In recent times higher education in developing countries has been seen as primarily ‘application-oriented’ and geared to the demands of rapidly expanding markets. At the same time, concern about the role of education in developing values for sustainable human development, has grown. The philosophy of “Basic Education”, developed by Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), seems to combine these two elements—technical and humanizing. The educational theory that he drew from it, no doubt in the historical and social context of colonialism in India, emphasized the integration of fact and value, cognition and affect, the subject and the object, the learner/ human being and her environment and nature. In contrast to the absolute claims to truth and knowledge of modern science, Gandhi stressed the contextuality and relativity of all human knowledge. Education and ‘training’, according to Gandhi, are organically linked, and based on the fundamental as¬sumption of the goodness of human beings and an awareness of the impact of all actions on oneself, society and nature. His vision, radical at that time, is in consonance with what various post-modern approaches advocate as humane and sustainable, and provides a framework for examining the role of humanities education in the development of humanistic values. This paper is based on the experiences of ten rural institutions which have applied Gandhi’s theory to a three-year rural studies humanities degree programme for at least 20 years. While the pressure to focus on job-oriented education has been severe, the model is trying to evolve into a humanities-technical education mix that aims at developing ‘socially conscious’ entrepreneurship and a greater focus on learning from people’s knowledge.
|Keywords:||Humanistic Education, Values in Education|
Associate Professor, Ravi J. Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, Indian Institute of Management, India
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