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The Invisible University

What is the prime need of our civilization today?

During the last fifty years, the world has moved in a direction where productivity can be increased and employment opportunities can be multiplied. There is, indeed, a problem of scarcity and we know that resources are never unlimited. But with the advancement of science, inventions are continuing. It is not impossible to foresee a great breakthrough in the utilization of solar energy in a way that would replace many other forms of energy available today. There would be, at the same time a great breakthrough in the invention of machines that would make sea water potable, a need which is almost a crisis today. These are only two small examples to indicate a possible graph of future development. If we analyze this scenario in the context of employment opportunities in the coming world, we have to reckon the fact of globalisation under the impress of which markets of all kinds will open up greatly, and even poverty can be reduced all over the world almost to a vanishing point. To equip individuals with capacity to produce, to market and to consume has now become a foreseeable reality.

Therefore, the most advanced thinking in the world today has turned to the deeper questions of creating a mankind that is not only more productive but also more humane, more cultured, more compassionate. It is now being recognized that human relationships are extremely important, that human beings need to understand each other more and more humanely and more and more sympathetically. It is being acknowledged that happiness is now at the gates of human relationships, and that the better one understands and practices the art of harmonious relationships, the greater will be the fund of happiness in the world.

As yet, our education systems do not recognize this emerging need of mankind. Educational systems are still geared to the production of efficient and productive human beings. Indeed, the world does need productive and efficient human beings, but looking to the future, − an educator has to look at the future more and more boldly and clairvoyantly, − the increasing need is to produce human beings who care for each other, who know how to live together, who feel responsible and who can relate themselves with others in wider and wider contexts and who can sacrifice their egoistic needs and ambitions for the welfare of larger sectors of humanity.

The Invisible University

The Invisible University

Therefore, there is a need to change the directions of education and to add a new dimension.

How can this change be affected? Much can be written on this subject, but if a brief answer is to be given, it can be said that this change can be affected by the combination of three factors:

  1. We have to identify and encourage those children who want to learn and develop their faculties, and who have this motivation burning in their own hearts;
  2. We have to provide to them teaching/learning materials which cater specially to answer their need to learn and their need to develop their faculties, and to provide through these materials the art and science of relationships, of a sense of the need to sacrifice and to develop bonds deeper than what outer conventions of today allow;
  3. We need to develop and train teachers who can serve the needs of looking after these children and who can create and utilize new teaching/learning materials. A great future of humanity − a humanity of harmony and unity – can then be hopefully visualized. And this − the creation of that new humanity − is a prime need of our civilization today.

How can we contribute to the fulfillment of this need? Nobody can contribute so greatly that something magnificent and over-whelming can be produced within a short period. Even those educationists who are capable, who have vision, and who are creative, can move forward only modestly. Others who understand the task of the future and want to help can also make only modest contributions. For a long time, the tasks have to be intangible, may not even be seen to have any impact. But maybe, they can make financial contributions, they can contribute by way of intellectual co-operation, they can contribute by organizing relevant activities and programmes.

The Invisible University

The Invisible University

Indeed, the work is vast and enormous financial resources would be needed to support these activities and programmes. Creative visionaries, educationists and teachers need to be brought together, and some of them have to be sustained even financially. Facilities have to be created to enable them to prepare new Teaching/Learning materials, and these materials have to be in many forms – books, worksheets, slides, documentaries, films, audio tapes and many other kinds of books which are hardly visualized today. These materials will have to be transmitted to students who want to learn and who want to develop their faculties and who want to learn the art of relationships and the art of life. And gradually, the circles of these children have to be expanded.

There has to be a new type of organization, a new type of university, − a university that encourages learning for the sake of learning – not for passing examinations or for getting certificates. Even the word university is too big. To begin with − a small center, a modest center, a modest collection of talented people who can produce new types of material for the children. This can be the minimum programme and it can be developed further for a larger expansion and larger services.

This is what we would like to initiate and accomplish. A modest beginning, modest funding, modest work, − but solid work, creative work, dedicated work.

The Invisible University

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