July , 2022
Transformation of Education Policy: through the eyes of great philosophers
00:25 am

Pritha Misra

The Indian education system has been known as the biggest education system in the world catering knowledge to nearly 190 million students. The country provides education starting from pre-primary to university level and to people coming from different socio-economic backgrounds.

The history of education goes back to the start of Indian civilisation when there were no proper literary sources for understanding the education policy of the country. Since 1000 A.D. there came into existence sources like Vedas, Upanishads, Epics, Puranas that depicted education policies ruling at that time. A number of great personalities are associated with the transformation of education in India.

Shri Aurobindo - Rishi Aurobindo’s philosophy aimed at providing a better system to the future generations. He focused on spiritual education that dealt with mind, intelligence, knowledge and consciousness. He believed the universal truth that ‘man is the maker of his own destiny’ and that education is the ultimate catalyst to achieve this. A life based mainly on Vedas and Upanishads; Rishi Aurobindo supported the holistic approach of education that included gaining different categories of knowledge. His principles included establishing an integral education system with more stress on the psychological aspect and more of a ‘teaching- learning approach’. The briefs of Shri Aurobindo’s education policy are as follows :-

·               National history, mother tongue, general science, arithmetic, English, literature, art, painting, and social studies is to be included in the primary stage.

·               English, mother tongue, social studies, health education, physiology, botany, physics, chemistry, art, arithmetic, literature and French should be present at the secondary level.

·               Indian and western philosophy, history of civilisation, English literature, French, sociology, psychology, history, chemistry, physics, botany at the university level. Nursing, electrical engineering, mechanical, cottage-industries, typing, drawing, sculptural photography, painting and art must be kept as vocational areas.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar - Vidyasagar was mainly concerned about the preaching of vernacular education in his own country. During the reign of Lord Dalhousie, Vidyasagar along with the first Lieutenant Governor of Bengal established model schools or ‘Pathsahala’. Basic subjects like geography, history, arithmetic, moral sciences etc. were taught there, keeping the medium of instruction as the mother tongue. He took initiative to bring reformation in the higher education system by developing college education. In 1859, some of his fellow followers started the Calcutta Training School with him as the secretary which later came to be known as the Vidyasagar College. Vidyasagar promoted education irrespective of caste and gender. He was the pioneer of national education. Some of his reforms in the field of education -

·               He introduced a modern system of education in Sanskrit college.

·               According to his insights, European history, philosophy, science and Vedic scriptures were included in education.

·               Normal school for teacher training was made to assure uniform teaching methods.

·               He was the first to initiate admission fees and tuition fees. In his time ‘Sunday’ was introduced as the weekly holiday and summer vacation was also introduced.

Rabindranath Tagore - Tagore’s philosophy of education consisted of humanism, idealism and naturalism. He believed in establishing harmony with nature, surroundings and with international relations as well. Harmony along with freedom was the basic pillar of his educational belief. He believed teaching should be more realistic than decorated and theoretical. Keeping this in mind, he founded Viswa- Bharati in Shantiniketan which fulfilled his educational desire. Tagore’s educational ideas were a blend of eastern and western cultures. In his early life, he had criticised the colonial form of education considering it to be incapable of providing holistic education but his mindset changed during the First World War. Since then, he started accepting European culture and supported the concept of amalgamation of Indian and European cultures. Tagore believed that knowledge should not have any boundary; it must flow freely.

The National Educational Policy 2020 is believed to have followed the principles of Tagore. The NEP 2020 stresses on establishing multidisciplinary universities in the same way Tagore had established educational institutions like Pathabhavana, Siksha Shatra, Viswa-Bharati, where activity-based learning is the main mode. Moreover, NEP also talks about international collaboration which matches with the educational history of Viswa-Bharati where a number of international scholars have been involved. Tagore’s educational curriculum included: -

·         He stressed on the fact of making mother tongue as the major mode of education.

·         He focused on self-realization.

·         Intellectual development.

·         Social Development.

·         He reformed education through emotion, spiritual aspect and less theory based.

Swami Vivekananda - Swami Vivekananda was more of a philosopher and great thinker than a social reformer. He preached the role of Yoga and Vedanta to the western world. His aim was to combine Indian spirituality with western culture so that a new structure of education was created. He believed that holistic education can never be given without aesthetics and fine arts in it. His education policy comprised more of a value-based education system with intellectual, material, spiritual, emotional and moral aspects. Swami Vivekananda did not offer any particular policy or curriculum for education; rather he provided basic ideas about the learning process. A thorough study of the NEP 2020 will show that it is greatly influenced by the principles of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda’s basic ideas were: -

·               Education to children must include history, geography, grammar, language and poetry.

·               Emphasised on modern science and engineering and prescribed them to be included in the course work of schools and colleges.

·               Physical education and yoga culture is essential.

·               The moral and religious education part should be a mixture of both religion and science.


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