Essay on the Aims of education in democratic India

We are now in a position to make a statement on the educational aims in modern democratic India in the context of our national system of education. A national system of education is always inspired by the social, political and economic conditions prevailing in the country. It implies mobility of students and teachers. It also implies the quality of education based on national heritage and national values. Aims of education must be in conformity with cherished national goals.

The first-ever statement on aims of education for democratic India was made by the Secondary Education Commission in its Report published in 1953. The Commission stated that education which is national in character must develop in its citizens' habits, attitudes and qualities of character and equip them to bear the burden of life in the changing economic structure.

1. Development of Democratic Citizenship.

It is a challenging responsibility with education to carefully train every citizen for democratic citizenship. Such training involves development of multi-sided qualities.

(a) Capacity for clear thinking.

A democratic citizen should have the understanding and the intellectual integrity to distinguish truth from falsehood and facts from propaganda. Education should train the young scholar to reject fanaticism and prejudices.

Highlights

1. Educational aim in modern democratic India must be in the context of our national system of education.

2. The Secondary Education Commission made the first ever statement of educational aims for democratic India:

(i) Development of democratic citizenship.

(ii) Improvement of vocational efficiency.

(iii) Development of personality.

(iv) Education for leadership.

3. Aims stated by I.E.C.

(i) Increasing productivity.

(ii) Social and national integration.

(iii) Accelerating the process of modernisation.

(iv) Developing social, moral and spiritual values.

4. Evaluation:

(i) Work experience a convincing case.

(ii) Teaching of science rightly emphasised.

(iii) Timely emphasis on vocationalisation.

(iv) Emphasis on moral and spiritual values.

(b)Receptivity to new ideas. Education must aim at broadening the intellectual horizon of young scholars. It must enable them to accept the inflow of new ideas that can help in strengthening democratic forces.

(c) Clearness in speech as well as in wilting. Education must develop the quality of clearness in speech as well as in writing. This quality is essential for successful living in democracy which is based not on force but on free discussion and persuasion.

(d) True Patriotism. Education in a democracy must foster the development of a sense of true patriotism. True patriotism involves three things:

(i) A sense of appreciation of the social and cultural achievements of one's country.

(ii) A readiness to recognise its weaknesses frankly and to work hard to overcome them.

(iii) An earnest desire to serve one's country to the best of one's ability by subordinating individual interests to broader national interests.

2. Improvement of Vocational Efficiency.

Education must aim at increasing the productive or vocational efficiency of young students. In order to achieve this aim, there should be much greater emphasis on crafts and productive work. Diversification of courses should be introduced at the secondary stage so that a large number of students may take up agricultural, technical, commercial or other practical courses which will train their varied aptitudes. This will also enable them to take up vocational pursuits at the end of the secondary schools course.

3. Development of Personality.

Education should develop literary, artistic and cultural interests of the students. These are necessary for self-expression and for the full development of human personality. For this purpose subjects like art, craft, music, dancing etc. should be included in the scheme of studies.

4. Education for Leadership.

In order to make democracy function successfully, it is essential to inculcate the qualities of leadership in our youth. Education should train the youth to provide leadership in the social, political, industrial and cultural fields.

Kothari Education Commission and Educational Objectives

In its Report which appeared in 1966, the Kothari Education Commission observed that education must become a powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation. For this purpose, the Commission suggested the following objectives of education:

1. Increasing productivity.

2. Social and national integration.

3. Accelerating the process of modernisation.

4. Developing social, moral and spiritual values.

(1) Education for Increasing Productivity.

The Commission suggested that education must be related to productivity to increase national income. In order to create a link between education and productivity, the following programme has been suggested by the Commission:

(i) Science Education. In order to enhance productivity, science education "must become an integral part of school education, and ultimately some study of science should become a part of all courses in the humanities and social sciences at the university stage."

(ii) This will develop understanding of basic principles, problem-solving attitude; promote the ability to apply these principles to problems of life and to encourage the spirit of enquiry and experimentation.

(ii) Work Experience. According to the Commission, work experience implies participation in productive work in school, in the home, in a workshop, on a farm, in a factory or in any other productive situation. In the programme of relating education to life productivity, this work-experience must be introduced as an integral part of all education, general and vocational.

(iii) 'Forward Look' in Work Experience. Every attempt should be made to link work experience to technology and industrialisation, including agriculture. The education of a student is not held to be complete unless he participates in some type of work-experience in real life conditions. It is in this way that education can pay high dividends. This 'forward look' in work experience is important for a country which has embarked on a programme of industrialisation.

(iv) Vocationalisation of Secondary Education. Every attempt should be made to give a vocational bias to secondary education and to increase the emphasis on agricultural and technological education at the university stage. This will surely bring education into closer relationship with productivity. This is of special significance in the Indian education where education has so far been training the youth for the so called white-coller professions.

(2) Education for Social and National Integration. According to the Commission, social and national integration is an important objective of a national system of education. The Commission has suggested the following steps for strengthening the nation through education:

(a) The Common School System. In the opinion of the Commission, "If our educational system is to become a powerful instrument of national development in general and social and national integration in particular, we must march towards the goal of a common school system of public education.

1. which will be open to all children irrespective of caste, creed, community, religion or social status; where access to good education will depend, not on wealth or class, but on talent;

2. which will maintain adequate standards in all schools and provide at least a reasonable proportion of quality instruction

3. In which no tuition fee will be charged; and

4. Is which would meet the needs of the average parent?"

This system should effectively be implemented in a phased programme spread over 20 years.

(b) Social and National Service. The Commission felt that the existing educational system increases the sad gulf between the educated and the uneducated classes, between the intelligentsia and the masses. In order to eliminate this evil, the Commission, recommends that 'Some form of social and national service should be made obligatory for all students and should form an integral part of education at all stages.

(c) This can become an instrument to build character, improve discipline, inculcate faith in the dignity of manual labour and develop a sense of social responsibility."

The Commission has suggested the following two main forms in which such service can be organised:

(i) Encouraging and enabling students to participate in community living on the school or college campus; and (ii) Providing opportunities of participation in programmes of community development and national service.

(c) Evaluation of Language Policy. The development of a proper language policy can also assist in social and national integration.

(d) Promoting National Consciousness. According to the Commission, education must aim at promoting national consciousness by-

(i) Promoting understanding and re-evaluation of our cultural heritage;

(ii) Creating a strong faith in future;

(Hi) Developing international understanding;

(iv) Inculcating Democratic Values. The educational programme in schools and colleges should be designed to inculcate democratic values.

(3) Education for Modernisation.

The present century has seen great advancement in scientific and technical knowledge as a result of exploration of knowledge. While the rest of the world is marching ahead in every field of human activity India cannot go limping behind. In order that India should keep pace with modernisation, the Commission has made the following suggestions:

(i) Education should awaken curiosity, develop proper interests, attitudes, and build up such essential skills as independent study and capacity to think and judge for one.

(ii) Education should create adequate and competent intelligentsia to meet the needs of the day.

(4) Education for Social, Moral and Spiritual Values.

The national system of education should emphasise the cultivation of fundamental social, moral and spiritual values. For this purpose the Commission has suggested the following steps:

(a) The Central and State Governments should adopt measures to introduce education in moral, social and spiritual values in all institutions under their control. This should be done on the lines recommended by the University Education Commission and Committee on Religious and Moral Instruction. The privately managed institutions should also follow on the same steps.

(b) In order to develop social, moral and religious values, some periods should be provided in the time-table. Instruction of this type should be given by general teachers.

(c) The University Departments of Comparative Religions should show special concern about this aspect of education.

(d) It is necessary to promote a tolerant study of all religions so that its citizens can understand one another better and live together amicably.