A Glimpse of Holistic Education
Whatever good or bad that you see today in the society is directly linked to the kind of education we give to our children.
‘India is still one of the most illiterate countries of the world. We have around 300 million illiterates. And of those who are literate, not even half of them are educated in the real sense. Half of the literates are not employable in any industry even though the education imparted is only for employment.’
The basic definition of Literacy is having the ability to read and write. We have the Right to Education Act and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan Programme in India. But are they well implemented?
The important points to ponder in our current education scenario are:
- Does our education system allow learners to discover self with the limited assessment mostly comprising paper- pencil tests?
- Will our students lead a better life learning life skills i.e. the skills of problem solving, critical thinking or team working or by just mugging up facts and scoring well in exams will guarantee success in life?
- Are health, happiness, hygiene and discipline not important in one’s life?
Should teachers and parents not spend time on inculcating discipline, values and responsible behaviour in children?
- Are we preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow?
One of the major shortcomings of our education system is that it is focussed on intellectual development of the student through academic instruction. Education is not merely for scoring marks, getting degrees or jobs or earning a livelihood but it is about building a good human being, a responsible citizen and a person who can handle the challenges of life in healthy, acceptable and responsible ways.
Mahatma Gandhi’s views on education were ‘Education is the systematic process of training of the head, hand and heart (3-H) Head – learning to know; Hand – learning to earn a livelihood, and Heart – learning to be’. The need is to have an education system that makes people better human beings; that enables them to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, education, health, security and self-esteem, infusing the society with a sense of vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the whole world is a family and the earth is a common habitat).
Mahatma Gandhi’s views on education were focused on an all-round education, not just literacy. He stressed on the development of a child as a whole, not just the mind.
Wounded children become wounded adults and can destroy themselves and possibly others. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. It is very rightly said ‘Building up a child is easier than it is to repair an adult.’ Thus teachers and parents have a very big role to play in a child’s life.
Education is a systematic process through which a child acquires knowledge, experience, skills and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined and cultured. Education is the only means towards a civilized and socialized society. Every society gives importance to education because it is a panacea for all evils. It is the key to solve various problems of life.
Education should have a balance of knowledge, attitudes, skills and values. It should build courage, confidence and self-esteem in a person. It should teach discipline and ability to control one’s thoughts, feelings and actions for a healthy character and personality. Education should develop a person holistically. The school curriculum and activities should be planned to develop a person physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and also spiritually.
‘The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion — is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs’, Swami Vivekanand.
In the current scenario, we find students and society lack empathy and respect. The growing crime rates, frequently reported cases of rape and molestation shock us. For holistic personality development, we should train children on responsible behaviour, health and hygiene, food and nutrition, gender equality, values, discipline, discernment between right and wrong decisions, safety issues, etc. We need to challenge their abilities to think creatively and critically. Promoting sports and cultural activities add value to learning. Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. ‘Education is not learning of facts but training of the mind to think’ was rightly observed by Albert Einstein. Education prepares one for a productive life.
Meenu Bhargava is a Post Graduate in Psychology from Jodhpur University. She has a rich experience of 30 years in the field of Counseling and training. She is a freelance practitioner and is involved in teacher training, parenting seminars and student workshops. Her clients are from play schools to reputed senior secondary schools and colleges across India.
She has contributed to the society and schools with her counseling programmes, career fairs and psychometric assessments. She believes that the best quality of a teacher is her willingness to learn from all be it children, books or technology. Meenu runs her own Counseling Centre at Kaushambi( Ghaziabad)