26th September-2nd October, 2013
Third Seminar on Indian Perspectives of Education
In taking forward the series on “Indian Perspectives in Education”, we propose to have a 7 day seminar between the 26thSeptember to 2nd October, 2013, at the Deer Park Institute, Himachal Pradesh. This would be the third seminar in the series.
We are a group of people who have been engaged with education for more than two three decades now and are deeply concerned with the prevalent education system and its implications on the young minds. The assumptions, objectives and practices in the mainstream education in the country compel us to think that a time has come to revisit both the traditional and the modern systems and see how an integrated approach could be worked out. In trying to keep with the demands of present day times, we feel that the quintessential components of many Indian traditions have been overlooked or ignored by the mainstream education. We are certain there is much in Indian traditions that need to be understood and reconnected with the present. Visions of great seers and sages have a universal and far reaching vision, which has been rekindled by the thoughts expressed in the two earlier seminars. We aim to carry forward these reflections under the guidance and encouragement of Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, who had inspired us to organize two national seminars on "Indian Perspectives of Education" in the years 2011 and 2012, at Bir and Panchgani.
These seminars brought together representation of a wide range of perspectives. There were representations from the Vedic, Upanishadic, Buddhist, Jain and Christian traditions. In addition, there were scholars sharing the aspirations of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatama Gandhi. One wonders as to why the architects of mainstream education did not make use of the rich resources at hand to build a rich and meaningful foundation. For instance, it emerged that a “Gurukul” like setting was common amongst these perspectives. These related not only with the physical arrangement of space and setting, but also with a quest for knowledge, the relation between a teacher- taught and society. Any doubts with regard to these gurukuls being limited for spiritual aspirants only and hence not practical, were dispelled by descriptions of Gurukuls for learning arts, crafts and other skills, where the process of learning and teaching formed a part of larger concerns of life and living. We got to learn not just about the philosophical aspects and purpose of education as perceived in these diverse traditions, but learnt the limitations within which many of these traditions are forced to operate and hence make certain compromises with the modern systems.
However one important aspect that did not emerge very explicitly in the last two seminars was the methodologies of various traditions. One wonders if in the process of “keeping with times”, we have marginalized the vidhis and padhyatis. But any of these practices are still alive in fields such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Sangeet and Nritya, as well as in some “Gurukuls”, where Sanskrit texts are taught in the traditional manner. It is also our endeavor to look beyond any language prejudice that might impair the learning process. Keeping these concerns in mind we are inviting people from different streams who are deeply aware and sensitive to the process of learning to share their experiences which at times transcends the confines of one’s discipline. Hence the focus in this 3rd seminar is on vidhis and padhyatis in different traditions.
In addition, we are inviting a few concerned educationists to hold dialogues and deliberate on the issues that emerged in the previous two seminars and during the sessions of the present seminar.
We also propose to spend two days in dialogue on Professor A.K. Saran’s idea of “A school for the regeneration of Man’s Experience, Imagination and Intellectual Integrity”, as discussed in his book “Illuminations”. This dialogue will be led by Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and Sri Ajay Shrivastava.
Event jointly organized by
( Director Deer Park )
( Board Member ,Deer Park )
Society tor Integrated Development of Himalayas
Vidyadan Foundation of Education