Why Did Mahatma Gandhi Want to Teach Children Handicrafts?

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 6th, 2022

Mahatma Gandhi emphasized the importance of teaching handicrafts to children. According to his ideals, literacy and education meant two very different things. As per him, literacy, i.e., reading and writing, did not guarantee education in children. Rather, education, according to Gandhi, referred to teaching the child the act of producing handicrafts from an early age. Know more about why did Mahatma Gandhi want to teach children handicrafts in the points listed below:

  • Gandhi said that literacy referred to the simple act of reading and writing. This, according to him, could not be the process of 'educating' someone.
  • According to him, education meant something that taught to draw out the best in man and child, in spirit, mind, and body.
  • He believed in teaching the children the whys and hows of the process of creating something in a scientific and not mechanical manner.
  • He believed in the importance of teaching children how to work with their hands.
  • Gandhi also explicitly said that western education did not contribute to practical knowledge or experiences.
  • He said that textbooks only gave importance to reading and writing and not oral knowledge.

Why Did Mahatma Gandhi Want to Teach Children Handicrafts?

Mahatma Gandhi wanted to teach children handicrafts because he believed that it was the best way of providing practical knowledge to children. He believed that merely relying on textbooks to learn to read and write was not education. Rather, children should be taught how to produce things by engaging with them on a practical level.

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  • Mahatma Gandhi considered textbook learning as incomplete and merely literacy. In comparison, he believed that children should be taught practical skills that involved using their hands, such as handicrafts.

  • Mahatma Gandhi believed that textbook education, which involved reading and writing to be devoid of the essence of education. Real education, according to him, involved the learning of practical skills.

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