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Basic Education
This education is meant to transform village children into model villagers. It is principally designed for them. The inspiration for it has come from the villages… Basic education links the children, whether of the cities or the villages, to all that is best and lasting in India. It develops both the body and the mind, and keeps the child rooted to the soil with a glorious vision of the future in the realization of which he or she begins to take his or her share form the very commencement of his or her career in school.
Constructive Programme, pp. 15-16

The object of Basic Education is the physical, intellectual and moral development of the children through the medium of a handicraft. But I hold that nay scheme which is sound from the educative point of view and is efficiently managed is bound to be sound economically. For instance, we can teach our children to make clay toys that are to be destroyed afterwards. That too will develop their intellect. But it will neglect a very important moral principle, viz. that human labour and material should never be used in a wasteful or unproductive way. The emphasis laid on the principle of spending every minute of one’s life usefully is the best education for citizenship and incidentally makes Basic Education self-sufficient.
Harijan, 6-4-‘40

Let us now glance at the fundamentals of Basic Education:
  1. All education to be true must be self-supporting, that is to say, in the end it will pay its expenses excepting the capital which will remain intact.
  2. In it the cunning of the hand will be utilized even up to the final stage, that is to say, hands of the pupils will be skillfully working at some industry for some period during the day.
  3. All education must be imparted through the medium of the provincial language.
  4. In this there is no room for giving sectional religious training. Fundamental universal ethics will have full scope.
  5. This education, whether it is confined to children or adults, male or female, will find its way to the homes of the pupils.
  6. Since millions of students receiving this education will consider themselves as of the whole of India, they must learn an inter-provincial language. This common inter-provincial speech can only be Hindustani written in Nagari or Urdu script. Therefore, pupils have to master both the scripts.
Harijan, 2-11-‘47

The Introduction of manual training will serve a double purpose in a poor country like ours. It will pay for the educations of our children and teach them an occupation on which they can fall back in after-life, if they choose, for earning a living. Such a system must make our children self-reliant. Nothing will demoralize the nation so much as that we should learn to despise labour.
Young India, 1-9-‘21