By Ms. Sasmita Samanta
Pro VC - KIIT University
Wisdom and Knowledge are considered as the higher form of virtues and respected worldwide. Science is considered to be the most acceptable and reliable subject, which can be proven with facts and figures and the scope is there to experiment, explore and justify for the furtherance of knowledge. A philosophy based on thoughts and perceptions, connected to the past, present and future of all subjects and every category of people is considered as a subject with less importance.
Teachers teach the subjects in two different ways. One approach is authoritarian, which is teacher-centric, teachers talk more than the students and it is done in different ways like perennialism, essentialism, behaviorism and positivism. Authoritarian is a normative education system following a Universal curriculum, which is applicable to the whole world and the whole of humanity and has existed for centuries. The focus is mostly on principles and theories. The students are taught in a fixed environment inside a pre-designed classroom, following the lectures delivered by teachers on people, ideas, values and thoughts of a generation. The motivations are controlled by external sources and teaching is direct.
The non-authoritarian education system is flexible, where teachers and students, both share equal responsibilities in curriculum and delivery mechanism, it is executed through discussion or participative mode in a flexible classroom with movable furniture, which is redesigned as per the class requirement. It is student-centric, based on discovery-based learning. Progressivism, Reconstructionism, humanism and constructivism are the basic theories followed in the non-authoritarian system, where the basic principle is knowledge, which is obvious and exists everywhere and with everybody, sometimes learner is a teacher and sometimes the teacher is a learner.
The progressive education system believes in continuous growth, evolutions, discoveries and inventions. Students are motivated to learn, the growth of science, changes in the environment, differences in behavior and get to know-how instead of what. Reconstructionism is the extension of this how, the application of analytical knowledge for building new ideas, new thoughts and building new products, processes to disrupt and exist. Jean Jacques Rousseau, a Genevan Philosopher had a belief that human is born as an individual in birth with all goodness and virtues, but enslaved by our institutions, through rigid processes, emphasizing on herd mentality, group thoughts, etc. Humanism is focusing on individual talents, potentials, goodness and virtues and helping the student to get the confidence to reach the level of self-actualization through his/her actions and meditations. Evaluating the students with the same parameter as the object is not correct, teacher students relationship focuses on individual capabilities and interests and designs the solution for individualistic learning. Humanists believe in divergent learning applicable to different individuals and environments. Constructivism focuses on critical thinking, analysis and discovery-based learning leading to the creation of new knowledge in different fields. It is a manifestation of humanism in education. It is the internalization of knowledge and giving shapes to different ideas.
Even Aristotle subordinates the civic relationship to cognitive science. He also says that divine participation in pure and learning about divine life is an essential and universal requirement. But free inquiry for knowing the natural facts is also much more important rather than knowing transient facts about humans.
As per the western thoughts in 16th Century, when structured education evolved, the basic principle was to understand the inherent talent and gathering the truth about life and continuing the physical deliberations respectfully with all virtues and effectiveness. That is possible only through a well-designed balance educational system designed to connect the human with pure knowledge of life, knowing self, its origin (inner self), its route (Super being) and its connectedness (consciousness), Universal consciousness and humanism being imbued with an intelligent sense of human interests, knowledge about human, its relationship and familiarity with relationship, chronology, science, technology and imaginative vision of life and accumulation of physical details.
Humanism is the social interest with its deepest connectedness with moral interest, the supreme of all thoughts and meanings. Europeans had established the humanistic schools in the 14th and 15th centuries to teach the natural and social sciences, knowledge about the environment and to lead a good respectful social life by maintaining harmony with each other. The Greek education teaching practical cognitive sciences and engineering sciences with a focus on industrialization and technology did not get the proper attention of the world because of the existing discoordination between natural science and pure knowledge.
Vedic system of education existed in India was based on pure knowledge and search of the truth of life with Vedic belief of 'potential lies in the heart of each and every creature. ‘Though all men have the same eye and ears, yet they are unequal in their intellectual capacities.’ In the Vedic system, the teachers were at the center of the whole learning system and were expected to understand the disciples with their necessity and capabilities of learning.
The students were advised to elevate themselves from all existing situations and put efforts to rise higher and higher in the spiritual journey, with that they being taught few livelihood / professional skills to run a successful life. So the Indian system of learning had got the most prominent place in the world from 700 BC to around 1000 AD, when universities like Takshila, Vikramshila and Nalanda were contributing profoundly to world knowledge.
In the 21st century, lots of researches are being done to bring humanism in education, which will purify the thoughts and motivate in intellectual pursuit and help to focus on the search of truth in knowledge, technology, society, humanity, etc. The present youth are highly capable to learn and oriented to do all good deeds to make this world better. Every day we see new innovations, new institutions coming up to help human beings to lead a better life.
The humanistic belief that human beings, who are sources of energy can be given confidence that they are capable of doing anything and achieving anything in life by connecting them to their emotional and spiritual states, where they will be free to think. This exercise will reduce the stress and students can be motivated to attend their maximum level of potentials to achieve things, which will lead to internal satisfaction, calmness and peace in heart and mind.
The human being is the creation of God with all unique features, behavior and potentials to perform a particular job in the best way, which can be done by him or her, no one else can do it, it cannot be judged in comparison, competitions, examinations, testing, etc. Every individual is a unique entity and should be treated separately.
Though earlier humanism omitted industrialism, techism from its purview, humanism in education will help to perform in the best form of knowledge with supreme morals in any field, discipline or sector in the best mind with the essence of spiritualism and naturalism.