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Some people have asked me why I don´t write in English more often. The truth is that I don´t have much time for my blog now that I am a responsable member of the community again, (am I?) so, when I have some spare time, I rather write in Spanish.

I would like, however, to please those who have asked me about that with this post in English. It is based on the final dissertation I wrote for my PGCE at the University of Plymouth, UK, about a different model for education (yes: I said for and not “of”)

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The great Indian educationist and philosopher J. Krinamurti

First of all, my experience of the British educational system is that it is failing as a whole (both FE, HE and all the posible combinations you can make with “E” and another letters from the alfabet).

Our students are not taught to develop a critical mind and to question the world they are living. They are “imbued” with bodies of knowledge, sets of principles, rules, procedures… and force, like horses in a restless race, to pass tests, GSCE exams, A levels, degrees… Competition is the key word in a more an more dehumanized educational system, where teachers themselves have very little to say, since the moment that decisions come from management positions, with limited contact with the reality of classrooms.

But teachers are not the ones to blame. British teachers are often underpaid and overloaded with extra burocratic work. The teaching profession is losing professional status in the UK.

 

There is, however, another way of understanding education, a way that defies the so praised educational theories of our Western universitites and that some alternative educational movements have successfully implemented.

My first model for an alternative education is Ghadi´s own view for a new educational system in India, known as “Nai Talim” (New Education).

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Ghandi rejected the British education that, according to him, had made young Indians mere imitators. For Gandhi, education should not be alien to the culture of the society that aims to educate. This is an interested point if we consider how keenly British educationalists adopt American trends in education. Nai Talim is described by Ghandi “as a beautiful blend” of craft, art, health and education. Students are not trained for fulfilling employment’s criteria, but to serve society with their “art of living”. For that purpose, according to their natural inclinations, students are guided to develop skills in:

· Crafts, which comprises handicraft, industry and manual labour.

· Art, equivalent to the Western “humanities”.

· Health, comprising both the Western medicine and the Ayurvedic tradition.

Mahatma Ghandi In Ghandi´s system, manual labour is as relevant as intellectual work. “Our children should not be taught as to despise labour “, wrote Ghandi. He removed the distinction between training for manual work and teaching for ruling positions. Indeed, he encouraged all students, no matter the academic disciplines, to do manual work.

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