from beast. It is a superstition to think that the fullest development of the man is impossible without a knowledge of the art of reading & writing. That knowledge undoubtedly adds grace to life, but it is in no way indispensable for man's moral, physical or material growth.
Man is neither mere intellect, nor the gross animal body, nor the heart or soul alone. A proper & harmonious combination of all the three is required for the making of the whole man & constitutes the true economics of education.....
I hold that true education of the intellect can only come through a proper exercise & training of the bodily organs, eg. hands, feet, eyes, ears, nose, etc. In other words an intelligent use of the bodily organs in a child provides the best & the quickest way of developing his intellect. But unless the development of the mind and the body goes hand in hand with the corresponding awakening of the soul the former alone would prove to be poor lop-sided affair. By spiritual training I mean education of the heart. A proper and all round development of the mind, therefore can take place only when it proceeds pari passu with the education of the physical and spiritual faculties of the child. They constitute an indivisible whole. According to this theory, therefore it would be a gross fallacy to suppose that they can be developed piecemeal or independently of one another.
By education I mean an all round drawing out of the best in child and man - body, mind & spirit. Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning. It is only one of the means whereby man and women can be educated. I would therefore begin the child's education by teaching it is useful handicraft and enabling to produce from the moment it begins its training. Thus every school can be made self supporting the condition being that the state takes over the manufacturers of these schools.
I hold that the highest development of the mind and the soul is possible under such a system of education. Only every handicraft has to be taught not merely mechanically as is done today but scientifically, i. e, the child should know the why and the wherefore of every process. I am not writing this without some confidence because it has the backing experience. This method is being adopted more or less completely wherever spinning is being taught to workers. I have myself taught sandal making and even spinning on these lines with good results. This method does not execute a knowledge of history and geography. But I find that this is best taught by transmitting such general information by the word of mouth. One imparts ten times as much in the manner as by reading and writing. The signs of the alphabet may be taught later when the pupil has learnt to distinguish wheat from the chaff and when he has somewhat developed his or her tastes. This is a revolutionary proposal, but it saves immense labour and enables a student to acquire in one year what he may tale much longer to learn. This means all round economy. Of course the pupil learns mathematics whilst he is learning his handicraft.