The following thoughts expressed by Vinoba Bhave are from the book "Selections from Vinoba" (abbreviated in the text as S.V.), written by Vishwanath Tandon. The book has been published by Sarva Seva Sanghprakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi - 221001, India in 1981.
Defects of the Present Education System | The Task before Education | Tests of Education | Government and Education | Acharyakul (Intellectuals' Organisation) | Superiority of Acharyas' Discipline over Government
At present mistakes are being made in the field of education in two ways. First, millions of people do not get education, and, secondly, those who get it, do not receive the right type of education. Thus, the condition is that one one side there is lack of education, and, on the other, miseducation.
The present education is concerned only with two faculties - power of memory and capacity for arguments. There are several other faculties important than these, but the present education pays no attention towards their developments.
Considering the needs of the country, this education is of no use. The state of affairs is that a boy starting from the age of six, continues to study till the age of twenty or twenty-one, and for these fifteen years, he does no work or labour. He is incapable of standing inclemencies of weather and of doing anything, be it agriculture, carpentry, weaving or cooking. He has now knowledge of dietetics. Thus he comes out of the school without any preparation for practical leaving.
There is no true joy for the man whose life cut off from the heavens above and the world of Nature around. This means that the task before education is to change the whole system of values and the way of life that is current in our cities. How this is to be done is not a question for you and me alone, but for the whole humanity.
Self-control, fearlessness and independence of thinking, these are three tests of education. Only that country is educated where these three qualities find expression.
But nowadays what is happening is that governments, both in our country and elsewhere, are doing their utmost to keep students under their thumb and impose upon them the ideas upon which the governments themselves are based. If the government is communist, communist ideas are instilled. If Fascists were to take over, they would all be taught Fascism. Each and every government tries to mould the minds of students according to its own brand of thought.
This, in sober truth, is a great danger to democracy.
I am personally of the view that just as judiciary is independent and the government has no authority over it, similarly the education department should be free and independent.
There is nothing new in what I am going to say. I put six programmes before you:
(i) Make the Acharyakul organization as it ought to be. Acharyakul stands for fearlessness, non-maliciousness and nonpartisanship. Form a strong organization of this type in every village. If it has a school, there must be teachers, and then there should be an Acharyakul.
(ii) Organize Shanti Sena. All, men and women, present here should be fully prepared to join it. If an adversary comes to kill, they should not run away but bare their chests before him and suffer everything cheerfully.
(iii) Get Sarvodaya Patra maintained in every home.
(iv) The work of getting cow slaughter banned should be carried on throughout the country.
(v) Padayatras should be organized. As Malaviyaji (Madan Mohan Malaviya) once said, "Meetings should be held in every village; inspiring stories should be narrated in every village; schools should also be places of physical exercise; and their should be gosadans (cow homes) in every village."
(vi) Select a village and take up integrated work there. It will have an impact on other districts and on the whole country.
In addition to these, also propagate nagari as a world script.
It is the work of the police to establish law and order through repression; it is the function of the Acharyas to establish peace through pacification and reconciliation.
While those who are in power govern, the Acharyas' exercise discipline. We should clearly understand the difference between the exercise of discipline and the act of governing. If the world will be guided by governments, there will never be peace in it. There will be peace if it is under the discipline of the Acharyas. They are, in the language of Guru Nanak, fearless and without malice. I have added to these `non-partisanship' as well. The minds of the Acharyas are never perturbed and agitated. They never use (coercive) pressure in the shape of fasts or in any other way. They think over each and every problem calmly and put before the public those things on which they all agree. If people accept their guidance, it will be good for them and peace will reign in the world. This is what is signified by the `discipline of the Acharyas'.