Education in Search of a Philosophy



Education’ has its roots in `e’ and `ducere’, which together mean: `to draw out’. School derives from `skhole’ or leisure. But what is this human potential to be leisurely drawn out?

Marjorie Sykes points out that wise planning in education depends upon a clear understanding of the nature and goal of the human individual; and of the nature and values of the society of which he is a part.

The unexamined life is not worth living, said Socrates. The great gurus of ancient India stimulated independent inquiry. Gautama the Buddha warned his disciples against accepting “truths” on any external authority, even his own.

Our revolution must thus begin with the encouragement of independent inquiry, with what Tagore called “the education of the mind in self-reliance”. Open-mindedness and understanding are closely linked, for open-mindedness means the encouragement of independent reflection.

“Building from below” by means of a plurality of centres of local responsibility, … was the central theme of the socio-political philosophy of Gandhi, and is the basis of sarvodaya. Vinoba Bhave laid special stress on the need for education to be free from state control.
The purpose of the essays in the book Education in Search of a Philosophy is not to supply answers, but to indicate the nature of the questions involved.

Marjorie Sykes, the great educationist, came to India, while still young. She worked with Gandhi, and was deeply influenced by the thoughts of Tagore, Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave on education. She is also the author of ‘The Story of Nai Talim’ – outlining Gandhi’s vision of education.

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Marjorie Sykes

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