Selected Quotes of Rabindranath Tagore on Education

Rabindranath Tagore’s ShantiNiketan is a renowned educational institution across the world.  They have a track record of creating excellent artists. In this post, I have selected some quotes from various speeches of Rabindranath Tagore, that enable us to have a glimpse into the thinking of this great mind on the topic of education.

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence”

“We rob the child of his earth to teach him geography; Of language, to teach him grammar; His hunger is for the epic, (but) he is supplied with chronicles of facts and dates”

At first, children must gather knowledge through their life because children are in love with their life, and it is their first love. All its color and movement attract their eager attention, and then they will renounce their lives to gain knowledge

“The regular type of school is a manufactory and is a mere method of discipline specially designed for grinding out uniform results”

“I felt clearly that what was needed was not any particular material object, not wealth or comfort or power, but our awakening to full consciousness in the freedom of soul, the freedom of life in God, where we have no enmity with those who must fight, no competition with those who must make money, where we are beyond all attacks and above all insults”

“Wealth is a golden cage in which the children of the rich are bred into artificial deadening of their powers. Therefore in my school, I had to provide for this great teacher – this bareness (non existence) of furniture and materials. Not because of its poverty, but because it leads to personal experience of the world and nature”

“Luxuries are the burdens of other peoples habits, the burdens of the vicarious pride and pleasure which parents enjoy through their children”

“When I had to face the question of my own sons education, the first thing I did was to take him away from the town surroundings in to a village and allow him the freedom of primeval nature, as far as it is available in modern days. He had a river where he swam and rowed without check from the anxiety of his elders. He spent his time in the fields and on the trackless sandbanks, coming late to his meals without being questioned”

“The mind of the child is always on the alert, restless and eager to receive firsthand knowledge from mother nature. Children should be surrounded with the things of nature which have their own educational value. Their minds should be allowed to stumble upon and surprised at everything that happens in todays life”

“Children’s minds are sensitive to the influences of the world. Their sub-conscious minds are active, always imbibing some lesson, and realizing the joy of knowing. This sensitive receptivity allows them, without any strain, to master language, which is the most complex and difficult instrument of expression, full of indefinite ideas and abstract symbols… Because of this, their introduction to the world of reality is easy and joyful”

 

Destination Infinity

References:

http://www.infed.org/thinkers/tagore.htm

http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/tagore_myschool.html

http://newlearningonline.com/new-learning/chapter-2-life-in-schools/rabindranath-tagore%E2%80%99s-school-at-shantiniketan/

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13 Replies to “Selected Quotes of Rabindranath Tagore on Education”

  1. A great compilation. Thanks for sharing. I agree. Our education system is flawed. The moment a child enters school he is captivated in an ugly cage…. The pressure of performing well and getting high grades keeps piling on him… The real essence of education is lost

    1. Children (and more importantly parents) think that the only duty of the child is to score marks. They are not bothered if they actually learn anything! The formula in our education system seems to be – Mug up, get good marks, get praised !

      Destination Infinity

  2. All quotes of Tagore are good but cannot be implemented now, I feel.

    I loved this esp. ‘“When I had to face the question of my own sons education, the first thing I did was to take him away from the town surroundings in to a village and allow him the freedom of primeval nature, as far as it is available in modern days. He had a river where he swam and rowed without check from the anxiety of his elders. He spent his time in the fields and on the trackless sandbanks, coming late to his meals without being questioned” – I wanted my children to know about agriculture and greenery and so used to take them to small villages which were near my relatives’ houses in Udupi, during their summer holidays. Now, even those relatives have come to settle down in Bangalore with their children…no more small village visits.

    Now, children are sent to summer schools during holidays too. I feel so sorry for them when they are sent to learn horse riding, swimming or language classes in the holidays. With so much competition everywhere, it is going to be like this, hereafter.

    1. I don’t know, how much the kids can handle! We are robbing them off their childhood enjoyment. But this way, they might get accustomed to what is going to come later on in their lives!

      Destination Infinity

    1. Its more for the future mothers and fathers, who would be in a position of deciding for the kids, than the kids themselves 🙂

      Destination Infinity

    1. Children can learn so many things naturally and easily. When they ought to be encouraged to be more creative and exploring, we put them in to schools and make them go through rigid routines like lectures, at that age!

      Destination Infinity

  3. he was a great man..

    what can i say about our education system.. soon we can boast of MUSCLED kids who are strong in arms and BACK .. rather then MIND..

    Bikram’s

    1. I am afraid that we might soon have young men and women, all capable only of memorization but cannot learn any useful skill!!

      Destination Infinity

    1. No. I have been around South India and Ranchi is the only place I have been to, in the North. Have you been there? Do you know anybody studying there… If so, you can write a blog post about it, for us to understand more…

      Destination Infinity

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