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Basic Education (Buniyadi Shiksha)
Basic Education (Buniyadi Shiksha)
The Voice of Truth
Real education has to draw out the best from the boys and girls to be educated. This can never be done by packing ill-assorted and unwanted information into the heads of the pupils. It becomes a dead weight crushing all originality in them and turning them into mere automata.
The suggestion has been often made that in order to make education compulsory, or even available to every boy or girl wishing to receive education, our schools and colleges should become almost, if not wholly, self supporting, not through donations or state aid or fees exacted from students, but through remunerative work done by the students themselves. This can only be done by making industrial training compulsory. Apart from the necessity which is daily being more and more recognized of students having an industrial training side by side with literary training in order to make education directly self-supporting. This can only be done when our students begin to recognize the dignity of labour and when the convention is established of regarding ignorance of manual occupation a mark of disgrace. In America which is the richest country in the world and where therefore perhaps there is the least need for making education self supporting, it is the most usual thing for students to pay their way wholly or partially....
If America has to model her schools and colleges so as to enable students to earn their scholastic expenses, how much more necessary it must be for our schools and colleges? Is it not far better that we find work for poor students than that we pauperize them by providing free studentships? It is impossible to exaggerate the harm we do to India's youth by filling their minds with the false notion that it is ungentlemanly to labour with one's livelihood or schooling. The harm done is both moral & material indeed mush more moral than material. A free scholarship lies and should lie like a load upon a conscientious lad's mind throughout his whole life. No one likes to be reminded in after life that he had to depend upon charity for his education. Contrarily where is the person who will not recall with pride those days if he had the good fortune to have had them when he worked in a carpentry shop or the like for the sake of educating himself - mind, body, & soul?
The aim of the university education should be to turn out true servants of the people who will live and die for the country's freedom. I am therefore of the opinion that the university education should be coordinated and brought into line with basic education.
I would revolutionize college education & relate it to national necessities. There would be degrees for mechanical & other engineers. They would be attached to the different industries which should pay for the training of the graduates they need. Thus the Tatas would be expected to run a college for training engineers under the supervision of the state., the mill associations would run among them a college for training graduates whom they need. Similarly for the other industries that may be named. Commerce will have its college. There remains arts, medicine and agriculture. Several private arts college are today self supporting. The State would therefore cease to run its own. Medical colleges would be attached to certified hospitals. As they are popular among moneyed men they may be expected by voluntarily contributions to support medical colleges. And agricultural colleges to be worthy of the name must be self supporting. I have a painful experience of some agricultural graduates. Their knowledge is superficial. They lack practical experience. But if they had their apprenticeship on farms which are self sustained and answer the requirements of the country, they would not have to gain experience after getting their degrees and at the expense of the employers.
Source: "The selected works of Gandhi", Vol. 6