To develop humanity, we need more knowledge and better teaching methods. All of this should have been combined with a strong self-reliance spirit to form a human being rather than a lifeless machine: Aurobindo.
Aurobindo (1872-1950), a philosopher, can be considered a 20th-century Renaissance figure. Aurobindo was born in Kolkata, India, and studied at Cambridge University. He was a thinker who studied human and social evolution in depth. At the time, this great man had a vision for the education system. He was well aware of the British educational system and how it will wreak havoc on the social fabric, mindset, and economic decline in the coming years. The significance of Aurobindo’s philosophy of education in relation to various education components: educational goals, curriculum, transaction, school, teacher-student relationship, discipline, and finally, the impact of Aurobindo’s philosophy of education on globalisation.
According to Aurobindo, “Ancient India’s culture, attacked by European modernism, overpowered in the material field, betrayed by her children’s indifference, may perish forever along with the soul of the nation that holds it in its keeping.”
According to many great philosophers, the new education policy, which is nothing more than a thought process of the likes of Aurobindo and Swami Vivekanand, must be studied and understood. While implementing new education policies, Aurobindo’s wisdom for teachers, schools, and society must be nurtured.
To the core, Aurobindo Ghosh was an idealist. His idealistic philosophy of life was based on Upanishad Vedantic philosophy. He believes that the type of education that our country requires is “proper to the Indian soul and need, temperament and culture that we seek, not indeed something faithful merely to the past, but to the developing soul of India, to her future need, to the greatness of her coming-self creation, to her eternal spirit.”
Aurobindo’s concept of ‘education’ is not only acquiring information but ‘the acquisition of various kinds of information’, he emphasises, “education is only one and not the chief of the means and necessities of education: its central aim is building of the powers of the human mind and spirit.”
Aurobindo’s Educational Goals
Aurobindo emphasised the importance of education in meeting the needs of modern life. In other words, education should produce dynamic citizens capable of meeting the demands of modern complex life. He believes that Physical development and holiness are the primary goals of education. As a result, he emphasised not only physical development but also physical purity, without which no spiritual development is possible. In this sense, physical development and purification serve as the foundation for spiritual development. The second major goal of education is to train all of the senses, together with hearing, speaking, listening, touching, smelling, and tasting.
These senses, according to him, can be fully trained when the nerve, chitta, and manas (Mind) are pure. As a result, the senses must be cleansed through education before any development can occur. The third goal of education is to help children develop mentally. This mental development entails improving all mental faculties, such as memory, thinking, reasoning, imagination, and discrimination, among others. Education should fully and harmoniously develop them. Moral development is another important goal of education. Aurobindo emphasised that mental development is harmful to the human process if it is not accompanied by moral and emotional development. A child’s heart should be so developed that it can show extreme love, sympathy, and consideration for all living beings. This is true moral growth. As a result, the teacher should be a role model for students, demonstrating that mere imitation can help them progress to higher and higher stages of development. Another important goal of education that requires the assistance of a teacher is the development of conscience. Conscience is divided into four levels: chitta, manas, intelligence, and knowledge. According to Aurobindo, the primary goal of education is to promote spiritual development. According to him, every human being possesses a sliver of divine existence within himself, and education can entirely extract from each individual.
Aurobindo advocated for a free environment for the child to fully develop all of his latent faculties, and he suggested that all subjects and activities include elements of creativity and educational expression. He wished to breathe new life and spirit into every subject and activity that could lead to the development of a superhuman being.
He established the following curriculum principle:
- The curriculum should be designed in such a way that children find it interesting.
- It should cover the entire range of subjects that promote mental and spiritual growth.
- It should inspire children to learn everything there is to know about the world.
- It should have life’s creativity as well as constructive abilities.
Aurobindo enunciates certain sound principles of the good teaching that must be remembered when engaging in the process of learning. The first principle of true teaching, according to Aurobindo, is ‘that nothing can be taught’. He explains that the knowledge is already dormant within the child. ‘Teacher is a helper and a guide,’ but not an instructor or taskmaster. The teacher’s role is to ‘suggest rather than impose.’ They do not actually train the pupil’s mind; instead, they show students how to perfect the instruments of knowledge, assist and encourage them throughout the process. They do not teach students; rather, they educate them on how to learn for themselves. They do not summon the knowledge that is within; rather, they demonstrate where it is and how it can be habituated to rise to the surface.
Aurobindo’s educational philosophy aims to modify school curricula, maximise learning modalities, and assist the child in reaching their full potential at their own pace and level while devoting time to self-discovery. This type of education is seen as the polar opposite of the imposed uniformity of prescribed courses and teaching that traditional schools purport to provide, and it can be linked to what was taught in schools during colonial rule. Aurobindo’s vision of schooling is seen as attempting to bridge the gap between the child’s life at school and that at home. Children should be given a free environment in which they can learn more and more through their own efforts. Any retrained and imposed environment, he believes, stunts growth and natural development. Aurobindo promoted the concept of self-discipline as a treatment for impressionistic discipline.
Aurobindo Ghosh worked hard to philosophically reconcile Western scientific rationalism with Eastern transcendent metaphysics into a holistic view of reality. Political science, education, sociology, psychology, and philosophy were among his academic interests. His spiritual philosophy, sociological theories, political ideology, and educational thought were built on the concepts of impending human evolution and global futurism.
Any nation with a better vision is one that uses simple previous experiences and makes use of the present. If a country does not use its past knowledge, it has no friends in terms of national development. We can win the present battle of life by forgetting about it. So it is necessary to preserve for India the knowledge, noble thought, and good character that it has possessed since time immemorial. We must obtain the best for her.
Spiritual Education Concept
“Man cannot rest indefinitely until he achieves some highest good.”
“To fulfil God in life is to be a man.”-Aurobindo Ghosh.
Spiritual education should teach students to recognise the connection between spirit and matter so that they can see both material and spiritual life rationally. A spiritual education would prepare the student to face life with greater faith and an integral outlook. His perception of life’s problems will not be solely based on their outward appearance. Spiritual development will be possible by utilising a tracking system.
Aurobindo was involved in Yoga for approximately 45 years out of the 75-year period. He developed affirmation and affirming the reality of the world for the ultimate point and socio-political action from a spiritual standpoint.
He was sovereignly aware of the significance of differences in the concept of man, his life and destiny, of the nation and humanity, and the life of the human race, which are reflected in the respective philosophies of education, and he developed his scheme on the holistic system of education that led to progressing soul, self-creation, and future need. He saw man as an individual soul with a conscious mind and nature as self and spirit.
Below, I’ve attempted to explain Aurobindo’s spiritualism and life management.
One of the universities in the United States conducted a survey among successful people in various fields to determine the reasons for their success. It was surprising to learn that their academic achievements (Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer, Arts, Commerce, Science graduate, Chartered accountants, MBA or any other degree…) contributed only 13 per cent to their success, with the remaining big number 87 per cent being what? The answer is ‘Life Management,’ and neither our parents nor our schools teach us how to do so. The New Education Policy emphasises both aspects of our lives.
What exactly is ‘Life Management?’
It entails managing ourselves in various situations, such as managing life’s ups and downs, difficult and stressful situations, anger and fear management, material and spiritual growth through ethical means, leadership qualities, discrimination between Dharma and Adharma, our responsibility to society and country, and nurturing the environment. Unfortunately, most of us were never properly educated by any societal faculty.
Most parents and schools are concerned with obtaining good grades/marks in exams and completing their education in order to obtain a degree of any kind. We have never placed a premium on important aspects of life such as mind management, character development, positive attitude formation, maintaining equanimity in all situations, and right thinking and actions toward society and country. Creativity, research, and innovation are used to sharpen and develop intellect. Understanding the ego through spiritual techniques and memory enhancement. So what happens is that it has become difficult for many people in society to handle success in an effective way over time, while failures are even more difficult to handle, resulting in mental issues, a loss of confidence, and a loss of hope, particularly among our youth.
Mind management is a complicated subject; when we achieve success, it elevates our EGO, takes us away from the ground and subtle reality, and has an impact on our relationships with our loved ones. We’ve all heard that ‘success is directly proportional to criticism,’ which means that the more successful you are, the more you are criticised. Many people in society will make fun of you, insult you, cast doubt on your character, and so on. It is difficult to sustain success for an extended period of time if the mind is weak. So, how do you deal with both constructive and destructive criticism?
Why is Mind Management so critical?
The course of action is determined by your state of mind (weak or strong); a weak mind will never channel your energy for higher purposeful goals, whereas a strong mind will always look for different opportunities in difficult situations with joy to reach higher goals.
Since childhood, our minds have been programmed to believe that challenges, difficulties, and problems are bad and that we should avoid them, and a false notion has been implanted in our minds that only academic studies can keep you away from these situations so study hard. Let me be clear: education/studies are very important; don’t dismiss them, but they will prevent difficulties, ups and downs in life, which is a big joke on our youth.
Allow them to understand that life is a mix of good and bad, right and wrong, happiness and sadness, positives and negatives, heroes and villains, success and failure, opportunities and difficulties, peace and disturbance, and everything is complimentary. The issue is that we constantly remind ourselves that one aspect of life is good and the other is bad and can be avoided. How can we avoid the part that brings out inner potentials that we inherit but never realise, that makes us strong, experienced, creative, innovative, demonstrates how important our life is, and improves our management skills? You will agree that we only learn to live life when we face difficulties.
Gurukul System: During the Vedic period, students were taught various subjects as well as how to live a cultured and disciplined life.
The Gurukul system’s importance in modern times
The emphasis of Gurukuls was on teaching students in a natural setting where the disciples lived with each other with goodwill, humanity, love, and discipline. The most important lessons were in subjects such as language, science, and mathematics, which were taught through group discussions, self-study, and so on. Not only that, but an emphasis was placed on overall personality development through arts, sports, crafts, singing, various technical and managerial skills, leadership qualities, and a variety of other skills that enhanced their intelligence and critical thinking. Yoga, meditation, mantra chanting, and other similar activities provided them with positivity and peace of mind while also keeping them physically, mentally, and socially fit. It was also required that they perform daily responsibilities on their own with the goal of instilling practical skills in them. All of this aided in the development of their personalities and increased their confidence, sense of discipline, intellect, and mindfulness, all of which are required even today to face the challenges of the future ecosphere.
This new national education policy echoes Aurobindo’s words exactly. This policy seeks to develop the individual as a whole human being, complete with moral values, character, knowledge, skills, creativity, and innovation, as well as a leader with sportsmanship and teamwork.
The entire policy will be implemented gradually over the decade, beginning in 2021-22. As a result, we must persevere and support government ingenuity in every school and college. Every parent, student, teacher, and other stakeholder plays an important role; without their support, it will be difficult to implement effectively and qualitatively.
• The implementation process of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, is set to hit top gear with a live dashboard being set up by the Ministry of Education to monitor its progress, beginning June 2021 onwards.
• The Human Resource Development Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Education.
• The Ministry has identified 181 tasks that will have to be completed under NEP 2020.
• CBSE has announced to implement semester pattern exam for 9th till 12th standard from the current year.
• Budget allocated by the central government for research and development for final year graduate students; every year budget would be increased to build graduates with research and innovative ability.
Let’s see some of the key plugs of NEP which is going to change the future of our generations to make us global knowledge and skill powerhouse.
• Professional Education will be an integral part of the higher education system. Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities, or institutions in these or other fields will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.
• Ensuring Universal Access at All Levels of schooling from pre-primary school to Grade 12
• Ensuring quality early childhood care and education for all children between 3-6 years
• Introducing New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure (5+3+3+4), the number of years to complete 12th remains the same.
• Emphasis on promoting multilingualism and Indian languages; The medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother-tongue/local language/regional language
• Setting up of a new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development)
• Providing Exposure to vocational education in school and the higher education system
• Robust and transparent processes for recruitment of teachers and merit-based performance
• Introducing Holistic Multidisciplinary Education with multiple entry/exit options
• Setting up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities(MERUs)
• Setting up of National Research Foundation(NRF)
• Framing ‘Light but Tight’ regulation
• Introducing multiple mechanisms with checks and balances to combat and stop the commercialisation of higher education.
• Establishing a National Mission for Mentoring.
• Establishment of Academic Bank of Credit
• Ensuring availability of all resources through school complexes and clusters
• Introducing Common Entrance Exam for Admission to HEIs to be offered by NTA
• Ensuring no hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams;
• Establishing National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
• The new education system will place a greater emphasis on experiential learning, skill development, knowledge enhancement, sports-integrated education, and the development of creative and innovative abilities. Ex: Vocational training beginning in sixth grade, a ten-day bag-free period, and the use of some vacation days to improve knowledge and various skills in order to change the mindset and develop a creative and innovative attitude.
• Changes in higher education that are aligned with industry, business, or professional requirements in engineering, medical, law, and so on will assist our students in developing themselves as job creators, making it easier for them to find jobs, and generating a large number of innovators and creators to attract global investors and consumers.
• Local language also aids a country’s cultural and economic development. When we look at the top 20 nations in terms of GDP, we can see that many of them prioritise their native language. This approach will undoubtedly assist us in achieving more economically and culturally while using English as a global communication language.
• The Sanskrit language is given prominence once more, which is important for cultural, scientific, and intellectual development. Because of the benefits it has on memory and intellect, many universities around the world have begun to teach Sanskrit.
Everyone must keep the interests of millions of students in mind and support this policy in its execution without reservation, and they must not be pessimistic about previous policy decisions and their poor implementation. The current situation is different; each action is started professionally with commitment and belonging.
Let us channel our energy for the benefit of our children and future generations.
Why Macaulay’s British Education system is not worth continuing?
The consequences of our current educational system include an increase in unemployment, brain drain, a lack of innovation and creativity among children when compared to children in developed countries, a lack of ability to adapt to new science and technology, a decrease in confidence and hope for the future, losing moral values and character, which leads to mental health issues and suicide.
The New National Education Policy: NEP 2020 is primarily concerned with developing each student’s overall personality. If implemented openly by all schools, colleges, and universities, it will undoubtedly develop future generations in the manner that everyone expects. Youths who are confident, energetic, joyful, committed, research and innovation-oriented, and multi-talented will restore glory to our great nation. We will excel not only economically but also in a variety of other areas, including sports, innovation, space research, social health, defence, educating the world on various dimensions, and environmental protection.
It was critical to making radical changes in our education system in order to provide a good life for our future generations and to stand firmly in a competitive world in order to uplift the economy and develop new technologies through innovative and creative ideas that tapped into the talent and skills of our youths maintaining ethics and great character.
Aurobindo’s dream of education that includes ancient knowledge and modern science can be realised if we work hard to create a new ‘Bharat’ that makes the world superior socially, culturally, and economically.