If you are currently learning more about higher education across the globe or looking at the schemes being designed by the government around the globe, you must have come across terms like Holistic development, experiential learning, student-centric learning and many such terms. These concepts are said to have been developed in the West and then shifted and adopted by top universities 2024 around the world. However, it might not be entirely as true.
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In India, the concepts of overall growth and development and experiential learning have existed since the Vedic era. India as a country is known for its learning and teaching practices and its rich traditional and ancient learning methods are considered to be quite forward in their approach.
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The Gurukul Education is considered to be one of the oldest education systems in the world. Many people from other parts of the world like Europe, the Middle East and Portugal came to India to gain quality education. Through this article, let’s take a look at what exactly is the Gurukul Education System and how it is in today’s world.
What is the Gurukul Education System?
The Gurukul Education System is India’s oldest form of education and has flourished in more than one form since 15000 BC. Around the Vedic period, most of the teachings involved various subjects and taught students how to live a cultured, disciplined and a civilized life.
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The Gurus taught the students and focused more on imparting practical knowledge and aimed at providing them with holistic development. This included the physical, mental and spiritual well-being and growth of the pupils. Though there wasn’t any formal education, there was experience-based learning where the students were expected to learn from the guru and apply the knowledge in practical situations.
The term “Gurukul” or “Gurukulam”is made from two different words – ‘Guru’ which means Teacher and ‘Kul’ which means family or home. So basically, the Gurukul was actually the Guru or Acharya’s home where the students, also referred to as “Shishya” resided till they completed their education. It was considered and served to be the centre of education.
The relationship between the Guru and Shishya was considered to be among the most sacred relations and it was not tied to any materialistic approach like money. Instead, the students gave their guru “Gurudakshina” where the students could offer anything or the guru could ask for anything. This was done as a form of showing respect and gratitude to the guru.
Advantages of Gurukul Education System
In the Gurukul, the students were taught various subjects that revolved around experiential and practical approaches. It included subjects like astronomy, philosophy, political science, yoga, economics, physical education and defence.
Some of the advantages of the Gurukul Education system were:
- The Gurukul education system prepares the student for facing life and not only for a job.
- Value-based experimental education was imparted to the students.
- Character traits and holistic all-round development was encouraged.
- The education was practically based and multiple disciplines were taught to the students like Languages, Yoga, Veda, Ayurveda, History & Politics, vocational training, self-defence, military combats etc.
Though the teaching approach was student-centric, the students were assessed based on the credit system as we call it today. Back then, the students were not allowed to leave the Gurukul until directed and decided by the guru, i.e., the guru decided if the student had gained complete knowledge and was ready to leave the Gurukul.
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What happened to the Gurukul System In India?
After the British invasion of India, in 1983, Lord Macaulay who was back then appointed as the Governor General of India, is known to have made reforms to the education system that existed in India. He had demolished the “Native and Cultural Education System” and replaced it with the “Modern English Education System” instead. With the aim of wanting to make English compulsory as a language in India, he made the English Language compulsory and banned the use of Sanskrit in Gurukuls.
Eventually, the Gurukul learning system was banned and the social support and assistance they received was also made illegal. The gurukuls were demolished and were also set on fire. Many of the gurus of that time were either imprisoned or killed. The gurukuls were banned and demolished and the concept of convent schools, then called the ‘Free School’ was encouraged and established. Soon, the Gurukul education system disappeared and modern learning systems were adopted.
Gurukul’s that still exist in India
In today’s modern education system, many concepts of the gurukul have been adopted. As discussed above, the concept of experience-based learning, student-centric learning, and many other such concepts are taken from the Ancient Vedic learning systems of the Gurukuls in India. Thus, the concepts and objectives based on which the Gurukuls functioned are being revived and imbibed in the learning system today.
There are Gurukuls that still exist in India. They were either reconstructed or established after independence.
List of Gurukuls in India
In India, there are about 3000+ Gurukuls that are still functioning, these Gurukuls are located in different states of India. Below is the list of state wise Gurukuls in India.
|No. of Gurukul
|Jammu and Kashmir
Some of the famous Vedic Gurukuls in India:
- Gurukul Mahavidyalaya Jawalapur, Haridwar
- Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh
- Gurukul Pondha, Dehradun
- Darshan Yog Mahavidyalaya, Haryana
- Gurkul Jhajjar, Haryana
- Sri Sringeri Shardapeeth Veda pathashala, Haryana
- Gurukul Kishangarh-Ghasera, Haryana
- Siddhagiri Gurukulam, Kolhapur
- Veda Pathashala, Maharshi Veda Vyas Pratishthan, Pune
- Sri ShardaPeeth VidhyaSabha Sri Shankaracharya Abhinav Sacchidanand Tirth Ved Vidyalaya, Jamnagar
- Arsha Vidya Gurukulam Anaikatti, Coimbatore
- Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath Samskrit Siksha Sansad, Kolkata
- Gurukul Dadhikar, Alwar
- Sri Guru Virjanand Gurukul, Jhalandhar
- Vedavyas Ashram Gurukul, Rourkela
- Vishnugupta Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Karnataka
- Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, Ujjain
- Gurukul awas moorang, Gramang, Himachal Pradesh
Ans) The Gurukul system nurtures the overall growth of a child by fostering cultural sensitivity, upholding ethical values, promoting spiritual wellbeing, and cultivating a scientific mindset.
Ans) In India, more than 3000+ vedic gurukuls are actively imparting knowledge to the students.
Ans) The ancient Gurukul education system was a traditional form of education in India, where students lived with their teacher or guru to receive knowledge, wisdom, and skills in various subjects such as philosophy, mathematics, science, art, and music.
Ans) some of the Gurukul are Gurkul Jhajjar, Haryana, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Siddhagiri Gurukulam, Kolhapur.