Gandhigiri in School
No more sweating in the name of board examinations. At least till Class X. Because this set of tests has been made voluntary. No more cut throat competition now. No more tallying and comparing marks with friends.
Yippee! So our education system is in for some serious reforms. As our Human Resource Development minister, Kapil Sibal, puts it , “Our education system should change from MOTS (More of the Same) to HOTS (High Order Thinking Skills).” He went on to add, “We should create knowledge which will be used by other people around the world. Now we are a recipient of knowledge. In the future we should produce the knowledge"
The Gobar Times team has been wondering if Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi resurrect himself on 2 October, 2009, and decides to advise our Education minister what would he say? Maybe this...
"I do regard spinning and weaving as a necessary part of any national system of education. This art would not just give a child the knowledge of varieties of cotton, but of different soil-types, the story of the ruin of native industries under colonialism, the history of British rule in India, and basic arithmetic, along with developing his hand-eye coordination, concentration, balance, and physical intelligence." — Mahatma Gandhi
Vocational skills are as fundamental to education as the theories of physics, the formulae of chemistry and the chronology of dates. But under the current system, they are taught as extra-curricular, and hence remain at the periphery of a ‘main’ syllabus. Father A.M. Joseph – Head, Don Bosco Vocational Training Centres (VTC) says “In India, those learning vocational training are considered to be on a lower rung.” The students who come to the VTCs are rural youth, who find agricultural work not lucrative enough to sustain livelihood. They are trained as electricians, tailors, or computer hardware assistants, or for jobs of similar categories. These are hands-on skills and can be immediately capitalized.
Curriculm to cripple?
Shailendra Uniyal, is founder of the NGO called ‘In Gandhi’s Shoes’. He believes that when Gandhi spoke of violence and condemned it, he was not referring to physical assault or political wars only. He considered destruction of environment to be a violent act. He was convinced that taking away the right of the villagers to control and protect their local natural resources like water and land, was a crime as despicable as slaughtering human beings! Because it crippled the people, making them incapable of taking independent action and asserting their basic rights.
"I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could. In doing so I have sometimes erred and learnt by my errors. Life and its problems have thus become to me so many experiments in the practice."— Mahatma Gandhi
“I can be a qualified engineer or a journalist but still not know how to report a crime at a police station or fill up a Right To Information (RTI) application. So what is the difference between me and an illiterate person?, asks Uniyal.
"Education should be so revolutionized as to answer the wants of the poorest villager, instead of answering those of an imperial exploiter” — Mahatma Gandhi
India is a country of more than six lakh villages, with only a handful of cities. But the cities dominate our mindscape when we talk about economy, development or education. So our school syllabus equips a student to become a doctor or an engineer, or a lawyer, may be even an electrician or a plumber, but not an artisan or a farmer. A graduate student in rural India has no other option but to migrate to a city, because he was never told that a village has opportunities too.
“Educated villagers are only dependant on government jobs. Situation is such that we have to generate alternate jobs in the rural areas” says Ms Meenakshi Tandon – a teacher of Political Science in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, New Delhi.
The government has begun to think differently, but there is still plenty of scope for sweeping reforms. Bring it on!, says Gobar Times. Gandhigiri ishtyle.