Mahatma Gandhi’s

India of My Dreams on
ASHRAM IDEAL OF EDUCATION
[The following translation by Shri V. G. Desai of some of the notes on the Ashram ideal of education written by Mahatma
Gandhi in Gujarati appeared in the issues of Harijan of 15th July and 5th August, 1950.]
I have my own perhaps peculiar views on education which have not been accepted by my colleagues in full, and here
they are:
Young boys and girls should have co-education till they are eight years of age. 1.
Their education should mainly consist in manual training under the supervision of an educationist. 2.
The special aptitudes of each child should be recognized in determining the kind of work he (or 3.
she) should do.
The reasons for every process should be explained when the process is being carried on. 4.
General knowledge should be imparted to each to child as he begins to understand things. Learning 5.
to read or write should come later.
The child should frst be taught to draw simple geometrical fgures, and when he has learnt to draw 6.
these with ease, he should be taught to write the alphabet. If this is done, he will write a good hand
from the very frst.
Reading should come before writing. The letters should be treated as pictures to be recognized and 7.
later on to be copied.
A child taught on these lines will have acquired considerable knowledge according to his capacity 8.
by the time he is eight.
Nothing should be taught to a child by force. 9.
He should be interested in everything taught to him. 10.
Education should appear to the child like play, Play is an essential part of education. 11.
All education should be imparted through the mother tongue. 12.
The child should be taught Hindi-Urdu as the national language, before he learns Letters. 13.
Religious education is indispensable and the child should get it by watching the teacher’s conduct 14.
and by hearing him talk about it.
Nine to sixteen constitutes the second stage in the child’s education. 15.
It is desirable that boys and girls should have co-education during the second stage also as far as 16.
possible.
Hindu children should now be taught Sanskrit and Muslim Children Arabic. 17.
Manual training should be continued during the second stage. Literacy education should be allotted 18.
more time as is necessary.
The boys during this stage should be taught their parent’s avocation in such a way that they will by 19.
their own choice obtain their livelihood by practicing the hereditary craft. This does not apply to
the girls.
During this stage the child should acquire a general knowledge of world history and geography, 20.
botany, astronomy, arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.
Each child should now be taught to sew and to cook. 21.
Sixteen to twenty-fve is the third stage, during which every young person should have and education 22.
according to his or her wishes and circumstances.
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During the second stage (9-16) education should be self-supporting; that is, the child all the time 23.
that he is learning, is working upon some industry, the proceeds of which will meet the expenditure
of the school.
Production starts from the very beginning, but during the frst stage it does not still catch up with 24.
the expenditure.
Teachers should be paid not very high salaries but only a living wage. They should be inspired by a 25.
spirit of service. It is a despicable thing to take any Tom, Dick or Harry as a teacher in the primary
stage. All teachers should be men of character.
Big and expensive buildings are not necessary for educational institutions. 26.
English should be taught only as one of several languages. As Hindi is the national languages, 27.
English is to be used in dealing with other nations and international commerce.
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