Gandhi and Education: Theoretical and Practical Approaches to Conceptualising School Education in Modern Society

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Achala GUPTA, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Influence of neo-liberal ideology on school education has impacted delivery, provisioning, and outcome of global practices of formal teaching and learning. The core issue, however, lies within conceptualising “education” per se, i.e. what does education mean to the educators and recipient of education. Contemporary scholarship in sociology of education does engage with this aspect but it fails to challenge prevalent notion of the purpose of educating. Its imperative, therefore, to examine the definition of education and explore multiple ways education may be construed across cultures and by a range of theorists. Moreover, it is pressing to provide a transnational perspective on education in order to understand global inequality in society as well as provide alternative trajectory to educational development.

With such background, this paper is an attempt to engage with education theorising and its practical implication through Gandhi’s perspective. Gandhi—a global figure in international politics—was a philosopher as well as a practitioner of peace, morals, and education. His conceptualisation of Nayi Talim(new education) is informed by not only his philosophical ideas but also his practice of educating in a formal institution of learning.

The paper is organised into three sections. The first section outlines the prevalent notion of education through suggesting the need for transnational mobility of ideas (Connell, 2014) in order to address the issues and concerns pertaining to modern education globally. The second section discusses Gandhi’s theoretical conceptualisation of education along with the possibility of practical implementation of such conceptualising. Finally, while suggesting how Gandhi’s thoughts on education may provide an alternative way of doing and thinking about education, I examine its relevance to the discourse within contemporary scholarship of sociology of education.