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Basic Education of Mahatma Gandhi b.ed notes | Features of Basic Education


Characteristics of Basic Education

1. Education through a Handicraft:

The chief aim of Basic education was to make a student self-reliant by enabling him to use his acquired knowledge and skill in practical affairs of life.

So in the Basic Education Scheme an attempt has been made to establish on direct relationship between knowledge and life.

For a happy life it is necessary for an individual to have an ability to earn his own living.

Therefore knowledge should also be an instrument for earning a living.

However, it will be wrong to construe that the chief purpose of Basic education has been to make a child a machine for earning money, because then the very purpose of education will be defeated.

Any education has to be given through a medium, whether it is a language or nature study.

Handicraft has been made the medium for Basic education with the hope that the education imparted in this manner would be practically materially useful and permanent in life.

The handicraft to be chosen as a medium should have atleast three qualities.


Firstly, the article produced through the handicraft should be educationally meaningful.

Secondly, the chosen handicraft should be according to the interest of the child and should be useful for his life.

Thirdly, the handicraft to be chosen should be such as to permit teaching of the other subjects around it.

Mahatma Gandhi wanted that a handicraft should be taught in a scientific method and not in a mechanical fashion.

By the scientific method he meant that the child should be able to understand the relationship between cause and effect.

2. Ideal Citizenship:

It has been an aim of Basic education to develop the traits of ideal citizenship in the child in order that he may fulfill his duties to the nation and society in the long run.

Therefore, under the Basic Education Scheme provision has been made to educate the child into the responsibilities and rights of an ideal citizen in an organised manner.

3. The Ideal of Self-reliance :

This ideal has aroused some controversy amongst the educationists of the country. But this controversy has been misplaced and misconstrued.

It is true that one of the chief aims of Basic education has been to install in the child a spirit of self-reliance, but at the same time the objective has been also to ensure his physical and mental development.

At the start Mahatma Gandhi realised that education was suffering from want of money.

So he advised that the articles prepared by children in schools should be sold in market in order to cover up a partial expenditure of their education.


Mahatma Gandhi had thought that gradually the competition, if any, between the traders and school prepared articles would disappear.

However the idea of earning money through children's prepared articles in the school has been dropped, as it has been rightly decided that children must not be considered as money-earning sources.

So the criticism against the Basic Education Scheme that it wants to make education self-dependent through children producing saleable articles holds no water, now.

4. The Child-The Centre of Education :

Under the Basic Education Scheme it is the child who is the centre of education.

The handicraft has to be used only as a means.

The aim of education is to promote the full development of personality and the handicraft is to be used as a powerful means to further it.

This medium is useful as well a interesting to children.

Hence it will be wrong to say that under the Basic Education Scheme handicraft is the centre of education.

5. Full and Systematic Knowledge :

Under the Basic Education Scheme knowledge is given in an organised and systematic manner.

Nothing is imposed on the child against his wishes.

Spinning and Weaving under the Basic Education Scheme is just a medium.

The child who offers this medium is also taught how cotton is produced and what type of soil is suitable for it.

The child is also taught the measure of sun and water required for cotton.

Similarly, all particulars about cotton production is fully explained.

He is also told about the cotton mills in different parts of the country. He is also taught its history.


Thus in the process of spinning and weaving the child is taught the relevant portion of history, geography, mathematics, general science, trade and agriculture.

If a child happens to take up pottery, leather or wood-work or any other handicraft as the medium he is also taught history, geography, agriculture, mathematics, science and trade in a relevant manner.

6. Flexible Curriculum and Free Atmosphere:

The flexibility of the curriculum and the free atmosphere for the child to perform according to his own capacity are other remarkable features of Basic education.

Under this Scheme the teacher and the students are free to work according to their interest and there is no compulsion for completing a prescribed portion due to fear of examinations.

Necessary changes may be introduced in the curriculum if a situation so demands.

Thus whatever the child learns according to his interest and capacity is permanently remembered by him.

The teacher is also free to organise the necessary atmosphere for the development of the child, as he is under no compulsion to complete a prescribed course of study.

Basic Education of Mahatma Gandhi 

Basic education is basically practical / behavioral and the child learns a number of subjects simultaneously. Basic education is based on activities and experiences, so it is known within a short period of time.

The educational system for children is as follows:

  •  Firstly, the children are taught the mother tongue through story and conversation.
  •  With a knowledge of mother tongue, children first learn how to read and write.
  •  Along with studies, children acquire the knowledge of some basic craft.
  •  As the child reaches further classes, he gets to know about various subjects.
  •  Natural environment, social environment and handicrafts are well known to children.
  •  The child chooses handicrafts according to his tastes.


Principles of Basic Education of Gandhiji

 The basic principles of basic education are: -

Education for all - first and foremost principle of basic education is education for all. To erase ignorance and education and to spread the light of education and knowledge is the first duty of this education.

Self - reliant - In the development of self - reliance - basic education, vocational education has been taught to make children self - reliant by teaching them some handicrafts as well as education. Thus this education can also inspire children to become self - reliant.

Free and compulsory education - one of the major goals of basic education is to provide free and compulsory education to all children. In this connection, our constitution states that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children until they have completed the age of 14 years.

Social development - basic education is to develop a society in which selfish exploitation, hatred, love, affection, cooperation and a spirit of non - violence is replaced by hatred. Such a society can be built only through basic education.

The development of the mother tongue, said by a scholar, must destroy the mother tongue if it is to destroy the culture and society of the country. That is why English has not been given a place in basic education and only the mother tongue has been given the primacy.

The importance of Labour:  the importance of Labour is important in basic education and handicrafts also contributes to physical Labour. It also increases the means of income, gandhiji said that the rational use of the body parts of the child is the best way of developing his mind.

Features of basic education of Mahatma Gandhi 

Basic education has many features, some of which are prominent as follows:

  •  The course of education up to class 5 is in the form of co - education.
  •  The arrangements for the education of the child and the girl child are different after class 5.
  •  Home science education of girls can be accepted as a substitute for basic craft in the sixth and seventh classes.
  •  For the seventh and eighth classes Sanskrit, commerce, modern Indian literature, etc. are subjects.
  •  Mother tongue is the medium of instruction but Hindi as national language is mandatory.
  •  The level of the course is of the level of the present monetary.
  •  English and religion have no place in the curriculum.

Training method of basic education 

Education and teacher have an important place in basic education institutions. Persons are appointed as teachers in the areas where schools are located.

Education is imparted through basic crafts by the teacher and local and geographical needs are taken care of in selection of crafts.

Trained teachers are appointed in basic schools. The success of such schools depends on teachers. So teachers need two types of training -

  •  Long term training which is of a period of 3 years.
  •  Short term training that is for a period of 1 year.

Curriculum of Basic Education 

Basic education curriculum are as follows:

1. Basic arts
  •  agriculture
  •  Function of timber
  •  Spinning weaving
  •  Leather work
  •  Soil work
  •  Book art
  •  Fish farming
  •  floriculture
  •  Nine planetary science
  •  Any other craft suited to local environment 

2. Mother tongue 

3. The math 

4. Social studies 

  •  History
  •  Geography
  •  Civics 
5. General science 

  •  Nature study
  •  botany
  •  biology
  •  chemistry
  •  Health science
  •  Knowledge of constellations
  •  Inspiring themes of scientists and inventors 

6. Art - music and painting 

7. Hindi - For the places where it is not the mother tongue.

8. Physical education - exercise and sports 


Objectives of Basic Education by Gandhiji 

The main objectives of basic education are: -

Economic objective 

The first objective of basic education is to make children proficient in some profession after acquiring education. By selling articles made by children they can earn money. In this connection, gandhiji had said that every child and girl should, after leaving school, engage in some profession and make him independent.

Increase in morality 

In today 's society ethics is being eroded day by day. One of the primary objectives of basic education is to develop and promote in children a sense of morality. The spirit of attempting character building has nothing to do with any age group. This feeling should come within ourselves. Students should pay special attention to their character.

Purpose of spreading cultural sentiment 

In the present educational system, children are being taught western culture and Sanskrit by forgetting their own values. For this reason, children of today are not familiar with their culture. In basic education, the use of the mother tongue and national language in simple words explains the pride of one 's culture to the teacher, students. Thus, we see that basic education can draw children towards their own culture and values.

Objective of citizenship 

Basic education plays an important role in making children a good citizen. Basic education gives the children the qualities of duty - making, mutual cooperation, morality, patriotism, the importance of Labour, etc. This education teaches people to discharge their duties and responsibilities in a democracy system and to observe them properly.

Physical, mental, spiritual development 

The present educational system merely emphasises the mental development of the child, while basic education aims at raising the child 's mental as well as physical and spiritual development.


Reasons of Failure of basic education 

In principle view, the basic education scheme may be considered an ideal scheme, but practically it has failed.

The main reasons for its failure were as follows :

1.  Absence of pervasiveness of plan 

The basic education scheme is called national scheme, but it was meant only for rural and primary - level children and not for urban and other level children.

2.  Non relation to higher education 

Wardha education was designed to be entirely primary - level children. It was formulated with regard to the needs of 7-14 years old rural children, and not related to secondary education and higher education, as its utility - dancing became irrelevant and did not become applicable.

3.  More force on hand skills 

The emphasis was laid on hand - skills in the wardha shiksha yojana, which became the central theme of the curriculum and through this the emphasis was on teaching other subjects. The schools timing 5 hours 30 minutes set for 3 hours 20 minutes hand skills. Mere child of skill development cannot be achieved beyond all - round development.

4.  Wastage of raw materials 

The basic education scheme laid the emphasis on teaching the child the education of a cottage industry but was provided for in a school. But it is a mere fantasy to expect production from young children, for whatever children learn to build in school is not usable and can be sold in the market. In this plan nothing will be achieved except wastage of raw material and hence could not be implemented successfully.

5.  Wastage of time and Labour 

It is not possible to impart skills in hand - work to primary level children. The scheme did not enable any child to master any manipulation or sell the produce in the market to draw out the expenses of the school. Waste of raw materials, time and Labour was going on.

6.  Non-availability of teaching methods and teachers 

The most prominent reason for the failure of the basic education scheme was its absence of special teaching methods and faculty, for want of education or complete failure.