Old is gold. Not always, but sometimes. Whenever our parents and grandparents say that the old times were better, they are not entirely wrong. And I am sure they have heard it from their parents and grandparents too.
But, I am not talking about the recent ‘old times.’ I am talking about the days when India was not known to the world yet. The era where India was intriguing and mysterious for the rest of the world.
Everybody recognized it as a potential gold mine (it kind of feels like I am talking about ‘today,’ no? Kudos to us!) And do you know why it was best? Because of its schooling system, Gurukul.
Some things were better as they were, and I strongly believe that we had got schooling right. So, long story short, we need it back because it was amazing. And, the detailed version, here is why Gurukul is the best.
The focus was on the overall development.
Once you send your child to Gurukul, you can rest assured that they will come out of it with growth in all aspects of their life.
The syllabus for this school was never just about learning mathematics and science. It was also for learning about your personality, building self-esteem, gaining confidence. Academics and life skills had equal importance. It wasn’t like today, where if we have at least thirty five lectures a week and only one of them is for ‘value education.’ (which would most probably be snatched away by the subject teachers when their portion was lagging, which was always).
It tells us how much we have decided to ignore personal growth in these years.
Let us clean the cobwebs and look clearly at the current scenario. We want our children to excel in academics, sports, and other activities.
We want them to be the ideal well-behaved, polite, kind, mature, basically, just add all the ‘good values’ you remember from your ‘value education lessons’ (if you ever had the luck to attend one) and be the ‘perfect child of the year’ for all the years to come.
I hope you have stumbled across the issue. When you don’t focus on teaching them these things, where do you expect them to learn? It is not going to magically just happen one day.
No, the days of divine interventions are long gone. In the ‘good old days,’ once you left your child in the care of the Gurukul teacher, you did not have to worry about anything.
One-to-one teacher-student interaction
In Gurukul, every child got personal attention. ‘One shoe fits all’ wasn’t the policy. Every student had a personalized curriculum tailor-made according to their needs and abilities.
Their strengths and weaknesses factored in what they were going to do in their life. What you become had a direct link to what you are. One teacher knew where the child stands.
The teachers and students had enough time together to make a connection while learning. It wasn’t just about learning. It was so much more.
Practical and theory had equal importance.
In the olden days, the classroom was not only limited to four walls. The children learned from the books as well as nature. They learned from what they saw and experienced while living in the Gurukul.
The biggest problem nowadays with the students is that they have abundant theoretical knowledge, but when it comes to applying it practically, they are absolutely clueless.
They have no experience whatsoever. And when they step into the industry, it all becomes overwhelming. Even practicals that happened in school are no different. It has become more about completing the syllabus than actually learning. In Gurukul, there was no way to cut corners here.
Unless they could apply the knowledge, there was no way they could learn without it. It wasn’t an option to get away with just mugging it.
No craving for ranks
It is perhaps the key advantage of the Gurukul system. It is the thread that actually made me want to talk on this topic. Children would learn for the sake of learning. They were not doing it under the pressure of getting good marks, earning, and securing a job.
The intent was pure and simple. Learn. There was competition, no doubt. But with yourself. And I believe it is the best one of all. It wasn’t about seeing ‘are you better than others?’ It was about ‘have you become better than yourself?’
And it was a very elegant system too. It is not like Gurukul just added in this feature. It was a by-product of their teaching methodology.
Every student learned separate things in a custom-made way for them. So, when every individual was not doing the same thing, it did not make any sense to test their abilities collectively. And when they weren’t giving exams together on the same topic, there was no question about seeing who did well.
No involvement of parents
Before you start thinking that I am saying parents destroy their child’s future, hear me out properly. Have you heard the phrase, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’? What does it mean? It means when people having different methods come together to do the same thing, you get a distorted output.
You don’t get the benefits of either methodology. So, when teachers and parents don’t share the same viewpoint, the upbringing of the child suffers. When you appoint a teacher for your child, you need to have complete faith in them.
In the Gurukul system, the students lived away from their parents under the care of their teacher. So, they did not have to face the brunt of the clashes. Moreover, parents are protective of their children.
Sometimes, a little too much. They are afraid to let their children try something new. But this system rendered the effects of the overprotectiveness moot. In addition to that, children were not under bonus pressure that parents put on them for better performance.
So, these were the pros of the Gurukul system. It has made me think that it should make a comeback. But what it should make you think is, if it returns, will you go through with it