Mahatma Gandhi is the father of the modern India. According to him Truth is God and God is Truth. His life was an experiment with truth and he had strong faith in peace, truth and non-violence. Basic education was his brainchild and its principles were based on his philosophy of life. He was born on 2nd October, 1869 at Porebandar, Kathiabad, Gujurat and breathed his last on 30th January, 1948.
Principles and Objective of Gandhian Education
Although Gandhiji was never a teacher nor he established any school, he is regarded as one of the greatest teachers of mankind. His thoughts on education are quite relevant to the life, needs and aspirations of the society.
According to him, education means "an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit". He viewed education as a means of promoting truth and non-violence.
Gandhiji laid stress on economic activities in education. Self- efficiency was the acid test of success of his educational system. He was therefore in favour of introducing crafts as a source of income and as a means of vocational training.
Gandhiji aimed at education as an agency of character development. Spiritual development was an important aim of his education. Self-realization was the main objective of Gandhian education. Gandhi viewed well of the state as a means of well- being of individuals. He wanted that every school should be a community centre where all facilities are to be made available for development of the society as well as of all individuals.
Content and Methods of His Education
Gandhiji aimed at the development of the all-round Personality of children. That is, he sought to develop physical,mental, social and spiritual powers of the child through education. He also emphasized the education of 3H's - head, heart and hand in addition to 3R's. Thus, he insisted on the development of their mental, emotional and manual powers along with knowledge in arithmetic, writing and reading.
The contents of Gandhian education were as follows:
(i) A craft suiting to the local needs and conditions, (ii) Mother tongue, (iii) Arithmetic, (iv) Social studies, (v) General Science, (vi) Art work, (vii) Music, (viii) Domestic Science for Girls in place of General Science. All subjects were taught through a basic craft. Mother tongue occupied and important place as a subject of study and as the medium of instruction.
Gandhiji's method of teaching had some peculiar features. He did not like the traditional passive and verbal methods of teaching. He introduced craft as the centre of teaching-learning process and laid stress on close relation between the teacher and the taught. The methods of teaching were mostly activity centred and dynamic in nature. Mahatma Gandhi took craft as a means of production and as a source of recreation as well as character-building. He emphasized the principles of cooperative activity, planning, accuracy, initiative and individual responsibility in learning.
Gandhiji's Craft-centred education has a great similarity with the modern concept of work experience of Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW). Universalization of elementary education and development of all-round personality of the child were the main objectives of the Gandhian Education.
Gandhiji was dreaming to set up Ramarajya a nonviolent and democratic social according to his own values and vision of life. Gandhiji's land of dreams was a Sarvodaya Samaj based on social justice, peace and nonviolence. Gandhi believed in the essential nature of goodness in man and learning by doing. He hoped that through his desired education the Ramarajya, the land of his dream can be established not only in this country, but also in the whole world.