Work-Experience and Indian Education
THE reconstruction of Indian educational system and the attempt to make it productive and meaningful are really not new-felt needs, though much talked about these days after the submission of the report of the Indian Education Commission which has recommended work-experience as an integral part of education at all levels. Basic Education was designed to achieve the objectives but it did not woik out successfully. Now again, although in a different form, a similar line of action has been proposed by Professor M N Agrawal and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, the organisers of the All India Educational Conference at Sewagram, Wardha. The organisers of the conference are pressing hard for the reintroduction of Basic Education in the form of work-experience in a society which has rejected even the Gandhian socio-economic model. This move raises certain fundamental issues which must be settled before any type of work-experience is introduced into the programmes of education. This paper attempts to discuss them in their proper perspective.
Work-experience may be introduced with two motives. It may be either an educative experience or training for proficiency in a trade or productive technique. If it is introduced for the purpose of providing educational experience, attempts should be made to guard against voca-tionalisation and narrow specialisation at a stage when vocational abilities and aptitudes arc neither fully developed nor properly demarcated. Whatever work-experience is provided to children should be rich in its educational values. Its objective should be the education of a full-fledged citizen of a socialist democracy developing a sense'of dignity of labour, spirit of cooperation and out look of optimism which are indispensable qualities for the members of a socialist society.
On the other hand., if work-experience is introduced for economic considerations, the socio-economic realities of the country should be kept in mind. Ours is a nation with surplus manpower where many skilled and trained workers remain out of employment and are likely to remain so even in the near future if the present defective planning continues. Goods produced in the educational institutions would replace some of the agrofacts and artefacts from farms and factories. The result would