The word “education” in its most literal sense means “to bring forth”. The essence of education lies in drawing from the mind its intrinsic potential for understanding. For centuries, education has led to the evolution of an unlettered child into a mature and responsible adult. However, the modern formal education is facing grave challenges that question its very existence. Children tend to consider school as an exercise in patience than an adventure in learning. The standard classroom experience makes them restless and many of them find an escape in drugs, sexual experimentation & outbursts of violence. In the absence of a meaningful alternative, the key stakeholders - children, teachers & parents, tend to suppress their dissatisfaction and accept the flaws in the current set-up.
In India, the contemporary system of education has been driven by colonial and political forces. Focus of ...view middle of the document...
The pupil is “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, diploma with competence and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security and rat race for productive work. In a quest for globalization and modernization, the policy framers blindly accept the western education system, which ends up creating a sense of inferiority in the natives towards their own culture, language and traditions. The modern education setup may be characterised by exclusion of indigenous knowledge and traditional skills as well as lack of basic ethics and values.
In this paper, we shall address these concerns by delving deep into the Buddhist value systems and the Gandhian philosophy. The Buddha provides a model for education in which the heart and mind are inextricably connected. It is the basis for a truly holistic philosophy of education. The Buddhist path is about the cultivation of the mind, which is termed as “bhavana”. We therefore shall aim at establishing Buddhism as a psychology rather than a religion by providing scientific and logical rationale behind such a moral value system. The risk of presenting Buddhism purely in "here's what you get out of it" terms is that it can seem to look like a technique for self-improvement, or self-control, when it actually is about self-letting-go, a deep dissembling from which a new understanding can come. Such a value system shall foster attention skills, reduce aggression, and increase pro-social behaviour and relational abilities, as well as protect against anxiety and depression. Education that genuinely embraces the concept of holistic development of a child and that has at its heart loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity (the brahma viharas) is the kind that can transform the lives of the children and young people in its care and ultimately bring peace and happiness in the society.