Rabindranath Tagore on Education

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“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes or life in harmony with all existence” --Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore With his flowing white beard, robes and riveting brown eyes, the famous polymath Rabindranath Tagore awakened a dormant sense of childish wonder, saturating the air with all kinds of enchanting promises for the believer. Tagore has certainly given rebirth to our ideas of education and culture. In Tagore’s view, the higher aim of education was the same as that of a person’s life, that is, to achieve fulfilment and completeness. There was a lesser aim that of providing the individual with a satisfactory means of livelihood, without which a person would not be able to satisfy his/her basic requirements and thus fail to achieve either of these two aims. Tagore also imagined that the limitless development of a man is possible only in an environment free from any kind of bondage. Tagore envisioned an education that was deeply rooted in one’s immediate surroundings but connected to the cultures of the wider world, predicated upon pleasurable learning and individualized to the personality of the child. Tagore asserted that the forest school was typical of the Indian system of education with its emphasis on three basic elements of Indian culture, namely non-duality in the field of knowledge, friendship for all in the field of feeling and fulfilment in the field of action. In his view, the forest school integrated Sadhana (disciplining one’s senses and one’s own life).However Tagore updated this form of school to include science and similar modern subjects in Santiniketan. In Tagore’s philosophy of education, the aesthetic development of the senses was as important as the intellectual – if not more so – and music, literature, art, dance and drama were given great prominence in the daily life of the school. Tagore was one of...
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