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Gandhi on Education

Bapu was a class apart and his observations on education are spot on.

Gandhi’s all-encompassing definition of education: “By education I mean all-round development of the best in the child and man body, mind and spirit” is most often quoted by educationists. He was very clear that “literacy is not the end of education nor even its beginning. It is only one of the means whereby man and woman can be educated.” Despite the clarity of the purpose of education, which should have guided us post-Independence, the spirit of basic education has remained neglected.

In 1939 Gandhiji wrote in Harijan: “Our education has got to be revolutionised. The brain must be educated through the hand… Why should you think that mind is everything and the hands and feelings nothing? Those who do not train their hands, who go through the ordinary rut, lack ‘music’ in their life. All their faculties are not trained. Mere book knowledge does not interest the child so as to hold his attention fully. The brain gets weary of mere words, and the child’s mind begins to wander. The hand does the things it ought not to do, the eyes see things it ought not to see, the ear hears things it ought not to hear, and they do not do see or hear, respectively, what they ought to. They are not taught to make the right choice and so their education often proves their ruin.”

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