What is Gandhi's influence on modern education?

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rrjrobinson1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mahatma Gandhi learned from his education experiences in other cultures (English, South Africa and India) and developed a distinct viewpoint on the modern educational system. The ideas he proposed have influenced the aims, methods, curriculum and discipline of modern education.

Gandhi believed that only through education could a society excel and improve. He thought that a poor education would lead to the downfall of people.

Gandhi believed that a country demonstrates what it values by what is selected to be educated. He said the fact that South Africa does not educate females implies that South Africa does not value females.

He also was against schools’ devaluing his native tongue. He disliked forcing the people of India to learn and communicate only in English, instead of their native language. He was a firm believer that one of the aims of education was to pass a cultural heritage down to other generations.

Mahatma Gandhi did not like machines; he believed that each task could be completed by hand. He did not view vocational training as dreaded, menial labor. According to him, skilled labor would lead to a job for the graduate. Any handmade crafts produced as part of the curriculum brought in needed funds to the school.

Gandhi believed in co-operation between student and teacher. He felt that the teacher should learn alongside the student and continue learning from the student.

Portions of Gandhi’s beliefs have been incorporated into modern curriculum and education. Now, efforts are being made to provide free, universal education for every child, regardless of gender. Many schools also include some type of specialized training.

The specialized training could provide alternate income. Because of a continuous government shortfall on financing education, many schools have embraced corporate sponsorship and sought other funding sources.

Traditional teacher-led student learning has taken a back seat in teacher education courses. Modern teacher training courses include a section that encourages students to learn from someone other than the teacher.

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