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‘Holistic’ Education is a subjective issue

By Raani Ved

In the fiercely competitive world today, educationists are constantly lookingfor the ‘best’to offer to students and parents. And, holistic education is one of the best-selling lines when it comes to schools, even for pre-school, pre-primary education and playschools.

Educators and the administrative staff associated with such pre-primary education centres, playschools and nurseries keep looking for innovative and effective modes of teaching students for holistic development. In lieu, they charge exorbitant fees promising overall development of the child thereby ensuring a bright future.

The debate is always fresh and ripe with inputs from all about how best to train future generations and ensure a strong foundation is laid for the child to be able to take up the responsibilities of a proud citizen.

The objective of such institutions should be to educate the child in all spheres of life – academics, arts, sports, communication, compassion, etc. The research on teaching pedagogy, educational philosophies and the various elements is ongoing albeit debatable. Every such educational entity decides what is best for students based on their personal prejudices and choices.

So, for some holistic education means educating children to ensure they grow up into environment-conscious citizens, for others it could mean cultural diversity, while for other it could mean active sports life and overall development in athletics.

In India, holistic education was the basis of traditional education system i.e. the gurukuls – a residential schooling system dating back to ancient times. Primarily existent in the Vedic times, gurukuls taught students various subject including how to live a disciplined, meaningful and responsible life. The focus of gurukuls was to impart holistic education to the students but in an environment where the pupils could learn several other attributes.

So, living and residing together inculcated virtues of discipline, love, kindness, brotherhood, etc. In gurukuls, the disciples were taught diverse skills – learning languages, understanding scriptures, debating, practising archery, learning science and mathematics, playing sports, learning music, etc.

Diverse modes of teaching and learning were implemented and emphasis was given on developing logical reasoning, intelligence and critical thinking. Yoga and meditation were integral to daily routine to instil discipline, mindfulness and a healthy way of life.

In India, gurukuls had children from a very early age as parents would send their children away to become a responsible, wise and aware human beings. It is no wonder that even kings would send their sons to these gurukuls to make them fierce warriors and wise kings.

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