Skip to Content

On Education

July 1, 1999

Education is one of the fields of life. Though it has its own particular territory, for all other purposes it is another field of life like industry, agriculture, military and administration. The following are true for all walks of life including education.

  • In any country all fields will be more or less developed to the same level. For example in India, agriculture, industry and education are developed very nearly to the same extent.

If agriculture in India can become 15 times more efficient and industry 20 times more so, by implication education can roughly equal 20 times the present level.

In the USA, the difference in education in the best and the worst schools will be 4 to 6 times in terms of efficiency. Therefore it is possible to improve the quality of education in the USA twice as much.

Tata bought a few hundred thousand acres of tea estates and used management methods there. They make higher profits than his industries and pay 80% dividend. The principle here is that agriculture is a neglected field. Telco is a sophisticated company. Management for both are the same. So, when you apply the principles of management to a neglected field, the results will be phenomenal. Education is by and large a neglected field in any country as can be seen from the pay the teachers get. So, by applying management principles, the quality of education can rise one hundred or two hundred percent.

One basic principle of life is that the most efficient worker and the least efficient worker spends the same energy in work. The only difference is that, the former has  better skill and motivation.

Efficiency in any field today is three or four times more than it was in 1900. This is by efflux of time. A serious, non-superstitious, planned programme can raise the efficiency four times. We can, by training, get at the future efficiency. Twice is always possible.

As a rule, as the West is more organised generally, any improvement will be greater there. In the East, as you start low, the progress will be considerable. One is qualitative and the other quantitative.

The Ashram school gives in one week, all the physical education any local college gives, which means, with the right awareness quantitative improvement can be 30 times in any field.

  • The above is general and will apply to all fields including education. Below we shall consider what is special to education.

In all our schools, West or East, we teach. At least, this element is prominent. Switch over to methods by which kids learn on their own. The difference will be remarkable.

Anywhere in the world rote memory will be 30 to 50%. Try to eliminate rote memory, replacing it by a system where the child remembers because he understands. Drop outs will reduce dramatically.

In the field of education we think only of pupils. Rarely do we think of teachers. Make the teaching interesting to teachers. They will never stop teaching. The secret here is the teacher must be constantly learning new methods. An ancient Tamil grammar book says, one learns 25% in the first reading and in rereading he learns another 25% when he teaches it to a class he learns the rest of 50%. We may ask what a teacher has to learn from the primary grades. A subtle principle says only those who have something to learn become teachers at that level. Two things will help.

1) Constantly the teacher must be learning new methods of teaching.

2) The teacher must learn more fully what he teaches.

These two elements will make the teacher interested in teaching.

  • Use computers to the maximum extent possible and the internet as well.
  • We assume that schools are there to teach, not the parents. Parents have no time to teach. It is not fully true. Presently parents who have nothing to teach do not teach. Every parent, who is learning afresh, spends a lot of time teaching their kids informally a lot. All cultural, psychological values are taught by parents. Take a serious look at the parents and see what he can learn more and what he can pass on to the kids out of interest to the kids. Frame a syllabus that way. Most parents will happily take over a lot of teaching.
  • You cannot say parents have nothing more to learn about the society. Health, hygiene, law as applies to their lives, history that interests them, geography through tourism and so on is a whole lot. Introduce the parent to this level of teaching. Kids will get it from them. A look at the best parent will show how much the normal parent can improve.

About the percentage of budget                       

When there is a war, the government spends all on it and the rest if any, goes to the other sectors. It is known that in each decade or century, when a government concentrates on health or worker welfare or pollution elimination or any such consideration, the maximum they can find from the budget goes to that sector. This is the same principle I spoke of for guaranteed employment.

How much money is available is not the question. How serious the government is about education is the question. The government will allot a lot more money than we can conceive of for education.

Organisation has a two-fold purpose: it aims at creating a result first, and then, it enables the result with the least expenditure of energy, time and material. We can say organisation aims at efficient result. The greater the organisation, the greater the efficiency. Perfect organisation is that which produces the maximum result with the minimum energy. In the process of organising, the act is elevated from the physical, vital planes to the mind.

            Sri Aurobindo says that the sensations are of the vital.

story | by Dr. Radut