Typically, education is an essential aspect of every society across the globe. However, in undeveloped countries, the critical role of education is yet to be fully recognised leading to slow economic growth and development. Quality education can ensure that an individual influences a stable and comfortable life. Additionally, a good education system provides that citizens improve their standards of living while creating a sense of equality, security and safety in the society. Therefore, evaluating the educational culture and systems in India like Gurukula and drawing a comparison to the education system in the United States ensures that we understand the advancements that education has made over the years.
Hindus and their way of education.
According to the Hindu community, education helps in achieving the goals of life that is virtue, wealth pleasure and liberation. Hindus believe that without this four thing one is not able to put their society in order, or take care of the family or even have a peaceful environment(Agarwal, 2009). It is their firm belief that education is the only way that one can attain specific skills in life that help them gain self-control, perform their obligations as expected while being cautious about their commitment to God. This enables one to avoid; being selfish, being attached, having a fantasy, with this they will be able to achieve liberty. According to Hindus, anyone who has not gone through the education process compared to an animal. Their perception behind this comparison is that one cannot be able to crawl above their human nature. Therefore, education gives one a chance to be born two times that is spiritual and physically associated. They say that knowledge cuts both ends. It is useful and very advantageous with a well-intended man. However, it is different from an evil being. Knowledge equips one with power as perceived by the Hindus. This is what brings them the difference between a god and the evil one. The evil one chose to use his knowledge for his selfish acts.
Types of knowledge according to Indians
Hindu holy book scriptures acknowledge two kinds of knowledge they include higher and lower intelligence. To them, knowledge of their custom rituals and knowledge gained from studying the scriptures was the lower knowledge. What was considered higher education was the knowledge acquired from personal experience (Moir & Zastoupil, 2013). According to Indians, materialistic knowledge was vital because we need to get going as we live in this world. However, it was not the most important type of education was higher knowledge. Higher knowledge was considered t have the power to free people since the beginning of life to the end of life. Life is supposed to be experienced both in its good and bad times so that they can be able to accomplish their duties and proceed to the spiritual realm. Deliverance is not earned by escaping the obstacles of life instead by facing them head on and getting to learn the teachings from life. The Hindu Holy book discourages anyone who would want to pursue higher education and encourages the urge to acquire higher knowledge.
India’s Ancient Curriculum
Before, India’s curriculum was from nine to thirty-six years of someone’s life. It was considered a journey worth the while. It was the expectation of their parents and their teachers that they will be able to complete without difficulties (Altekar, 2009). They have to study various subjects like the study of Brahman, Study of snakes, study on weapons and military arts, survey of energies and chakras, study of spirits and fauna, education on how to convert raw materials to gold research on medicinal options, study of astrology and astronomy, study of cattle propagation and nurturing. As well, they learnt stone statuette and woodcarving. For the religious studies, they studied the Vedas. Some learners would commit their whole lives to review holy studies. Additionally, some knowledge was offered to the eligible learners only. It was however under a vow to ensure that they will not tell the others. At times, the knowledge might have been harmful if misused
The Gurukula system
The gurukulas was a school during the ancient times in India Guru was the teacher. Usually, gurukulas were situated in the forests.It was an easy task to be admitted to the gurukula (Hunter, 2013). However, the most challenging thing was gaining the poise and faith of the teacher. Therefore, students were forced to work for their teachers for several years for the guru to be assured of their zeal, obedience, and genuineness to be taught. This also taught them humility and how to value the chance that had been offered to them. There was no payment for the studies however great responsibility was upon the students. Studying at the gurukula was an arduous task. They stayed in a severe environment that taught them patience and perseverance. Their routine was a hard one too. After waking up the students had to take, a bath in the stream perform the guru’s household chores, and beg for food. The teacher was not responsible for feeding them. Some things were also forbidden. For example singing and dancing adorning themselves with ornaments, sitting in front of the teacher, talking to women and borrowing food from their relatives or wicked people. Total respect for the guru’s family was to be adhered to even if there were younger ones than them. Girls were never admitted to the gurukula it was prohibited.
Women and Education
According to custom, girls never attended school outside their homes because it was prohibited. The gurukulas was no place for the female gender. Although other women lucky enough to have gotten married to someone famous such as a king or a wealthy man (Altekar, 2009). These women will have a chance to be given education by their husbands. This only happened if their husbands had studied, of which, most of the rich men were. However, it was not the same case with ordinary women and girls. Their place was nowhere other than in the house to take care of their husbands and children. As well as do their household chores. Girls often get married at an early age back then in India. This closed all the doors and hope for education in their lives. Being imposed such a task, it will be difficult for them to cope with the two things. Therefore, they had to choose one. Most especially the community expected them to select the responsibility imposed on them.
Comparison of ancient Indian education and USA formal education
Back then, Indians could only learn subjects that pertain their culture whereas the formal education offered in the United States is all round; it teaches virtues as well as other topics. Only men were allowed to study in the gurukulas. Women could not step outside their homes for studies. Their place was in their houses; they could learn about household duties and how to take care of their families. Unlike the formal education in the USA, it is open to every gender. Both girls and boys have the right to go every day to their classroom and be taught whatever is required for them to know (Duta & Iannelli, 2018). Education was a responsibility for the fathers’, gurus and grandfathers in India while in USA education is the responsibility of the government (Lee, 2010). The Hindus education brought peace and quietness in the land as compared to the formal education where everyone is fighting for power merely because they are learned. The ancient culture did not bring much progress to the state compared to what formal education has done and can do. There is tremendous development to every country that has fully embraced the formal western education from the building of infrastructures amenities housing and in generally improved living standards (Green, 2013). As well day by day the world continues to develop due to innovation and creativity that is motivated by the knowledge obtained from studying.
Education is everywhere
Education cannot be termed as a western culture only. Every culture has its way of educating their members. However, it was very different from the formal style of learning. There were no subjects like mathematics chemistry or biology offered. Consequently, they were taught virtues, integrity and liberation (Mondal, 2013). In today’s world, people have adopted and are continuing to embrace the western way of learning. This type of education has brought much development to the world. People can become better citizens. The west way of education is not bias. Therefore, it has also brought gender equality to societies. This education prepares the students for the life that awaits them outside their parent’s cocoon. With this type of knowledge then it is easier to improve the living standards of an individual and the whole community at large. Their standards are improved because one can secure suitable employment and earn a good income. This will ensure the total elimination of poverty among societies.
The educational culture and systems in India like Gurukula and drawing a comparison to the education system in the United States ensures that we understand the advancements that education has made over the years. From cultural knowledge to formal education. However, the culture should also not be forgotten; it is what makes them what they are. We should embrace our differences and use that to better our communities. Education should be offered to everyone without biasness. Through school, people can now have better health conditions. This will bring development to every corner and angle of the world.
Agarwal, P. (2009). Indian higher education: Envisioning the future. Sage Publications India.
Altekar, A. S. (2009). Education in ancient India. Gyan Publishing House.
Duta, A., An, B., & Iannelli, C. (2018). Social origins, academic strength of school curriculum and access to selective higher education institutions: Evidence from Scotland and the USA. Higher Education, 75(5), 769-784.
Green, A. (2013). Education and state formation: Europe, East Asia and the USA. Springer.
Hunter, W. W. (2013). The Indian empire: Its people, history and products. Routledge.
Lee, J. (2010). Trick or treat: New ecology of the education accountability system in the USA. Journal of Education Policy, 25(1), 73-93.
Moir, M., & Zastoupil, L. (2013). The great Indian education debate: Documents relating to the Orientalist-Anglicist controversy, 1781-1843. Routledge.
Mondal, S. (2013). The science of exercise: ancient Indian origin. J Assoc Physicians India, 61(8), 560-2.
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