Education for Self Reliance (ESR) is yet a mirage in our country even after seven decades of post-independence. It is a most disgusting thing to absorb the revelations of "Trade Economics "report that has uncovered an alarming fact that unemployment rate in India increased to 3.52 percent in 2017 from 3.51 percent in 2016. This report really exposes the malfunction of various government schemes that are aimed to eradicate unemployment.
Our education system has confined to impart only concepts instead to make the student tribe more skilled. This is promoting the number of educated without employability. So, there is a pressing need to focus on the remark of Swami Vivekananda" We must have life building, Man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. We want that education by which character is formed, the strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one's own feet". We are aware that imparting education alone cannot promote sustainable development it should be complemented with life skills, vocational skills.
This education system had its merits over the extent education system because it will make an individual as more self-reliant with a skill. Further, the medium of instruction in basic education is mother tongue. Mahatma thought that the education an effective instrument of social transformation. In July 1937, Gandhiji wrote in the Harijan, "By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man-body, mind and spirit… Literacy itself is not education, I would, therefore, begin the child's education by teaching it a useful handicraft and enabling it to produce from the moment it begins its training. Thus every school can be made self-supporting, the condition begins that the state takes over the manufacture of these schools."
The key concepts of the basic education are:
1.Free and compulsory education -which is still an unfulfilled dream
2. Craft centred education- that could be a ‘Sanjivani' for our economy and indigenous crafts that are on the verge of extinction such as Agriculture and other cottage industries.
3.Self-supporting it is really realizing the remark of John Dewey "Education is not preparation for the life: Education is itself life" and promote the Education for Self Reliance for the life.
4. The medium of instruction is mother tongue. This will reduce the complexities of learning. We are aware that there is a phenomenal surge towards English medium both in rural and urban areas and promoting an unhealthy trend.
5. Ideal citizenship- this is the most required component because our modern education system failed to produce the same. The contemporary system is only encouraging the academic excellence which is different from societal behaviour and citizenship.
6. Flexible curriculum and free environment- Curriculum should have to reflect the basic needs of the society and should have to provide a free environment in which the students enjoy the learning.
But the curricular components are only promoting the white- collar job tendency and making the young poor of the character dignity of labour. That is the reason for the abandonment of agriculture by the rural people which is our country's prime livelihood. "I am fully convinced that the present system of education is not only wasteful but positively harmful. They would pick up evil habits.
English has created a permanent bar between the highly educated few and the uneducated many." He further said, "let us now cry a halt and concentrate on educating the child properly through manual work not as a side activity but as a prime means of intellectual activity." These words were spoken by Gandhiji at the roundtable conference in London in 1931 but we have ignored to focus on his words and unsuccessful to produce ideal citizens instead greedy and corruptive.
Of course, we can boast ourselves by citing the names of Sathya Nadella of Microsoft and Google's Sundar Pitchai but the success of individuals do not reflect a country's intellectual growth. We are well aware of that it is not possible to provide employment for all the educated youth for the state. So, there is a pressing need to transform the country's young generation as skilled to strengthen the community as well as the nation.
We should have to employ the methods with the support of technology that will rejuvenate our indigenous crafts and cottage industries. No need to stare at other nations because India is unique in topography and culturally. We should have to follow the remark of our honorable ex-president A P J Abdul Kalam "India should walk on her own –We must have our own development model".
- E Gajendra Nath Reddy