Chidlren's University - Research









Imperative Importance of Child-Centered Research

Child-Centered Research has so far remained greatly neglected. In contrast to this neglect, the Children's University will underline the imperative importance of research in a number of subjects centered on the care and development of the child.

In fact, the most important aspect of the University will be related to Research. The subjects which are being conceived for Councils of Research will constitute the fundamental character of the University. These subjects will be pervasive in character. But there are several other themes of specific kind; they are more narrow in character and much more directed to the immediate requirement of applied field of pedagogy and daily life of teaching and learning. For each of these themes there will be a Department of the Research in the University.



Ideas Relating to Research Councils

Children's university provides an unprecedented opportunity to establish and conduct original and fundamental research in many important areas in the light of the needs of today and tomorrow. One of the great needs of our times is to arrive at the synthesis of the old and the new, of the East and the West. If children are the makers of the future, we need to synthesize modern knowledge relating to the child with the traditional knowledge about the child that is still available to us both in the East and the West as a heritage of the past.

What is the meaning of the human child? Is the human child something more than the animal child? Is the child a mere vehicle for hereditary progress? What role does heredity play in the growth of the child? Is there something more in the child than heredity? What is it? How can we recognize it? Can we scientifically study it? Can we study it philosophically or can we study it only on the basis of dogma?

What is scientific knowledge? Is it merely a matter of empirical evidence and statistics? Does science aim at explanation? These and allied questions need urgent answers. In this context, we need to study Ayurveda and Indian theories of pre- natal care of the child and synthesize the same



with the modern knowledge of genetics and modern experiments in regard to the influences of environment on the growing embryo during the period of pregnancy.

It is envisaged that the children's university could establish under its Centre of Research, two research councils for synthesis of child-related knowledge-systems: Physical and Medical; and Psychological and Cultural. These two councils need not be confined to merely theoretical research but could also aim at applications.

A third Council could be centered on research and applications related to children's science, children's technology, children's philosophy and children's psychology, the combination of which could aim at skill-oriented and value-oriented education.

Children's philosophy has gained ground today internationally, but our country has still not awakened to this area. At the international level, research in children's philosophy is limited in its scope. In our research program we should expand the scope of children's philosophy so as to include four branches of philosophy: Spiritual, Rational, Ethical and Aesthetic.



Children's psychology has yet not come even in the horizons of international research. But this is an extremely important subject, particularly because self-knowledge and self-control are the most important aspects of education, and they can best be studied through children's psychology that children must learn from early stages of growth.

Children's science and technology are being fostered in all progressive schools of the world; there are even special encyclopedias centered on this subject. The Children's University should develop fresh material, including latest data.

A much greater effort is needed in our country to develop the subject of children's science and technology, considering that Indian children are also expected to assimilate the lessons of a long and fruitful Indian history of science and technology. We have neglected this subject for long, and children's university should give us a ready opportunity for conducting a coordinated research in which science, technology, philosophy and psychology are properly synthesized.





This council could aim at underlining the development of the visions of the future among children, since it is being acknowledged that it is the power of vision that creates right power of action and right direction for action. The world today is becoming more and more global. Turn towards unity has become irresistible. But unity without the fostering of individual liberty will be only a machine of uniformity in life and action.

That is the reason why we need to emphasize children's rights, women's rights, fundamental duties, which are all related to individual freedom and individual growth towards perfection.

Human unity has been growing, but we are not sure as to what will be the place of Nationalism in the new international order. This futuristic study may be included as an important area, and it could study the problems of the new age of humanity, its hopes and lines for fulfillment, particularly in the context of the growth of United Nations Organization and its Agencies as also the growth of inter-culturalism or multi-culturalism. Anew spiritual age is dawning, and our children need to be prepared to receive and foster spiritual knowledge that transcends narrow barriers of exclusivism.

A fifth council could be envisaged for research and applications related to gifted children. It is increasingly recognized that children of today



are much more intelligent, alert and bright. The children of today, it is suggested, are naturally inclined towards Science and Internationalism; their visions are more focused on the future; they are spontaneously loyal to the relationships of friendship; they are more influenced by their peers than by instructors; they appreciate excellence in every field; they are natural critics of pretension and demand from their parents and teachers increasing adherence to honesty and cordial relationships in their dealings with others; they tend to laugh and scoff at tall claims of leaders who lack integrity and high levels of character and purity; they love to learn through explorations rather than under the pressure of prescriptions; indeed, they are lovers of freedom, even though they may not have learnt the lessons of discipline; they admire critical rationality, even though they have yet to learn how to enter the gates of knowledge on the basis of evidence and experiences that can be verified and enlarged into greater horizons of universality and integrality; they have a natural aversion to quarrels of religions, and, in respect of the belief in God, they would like to demand, like Swami Vivekananda, if God can be seen and realized; they love the ideal of dynamism and manifestation of ideals in physical and daily life; they love to be multi-sided and more and more comprehensive. These and many other characteristics of contemporary



children need to be studied through right tools of research, so that we can build better bridges with the children and provide them better means of relating themselves with the contemporary global world.

In this context, we need to develop new definitions and parameters of what can be called gifted children. This is a subject of great importance and fresh research is required. Do we require special education for gifted children? If so, what will be that special education? Is the present system of education suited to the needs of gifted children of today? There is a profound precept available today, according to which, children who are lining souls need greater care than those children who are merely brilliant. This precept and related questions require to be answered on the basis of detailed research and international exchange of ideas.

The question of physically and mentally challenged children has also rightly come up in the developing horizons of education for the future.

A special council is therefore envisaged for research and applications related to physically and mentally challenged children.



One more council could still be centered on the theme of national and international education. This council could have a very difficult task, since India has had a long history of 5,000 years. Thus children of India need to assimilate this long history both meaningfully and spiritedly, so as to foster the spirit of nationalism and patriotism. International education will imply emphasis on the knowledge of world history and world geography as also multilingual capacities.

This aspect also needs to be centrally studied in detail. What languages should our children learn? United Nations Organization has recognized six international languages, - English, French, Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Spanish. Which of these six foreign languages should our students master apart from English and our own indigenous languages, including mother tongue, Sanskrit and Hindi?

While all these councils will have contributions to make to the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Training, we need to think of a research council which will be related to the Faculty of Extension Services of the Children's University. This could still be another additional council, and it could conduct research with regard to Bal Bhavans, Anganvadi, children's



literature, dolls' houses, museums for children and program for special education, continuing education, little children's theatre, and "Every Child Matters", etc.

One more council could still be envisaged as a coordination council and it could be centered on research and applications related to integral development of personality or to what Swami Vivekananda has called "Man-making Education." This council could concentrate on the study of the laws of integration of various aspects of human personality: physical, vital, ethical, rational, aesthetic and spiritual.



Departments of Research

The subjects which have been identified for councils of research constitute foundations of the University, and, as has been noted elsewhere, they are all pervasive covering a gamut of themes. But they do not cover all the subjects that require research. There are several themes of specific kind, and they are more pointed and much more directed to the immediate requirements of applied field of pedagogy and daily life of teaching and learning. These areas of research are assigned to Departments of Research.

These departments correspond to different levels of child-care and child development. The following list aims at indicating the importance of the identified areas of research as also their inner inter- relationship: 1) Pre-Natal and Early Childhood Care:

It is common knowledge today that the care of the child must begin at the pre-natal stage, and education must continue right through the whole life. But the development of the adult is largely determined by the genetic growth at the embryonic stage. And yet it is only in recent times that prenatal education is being underlined, although in the Indian tradition, prenatal education is a part of the cultural ethos. In India, we have a tradition of advising pregnant women to spend considerable time in hermitages and places of pilgrimage. This is because it was thought that the genetic growth of the embryo is greatly facilitated in the right direction, if the embryonic life receives impressions of holy atmosphere and impressions of sublime music and sublime forest life. The idea of Tapovan is still very much alive in our



country, although in our modern times, Tapovans are rare and even maternity homes happen to be located in the midst of busy city life. A fresh research is therefore necessary to revisit the concept of Tapovan and of creating maternity homes in Tapovans, where facilities relating to pre- natal care and paediatrics are made available. Research is needed in respect of the nature of Tapovans which should be set up in the whole State of Gujarat, and the facilities which should be provided in Tapovans, including music halls, studios for art exhibition, libraries and cinema halls, as also programs of social education that need to be spread in the whole State in order to educate not only pregnant mothers but also young men and women in matters relating to the place of the child in the society and the skills which are needed to provide early childhood care to the children. Research is also needed in regard to paediatrics, particularly in the context of the fact that we have Allopathic paediatrics for women in the Cities and Ayurvedic paediatrics in our cultural ethos, which is still alive in the village life of India.

Early childhood care is at present receiving a good deal of attention, and much literature is available today in this regard. But often childhood care tends to be turned into schools of learning alphabets and counting numbers. Whether this is healthy or not needs to be carefully examined and a good deal of research is needed for this purpose. The department of early childhood care should be able to advise parents on this subject under the guidance of good scientific research.

2) Toddlers' education is nowadays very much in fashion in cities but greatly neglected in villages. We need to make a distinction between toddlers' education and kindergarten education.



3) For this purpose we should have a department of research in toddler's education and another department of research in kindergarten education.

4) A fourth department could concentrate on research in elementary education.

5) The fifth department could be centred on research in secondary education.

6) We have in India a great dearth of children's literature relevant to toddlers' education, kindergarten education and secondary education. There is also a great dearth of films for children meant for these four levels of education. We do not even make use of any museums for educating our young children. Hence, a sixth department could be conceived for conducting research in children's literature, films and museum studies. The results of the research done in this department could be utilized in the Faculty of Extension Services.


7)A seventh department could be conceived for the most important field of research, and that is related to curriculum development. Our education system is top heavy, and much that is learnt is learnt badly and it proves ultimately to be of no practical use in life. We need to think afresh on this subject. This department could therefore consider the following topics for research:

a) Development of multiple linguistic capacities.

b) Synthesis of cultivation of the power of appreciation of art and of the power of scientific observation and realism.

c) Relevance of Nayi Talim system for childhood education.



d) Relevance of home science in child education;

e) Education through art and craft;

f) Education through programs of demonstration, explorations and inventions in respect of scientific, technical and aesthetic disciplines;

g) Development of a general knowledge course;

h) Development of multi-level courses: introductory, normal or ordinary, advanced and specialized.

8) Another area of great importance in our education system, which requires radical changes, is the field of examination. Therefore a full- fledged department of research could be conceived for new methods of educational measurement and evaluation, which should develop hew methods of testing, including testing of skills and testing of character development, and holistic testing.

9 )Finally, a ninth department could be conceived which might be specialized in physical education, which is today extremely neglected. This department could also conduct research in synthesizing Indian system of physical education with western systems of gymnastics, athletics, swimming and games. It could also make research in developing team spirit among students and qualities of ideal sportsmanship. It could also conduct research in spreading the message of NCC, Scouts and Guides among students so that every child becomes a member of NCC or Scouts and Guides or National Service Scheme.



Modes of Research

It has been recommended that University will conduct its activities of programmes of research through the following modes:

(a) Pooling together the results of research which have been conducted at all advanced research centres in India and in the world in the fields relevant to the Children's University;

(b) Commissioning relevant research projects in various universities or organisations devoted to the promotion of the care and growth of the child;

(c) Institution of research fellowships that can be awarded to individuals and institutions that are qualified to collaborate with the research programmes of the university;

(d) Conduct of research under its own auspices;

(e) Promotion of relevant research and its results by exchange and collaboration with individuals, organisations, universities and other research and experimental centres;

(f) Utilisation of results of Research in the development of Government Policies and Programmes;

(g) Pooling together traditional knowledge relating to parental education of



the parents and prenatal care of the growth of the embryo, healthy delivery of the child, and early childhood care, as also experimentation and development of this knowledge in the light of the growing scientific knowledge;

(h) Promotion of research in various themes relating to the objectives of the University through M.Phil, and Ph.D. programmes under its own auspices as also under the auspices of other universities or organisations or schools;

(i) Establishment and conduct of experimental and demonstration centres in its own campus as also in the campuses of other Schools, Colleges, Universities or Centres of Research;

(j) Research in the transmission of knowledge and programmes relating to the objectives of the University for the benefit of the society at large; and

(k) Promotion of publications of research related to the objectives of the University.

It is also envisaged that University Campus will develop following centers and facilities:

1. Model Demonstration Schools (relating to different stages of school education)

2.Centre for Pediatrics



3.Centre for Pedagogy for Scientific discoveries and Inventions

4.Centre for Pedagogy for Fine Arts

5.Centre for Pedagogy for Crafts

6.Centre for promotion of NSS

7.Centre for promotion of Scout & Guide

8.Centre for research in multi-linguistic capacities (Gujarati, Sanskrit, French, English, Hindi, Tamil, Arabic, Persian)

9.Centre for development of Hobbies

10.Centre for Children's drama, poetry and stories

11.Centre for puppetry

12.Centre for research for setting up Exhibitions

13.Centre for Unending Education



16.Film Studio



Intelligent Will should grow to achieve:

(a) perseverance and endurance;

(b) dynamism and heroism;

(c) equality and mastery.

 	  Intelligent Will should grow to achieve:  (a)perseverance and endurance;  (b)dynamism and heroism;  (c)equality and mastery.


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