India and Indian Polity - Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human  Resource Development

Measures which are currently being taken to extend the experience of democracy at the grassroot level signify a radical turning-point in our recent history, necessitating a fresh thought and faster rate of progress in the educational and cultural fields. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches — this is a basic premise of democracy, and the quality of democracy depends upon the degree and extent to which knowledge is spread and shared among the masses of the people. It also depends upon the quality of knowledge that is so spread and shared. This means wider and higher extension of education and culture covering all levels of individual and social existence.

Democracy is not a mere process of election; it is fundamentally a state in which each individual has the requisite freedom to determine voluntarily his or her process of growth and development. Ideally, each individual should be enabled to exercise his or her freedom in such a way that the individual and social progress is effectuated with increasing levels of harmony — the individual inspired by social good and the society inspired by care for the highest good of each individual. We are far from this state, but this is, in effect, the inner heart of democratic socialism, and it is this goal to which the current measures are leading us to realise in actual practical terms.

We are rapidly preparing ourselves for a big change. We are growing out of the narrow and egoistic boundaries of the consumer society to the freer and wider horizons of the learning society. In the consumer society, the chief concern is to multiply wants and means of satisfaction; in the learning society the chief concern is to think and strive for increasing degrees of the harmonised individual and social good. In terms of education and culture, the learning society is as different from the consumer society as is the north from the west.

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

Learning society implies, in terms of education and culture, three inter-related programmes: (i) Lifelong learning; (ii) Integration of education and culture; and (iii) Pursuit of Excellence.

Life-long learning is the process by which individuals continue to develop their knowledge, skills, interests and cultural attainments throughout their life-times. Lifelong learning is a 'motherhood' issue, and it overarches all aspects and all levels of learning, formal, non-formal and informal. Lifelong learning project has a special role in promoting workplace skills and in stimulating participation by increasing number of people in the civic, cultural and collective life of the country.

In promoting lifelong learning, education and culture will have to be integrated in a manner unprecedented hitherto. Culture is a larger set of which education is a sub-set and education supports and is supported by culture. For the present purpose, culture may be defined as a progressive cultivation of higher faculties of rationality, morality, aesthetics and spirituality, their multi-sided expression in suitable and varied forms, and their increasing influence on lower levels of thought, feeling and activity so as to uplift them by sublimation, conversion or transformation and embody in them the higher reaches of consciousness, power, expression and action. Our programme of the integration and culture will acknowledge the cultural dimension of development and affirm the Indian cultural identity in the context of the emerging world-culture. It will aim at broadening participation of all levels in culture and at promoting international cultural cooperation.

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

The concept of the pursuit of excellence will be the corner-stone of life-long learning. We shall look upon pursuit of excellence, not as something relevant to a small minority of the gifted, but as an endeavour expected of every individual member of society. For pursuit of excellence means deployment of effort on the limits of individual ability in ways that test personal boundaries and push back those boundaries. Our programme should be directed to stimulate this deployment of effort from everyone, whether gifted or average or disadvantaged or handicapped.

These three inter-related programmes can also be interwoven with the vast educational effort that has been generated in recent years. Different levels of education can be so designed that at various terminal points candidates enter the portals of workplace with sufficient capacity to continue to learn throughout their life-times. Various programmes and curricula of education can be redesigned so as to integrate education and culture. And, at all levels and in all forms of education, due emphasis could be laid by appropriate means on pursuit of excellence.

This would mean faster pace of reform of education envisaged in the new education policy and programme of action. It may also mean, to a considerable extent, reprioritisation of various programmes. It may also mean higher allocation of funds for human resource development. But these are matters of detail and they can be worked out through group meetings and consultations.

Implications of Grassroot Democracy for Human Resource Development

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