Innovations in Education - Introduction



Our system of education is the legacy of the colonial past. Sixty years have passed since we attained independence, but even though promised during the freedom struggle, we have not been able to change the system, except very marginally.

There are, however, voices all around which demand radical changes in education.

A study of this demand brings out one common cry; we want better education.

Nobody will dispute with this demand.

But disputes arise, when we try to define and give content to the phrase "Better Education".

The theme of this book is that "Better Education", whatever it may mean, is not enough.

The country needs a kind of education that is not yet being conceived, although greatest pioneers of the freedom struggle have already given us the glimpses of that education.

If education has to reflect the soul of India, and if India has to prepare itself to fulfill its own swadharma;

If India has to play a leading role in meeting the challenges of the contemporary civilization and also the contemporary crisis;

If India has to be protected from dogmatic or agnostic or



skeptical Materialism and its barbaric invasion, — then India has to be revitalized, and refashioned within the next twenty five years.

This task can be accomplished in some tolerable measure, provided one important condition is fulfilled.

We have to redesign our Education System during the next ten years.

This is an almost impossible task, and yet it is not entirely impossible. There is a possibility, and how that possibility can be utilized, is the theme of this book.

There are three enabling factors which can be utilized, if there is political will, and if the power of the government is to be used to sub-serve the evolution of education that we need:

I. We have rich crop of valuable results of pioneering experiments which have been carried out by five leading educationists of the country:

Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo

The results of the experiments conducted by them remain as yet to be pooled together and the conceptions behind their experiments need to be developed further; they also need to be synthesized with pioneering experiments conducted in the West under the influence of Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Montessori, Russell and Paulo Freire. Fortunately, these western educationists discovered and underlined one great need which Indian culture at its highest, right from the earliest Veda to the



present day, has underlined. They have underlined the need to discover the inmost centre of freedom in every child; they have maintained that the unfolding of center of freedom can, under enlightened guidance of well trained teachers, equip every individual with capacities to find a productive position in the society and constant progression towards enrichment of the powers of knowledge, heroism, harmony and creative and productive skills.

II. Modern developments of communication technology can be utilized to accelerate the transmission of knowledge through the best teachers of the world to students in the remotest parts of the world. These technologies need to be mastered in our country and utilized for purposes of education in manners and methods that can be adapted to the target groups of students and learners.

III. Vast fields of research are being explored all over the world and also, in some measure, in India. As a result, it is becoming easier today to meet the greatest need of the problems of India's regeneration and revitalization. Indian mind needs to be global, universal. This is the time when India needs to spread within itself and in the world the message of ''vasudhaiva kutumbakam", the whole world is one family.

In this brief introduction, we may jump immediately to specifics.

The question is whether there is any machinery which can utilize the above three favourable conditions in a systematic and in a planned and sustained manner.

There is none in our country: neither at the National level nor at the State level.



Hence, we need to set up a "Commission for Educational Innovations", which can carry out the above three tasks. This Commission has to be statutory in character, because otherwise the Commission will not have the required stability and long term duration which are absolutely indispensable.

This Commission should have powers to conduct the required research, to formulate innovations, implement them on experimental basis in selected schools and educational institutions or through new institutions which it can create. It should monitor the progress of the innovative experiments. And in order that students, parents and teachers are enabled to participate in the innovative experiments, the Commission should have the power to conduct its own experiments through innovative methods and confer certificates which have the same value as the certificates of the present Boards of examinations.

Ultimately, the proposed Commission will able to develop a new curriculum for school education. This curriculum will be first used by the innovative schools established by the Commission, and it can gradually be generalized in the country. This curriculum will have five important components:

1. A programme of Science of Living (on the model which was developed and reflected in ancient glorious period of India).

2. An emphasis on studies of languages, which will have special concern for promotion of Sanskrit.

3. An emphasis on development of Skills (particularly related to agriculture, horticulture and cottage crafts).



4. A system of optional studies at various levels of proficiency.

5. A special emphasis on learning by explorations, discoveries and inventions, together with an emphasis on explorations of national value of Art.

The Commission will be able to evolve new system of examination, and it will also set up centres of national testing services, which will have unique methods that will underline importance of character development, intense sense of nationalism blended with progressive internationalism, and special concern for practical abilities and skills.

Thirdly, the Commission will have developed massive programme of pre-service and in-service teachers' training which will lay a special emphasis on the theme of human enrichment that can be fostered by exploration of the following four themes:

1. The aim of life;

2. Teaching that aims at awakening and infusion of inspiration and enthusiasm to learn;

3. Care and health of the* physical body which can be vehicle of sustaining ideals of life {sari ram adyam khalu dharma );

4. Pursuit of knowledge, heroism, harmony and skills.

There will be many other benefits to the country's system of education resulting from the work of the proposed Commission, such as production of new teaching material, etc.

The next two chapters bring out more fully the proposal that is set forth.


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