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What is necessary for the child by Gandhiji

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Gandhiji dreamed of a free and casteless society which he believed could only be achieved through education that was self-sufficient. The meaning of education, according to Gandhiji, is to promote the physical, mental, and spiritual development of an individual. Gandhiji advocated the ideals of truth, non violence and moral values to achieve the ultimate goal of self realization. For this to take place, he stressed on three things that he believed were absolutely necessary for the child.

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1. Live with the family:- The child must live with the family in order to make the most of the education because relationships of home provide the social and moral education a child needs. A sound household helps in building culture of the heart and developing character.

2. Study in mother tongue:- Gandhiji has stressed on the importance of studying in mother tongue time and again as he believed that it was supposed to be the centre of education. He says how teaching anyone in a foreign language would be depriving the individual of social and spiritual heritage of the country.

3. Provide no privileges that other Indian children could not get:- Gandhiji insisted on the object lesson of liberty and self respect, which must be given far more importance than literary training. He even educated his children in accordance with these principles, while in South Africa. Gandhiji got an opportunity to put his ideals into practise when along with Kallenbach, he went on to build a little village called Tolstoy Farm in Johannesberg. Children of the farm were taught to share all the work co-operatively with practical examples and classes on different relevant subjects were held simultaneously. It was on the basis of these core principles that Gandhiji developed the concept of Nai Talim.

Local knowledge

Antweiler describes local knowledge as system of knowledge that is rooted in local or regional culture and ecology. It is dependent on the social context and the economy of the region. The knowledge system is dynamic since people adapt to the changes in their environment and absorb and assimilate ideas from a variety of sources. This system of knowledge which is also usually referred as ‘indigenous knowledge’ or ‘traditional knowledge’ mostly consists of factual knowledge or skills often tested over centuries of use. It is passed down from generations and is generally interwoven with people’s cultural values.

Local knowledge wrt Nai Talim

Right from his time at Tolstoy farms, Gandhiji stressed on the value of local knowledge through the teaching and further practise of handicrafts. That an individual learns best through practise and labour was his main focus. He insisted on opening schools that helped children in learning the local crafts and cultures present in their community, which would also help the schools and the students in being self reliant for their education. One handicraft that he found pragmatic was spinning and weaving. He provides various examples how spinning would not only provide economic stability but also help in all round education of an individual. Another feature of local knowledge that Gandhiji adapted to was the prominence of vernacular language. He highly insisted on education being provided in the local language as it would help the individual in being connected to the traditional roots as opposed to being alienated in one’s own house through Western forms of education. In ‘Towards New Education’, Gandhiji gives an example of a village Champaran where the people were able to express their thought completely, without the use of any foreign terms or idioms.

Know how

Know how can be regarded as the capability to do the task which basically requires practical knowledge. Ryle mentions about two different forms of knowledge-know that and know how. He argues how know how cannot be built up from pieces of know that. For example, theoretical knowledge about cooking – cleaning vegetables, chopping them, mixing ingredients – does not consolidate into the application of that knowledge in the practice of making an exquisite dish. He uses the term ‘workshop possession’ which allows us to make sense of the content through its use.

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