Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi thought alike about education?

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Question In many ways, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi thought alike about education. However, they also had differences.” Explain. – 22 December 2021

Answer Both Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore saw education as a tool for the development of human mind and consciousness and believed that the process of being literate or simply reading and writing cannot be considered education.

In this context Thoughts of Gandhiji:

  • Mahatma Gandhi believed that colonial education developed a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians. Due to this they started considering western culture as superior and they lost their sense of pride in their culture. As a result educated Indians started praising the British rule.
  • He laid great emphasis on the fact that the medium of instruction should be the Indian language, as English education could not connect the masses with each other.
  • Western education, in his view, focused on reading and writing (i.e. theoretical knowledge) rather than on actual experiences and practical knowledge, and therefore lacked skill development.

Tagore’s thoughts:

  • According to Tagore, the emphasis should be on self-study in childhood rather than the rigid and limited discipline of the school education system.
  • The teacher should be more imaginative to understand the child so as to help him develop his curiosity.
  • In his view, creative education can be encouraged only in the natural environment.
  • He also stressed on the need to provide science and technology education along with art, music and dance education in Santiniketan.

Similarities in their views:

  • Both believed that education is necessary as a means of integrated development of human personality.
  • Both believed that education should be linked with practical knowledge and special attention should be paid to the importance of mother tongue in education.
  • Both criticized the colonial education system.

Disparities in their views:

  • Mahatma Gandhi was a bitter critic of Western education, but Rabindranath Tagore wanted to integrate the best elements of Western education into the Indian education system.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was critical of machines and technology, while Rabindranath Tagore believed in the teaching of modern science along with traditional knowledge.
  • Tagore adopted Plato’s method of creating curiosity as a means of education, but Mahatma Gandhi believed in ‘learning by activity’ through his concept of “Nai Talim”.

Thus, there were both similarities and dissimilarities between Tagore’s and Gandhi’s views on education. His views in this regard were influenced by his different socio-cultural backgrounds, political views and life experiences.

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