Guiding Light of The Month

OH, let Light be poured on all the earth and Peace inhabit every heart. . . Almost all know only the material life heavy, inert, conservative, obscure; their vital forces are so tied to this physical form of existence that, even when left to themselves and outside the body, they are still solely occupied with these material contingencies that are yet so harassing and painful. . . - The Mother

From the Editor’s Desk

We continue with the theme of education. In our last issue, we began pondering over how schooling is pursued. In this issue, we continue with the same, pondering over this business of school.
Education has become a system in many countries worldwide. It is fondly and officiously referred to as the “Education System”. A system in this sense is “an organised scheme or method”; or even a set of laws and rules that guide the process of education. Education has been aligned to take up massive numbers of children and guiding them on a certain path, schooling them in certain techniques of letters and numbers and equipping them with skills for particular jobs or vocation. An enterprise taken up en-masse inevitably strives best when systematised, organised and run according to rules, laws and regulations. We are all too familiar with such an educational system and in all probability, have been giving it undue merits.

Such a system becomes problematic when it does not serve its intended purpose. This normally happens in any system that is cast in stone, too rigid to bend to the changing needs of individuals. It fails to serve its purpose, grinds to a painful halt and becomes obsolete, needing to be cast away. It is happy news when education systems attempt changes every now and then to accommodate changing needs of the times. However, perhaps it is too early to rejoice and welcome these changes. Perhaps something at the heart of education is missed? What is the high aim of education? We know only too well the consequences of being entrenched in the utilitarian view of education. Perhaps a radical soul searching is timely. What is the education that would bring out the best in the child, making him a confident, happy person who knows his strengths, who is master of, and is conscious of,  himself and all around him. Even to imagine what a life his would be and what a life he would create around him sends waves of delight within.

Perhaps as the world is, so too the education “system”. But it does appear that the heavy focus on “utilitarian” aims of education are showing their marks on our children and on the society that is forming. Flipping the pages of the daily brings before our eyes dire states of social decadence and deprivation, of the life of individuals tipped off the balance, of a general void taking up spaces of freedom, joy, beauty and all things valued by life, valued in and by the human. More and more is there felt a need for change in the way education is practiced. Alternate educational methods sprout here and there to counter the threats of conventional education. The worst threat from traditional mainstream education is the threat to individuality, a threat to the child knowing his unique person and potentials. However, the success of the alternative system depends largely on how encompassing they are in approaching the development of the whole human individual.
In this time and age, the integral method of education is worth consideration; it stands as a promise of remedy to an ailing existence worldwide; and not only a mere remedy but a transforming agent, catholic in its heart, that builds the foundation of an enlightened era. It does not rest on traditions, or on the strengths of the teacher or the faithfulness of the taught. None of these feature in this method of education. It is an approach conceived from depths far below, heights far above, breathes way beyond human conception and stands on the bedrock of an inner subtle element, the soul.
The juxtaposing of the alternate against conventional education continues.

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