Education and the community with special reference to Indian society

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A group of people living together by common interests and purpose may be called a community. But in actual practice, we do not have such a community. Generally, people living together in a community have conflicting interests in their process of living. The interests of the ‘have’ dominate over the interest of the ‘have’ nots.

In spite of these differences, there are certain commons grounds amongst all the members and groups of any given community. These grounds are: beliefs, customs, traditions, attitudes etc. because of these common interests

Perhaps we call it community. Even then different groups in a community may differ from each other on the basis of their basic interest. Therefore, it is very difficult on the part of a school to look to the interests of several groups of a community equally.

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The group that becomes powerful influences the community as a whole and dominates over the policies and practices of the school system. In such a situation, it is very difficult to practice the principle like ‘equality of educational opportunity.’ During the British Raj, the people of India could not realise the importance of the school.

Education then was influenced by the vested interests of certain groups. Therefore, school was considered as one institution like other government offices. In the words of K.G. Saiyidain, “For all practical purposes, it (the school) is just as much an official concern, a government institution, as the law court or the railway or the prison.

The various sections of the community dominated the school to safeguard their own interests. But now question arises, how far the school enter the community. This is a crucial problem for everybody who deals with education. Our problem is to check the influence of different groups on education and use education as an instrument for general improvement of the community as a whole.

To achieve the above goal, it is essential that the work inside the school and the experience of the child in the society should be integrated.

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As a result of which education can become a social process and a dynamic part of the social life of the entire community. Such unification or integration between the two fields of education will be possible only when the school can participate in the life of the community and take active part to solve the problems confronted by the community.

When the school understands the needs, interests and problems of the community as a whole, it can serve the community in true sense of the term. In this respect. K.G. Saiyidain opines, “A’ people’ school, must obviously, be based on the peoples’ needs and problems. Its curriculum should be an epitome of their life.

Its methods of work must approximate to theirs. It should reflect all that is significant and characteristic in the life of the community in its natural setting.”

Education is the only means to lead the individuals towards all round development and progress. Such education can be obtained in schools only.

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Therefore, each community maintains schools in order to fulfil its economic, political, cultural and social needs and the schools on the other hand maintain the community through its many different activities and diverse programmes.

Relation of school and community is a two-way traffic. The community conveys its problems to the school for solution and guidance and the searched out experimented knowledge is fed back to the community.

The progress of the community depends upon the effective feedback process. A community cannot progress, if it does not get feedback from its school as guidance and required solutions. School can solve the Economic Problems of the Community.

Some are of opinion that the school can meet the needs of the people, if it can orient the pupils about the existing industrial and agricultural conditions and prepare them for specific jobs. But some people criticise this opinion and argue that in a democratic country, it is not at all desirable to introduce early specialization. It may be introduced at an advanced stage of development.

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Regarding such vocational orientation in the schools, some other experts advocate that introduction of socially use productive work make learning more meaningful and effective. It helps the students realize the imports of dignity of labour and develops their personality. Thus the school can solve the economic problems! the community.

Schools as a community purifier:

The school can solve the social and cultural problem confronted by the community by many different ways. For example, the social problems untouchability, health and hygiene etc., should be discussed by the students, teachers and the member of the community and find out desirable solutions.

School may organize activities like literary class discussions, plays, Parent Teachers Association, Adult Education Association etc. to solve the social and cultural problems of the community. Thus the school can influence the community life and become a community school in true sense of the term.

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Education and modernization:

Education runs according to the recent trends. Therefore, education has close communicated with modernization. The Education Commission (1964-66) opines that there has been a great explosive of knowledge during the last few decades.

In a traditional society, the stock of knowledge is limited a grows slowly so that the main aim of education is interpreted to be its preservation. In a mode society, on the other hand, the stock of knowledge is far greater and the pace of its growth is infinite” quicker.

One of the main tasks of education in modern society is to keep pace with this advance knowledge. In such a society, knowledge inevitably ceases to be something to be received passive it is something to be actively discovered. If this is rightly understood, it would involve a revolution traditional education where ‘to know’ has come to mean ‘to know by heart.

In India as in other countries, where similar conditions prevail, this would require, among other things, a new approach to the objectives and methods of education, and changes in training of teachers.

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