Rabindranath Tagore’s Education System, Aims of Education
Education system of Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore was primarily an educationist, rather than a political thinker. He put emphasis on ‘naturalism’ for framing educational model. In education, freedom is the basic guiding force for inculcating interest within a student who will deprive inspiration from nature to pursue any branch of knowledge he likes. Tagore’s education marked a novel blending of the ideas of the East and West. The spiritualism of Indian philosophy and progressive outlook of the western people were blended together to give rise to an educational philosophy which marked its distinction in comparison to other educationists of India. Tagore envisaged that nature is the best teacher. No pressure should be exerted upon the student to learn. It is nature which will be the guiding force to inculcate the spirit of learning in the mind of a student to pursue the type of education he likes. It will shape his behaviour and character.
The establishment of ‘Shanti Niketan’ fulfilled the desired goal of Tagore in the educational field. He rejected book-centered education for students. To him it is not fair to confine the minds of boys and girls to text-books only. It will kill the natural instincts of a student and make him bookish. It will kill his creative skills. Students should be freed from the book centered education and should be given a broader avenue for learning. According to him, education should be for the heart. He explained freedom in three ways, i.e. freedom of heart, freedom of intellect and freedom of will.
According to Tagore, teaching should be practical and real, but not artificial and theoretical. Tagore attached great importance to the fine arts in his educational curriculum. To him, games, dance, music, drama, painting, etc. should form a part of educational process. Students should take active part in these finer aspects of human life as they are very essential to enrich the soul. In his words, “Speaking is for mankind and music is for nature. Speaking is clear and limited by its needs; whereas music is mystic and expressive for romantic eagerness.” Tagore was aware about the rural poverty of our country. So, he wanted to eradicate it through education. The vocational training imparted in different crafts to the students would make them skilled artisans in their field. They can remove the poverty of the rural bulk by applying their education, helping thereby in the process of rural reconstruction. Tagore’s system of education emphasizes upon the intellectual, physical, social, moral economic and spiritual aspects of human life. Education can develop a new pattern of life. This can culminate in the realization of universal men, by which a man can develop an integrated personality. Tagore’s theory of education is marked by naturalistic and aesthetic values. He had a belief that “The widest road leading to the solution of all our problems is education.”
Aims of Education
The aims of education, as reflected in educational institution ‘Shanti Niketan’, founded by Rabindranath Tagore are as follows:
Self-realization is an important aim of education. Manifestation of personality depends upon the self-realization and spiritual knowledge has been reflected in Tagore’s educational philosophy.
Tagore also greatly emphasized intellectual development of the child. By intellectual development, he means development of imagination, creative free thinking, constant curiosity and alertness of the mind. Child should be free to adopt his own style of learning which will lead to his all-round development.
Tagore’s educational philosophy also aims at the physical development of the child. He gave much importance to sound and healthy physique. There were different kinds of exercises. Yoga, games and sports were prescribed in Shanti Niketan as integral part of the education system.
Love for Humanity-
Tagore held that the entire universe is one family. Education can teach people to realize oneness of the globe. Education for international understanding and universal brotherhood is another important aim of his educational philosophy. The feeling of oneness can be developed through the concepts like fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man to prove that all creatures are equal on this earth.
Establishment of relationship between Man and God-
Man bears the diverse qualities and potentialities offered by God. These qualities are inborn and innate. The relationship between man and God is strong and permanent. However, the dedication to spiritualism and sacredness will lead to a harmonious relationship between man, nature and God.
Freedom is considered as an integral aspect of human development, Education id a man-making process, it explores the innate power exists within the man. It is not imposition, rather a liberal process, which provides utmost freedom to the individual for his all-round development. He says, “Education has meaning only when it is imparted through the path of freedom.”
Co-relation of Objects-
Co-relation exists among God, man and nature. A peaceful world is only possible when relation between man and nature will be established.
Mother tongue as the medium of Instruction-
Language is the true vehicle of self-expression. Man can freely express his thought in his mother tongue. Tagore emphasized upon mother tongue as the medium of instruction for the child’s education.
Moral and Spiritual Development-
Tagore emphasized moral and spiritual training in his educational thoughts. Moral and spiritual education is more important than bookish knowledge for an integral development of human personality. There must be adequate provision for the development of philanthropic activities, co-operation and love for fellow feeling and sharing among the students in educational institutions.
According to Tagore, “Brahma” the supreme soul manifests himself through men and other creatures. Since he is the source of all human-beings and creatures, so all are equal. Rabindranath Tagore therefore said, “Service to man is service to God”. All should develop social relationship and fellow feeling from the beginnings of one’s life. Education aims at developing the individual personality as well as social characters which enables him to live as a worthy being.
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