Gandhi on Education
From an early age, Gandhi had no interest in the education system forced upon us by the British. At school, he was a very poor student, failing at several points and not taking part in sports or social activities.
As he grew older he was strongly influenced by Leo Tolstoy. Gandhi wanted to free education from government and state bureaucracy interference. The Mahatma valued self-sufficiency and autonomy, and the more financially independent the schools were, the more politically independent they could be.
Gandhi believed in teachers having freedom in curriculum matters. He was against the idea of the teacher having a prescribed job based on what the authorities wanted the children to learn, and he was against prescribed textbooks because a teacher who taught from a textbook did not “impart originality to his pupils”. What teachers taught and what they did should not be influenced by the state, but by the village and their own intellect and conscience.
He was of the opinion that many people had no idea what education truly is and that under the British we had been indoctrinated to seek “only such education as would enable the student to earn more”.
The irony is that today, as India clings to its centralized, textbook-oriented, employment opportunity-driven education, Britain and the West have moved towards many of Gandhi’s teachings.
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