Education that seeds an evolution in consciousness

“Education is a man-making process, it explores the innate power that exists within man, it is not an imposition, but a liberal process that provides utmost freedom for development. Education in the true sense is helping the individual to be mature and free, to flower greatly in love and goodness. That is what we should be interested in, and not in shaping the child according to some idealistic pattern.” ~ J.Krishnamurthy

Creates Self-Driven Learners for Life

Self-driven learning becomes alive when we believe in the infinite potential of ourselves and that of others, to provide nurturance to enable a construction of knowledge – which is already within. “The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught and the second, that, the mind has to be consulted in its own growth”, as shared by Sri Aurobindo in his synthesis of integral education. Formal education systems tend to emphasize the acquisition of knowledge to the detriment of other types of learning. In self-driven learning, it is he himself who must be induced to expand in accordance with his own nature.

Education throughout life holds the key to this progressive construction and unveiling. Education throughout life, as the Faure report suggests, means that every one of us has to be an educator and learner alternately throughout our lives. Lifelong education encompasses both formal and all the non formal systems, too, where learning, work experience, social life and citizenship are closely intertwined from a very early age. Education becomes based on four pillars of learning : learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be, as according to Delors report.

“Education should ensure the all-round development of the individual and make him or her capable of achieving self-fulfillment in a pluralist society” ~ International-Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century

Grows consciousness with development of ‘whole’ self

The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole. It helps the child to develop all facets of his personality and awaken his latent possibilities so that he acquires – a strong, supple, healthy, beautiful body – a sensitive, emotionally refined, energetic personality – a wide-ranging, lively intelligence and will – the subtler spiritual qualities that unify and harmonise the being around the child’s inmost Truth or Soul. This is about educating the whole person (all parts of the person), educating the person as a whole (not as an assemblage of parts), and educating the person within a whole (as part of society, humanity, nature, etc.) from which it is not meaningful to extract that person.

Learning to be, is as better to develop one’s personality and be able to act with ever greater autonomy, judgement and personal responsibility. It starts with the idea of building self awareness and self observation[8]. Krishnamurthy often spoke to his students of the importance of a quiet mind or silence so that they could observe their thoughts, insisting that schools have spaces for silence. Going from what is within(near) to far, creates a natural condition for genuine development to realizing oneself. 

“Taken as a whole vocations are the best mediums for all-round development of a boy and girl and therefore the syllabus should be woven around vocational training, primary education thus conceived as whole is bound to be self-supporting “ ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Integrates the continuum of life with work

Education is needed to provide a response to the different needs of the economy and working life in order to contribute to the progress of society. In April, 1935, Mahatma Gandhi founded the Sevagram Ashram, 11 miles away from Wardha where he conceived the idea of his new system of education. Learning by doing and co-operation were the means of gaining experiences for the children of age range from 6 to 16. He advocated a self-supporting education which will turn them into a self-sufficient entity and this education will be a kind of insurance against unemployment. As such, he introduced craft-centred education to meet the requirements of pupils and society calling for  a harmonious development of human personality in a balanced manner-hand, head and heart.

Learning to do, in order to acquire not only an occupational skill but also, more broadly, the competence to deal with many situations and work in teams is an important meta skill of the 21st century.  As a society – ensuring technical progress, bringing it under control and spreading it, would increase its capacity for innovation. According to Howard Gartner the specific cognitive abilities that will be sought and cultivated by leaders in the years ahead [9] would need 5 kinds of minds- The Disciplinary Mind, The Synthesizing Mind, The Creating Mind, The Respectful Mind, The Ethical Mind.

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Expands collective consciousness fostering Oneness 

Education is not just to train individuals but social beings who are capable of communicating, engaging in dialogue and living as citizens, and hence of discharging responsibilities.  Thus, countering inequality of opportunity, education is a bridge to provide support for mutual co-operation between all human beings and to teach people to know one another, regardless of differences of religion, race and language. MK Gandhi synthesized the individual and social aims of education aspiring for a society in which all individuals will have to play their part for the good of the whole without losing their individual characters and identities.

Organizations today distinguish star performers (not alone on cognitive skills), but on the basis of such individuals being more confident, more disciplined, more empathic, more socially adept (e.g., a persuasive team member). Pioneers in social-emotional learning and systems thinking – Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge suggest building a triple focus on one’s awareness, on others(building competencies of empathy, communication, persuasion, and teamwork) and on systems to create leaders/children with a vision and perspective to apply this lens to varied contexts. By developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence – we learn to carry joint projects and manage conflicts – in a spirit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding and peace. This is how we can learn to work and live together as a society.

References

  1. Report of International-Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century, UNESCO, 1993
  2. On Integral Education, Sri Aurobindo and the mother
  3. Krishnamurthy on Education, J Krishnamurthy
  4. Towards new Education, MK Gandhi
  5. The right kind of education, J Krishnamurthy
  6. Schools that learn, Context and Engagement, Peter Senge
  7. Rethinking Education, Towards a common good, UNESCO
  8. The case for teaching emotional literacy in schools, Daniel Goleman
  9. Five minds of the future, Howard Gardner