Education is essentially a social process. it cannot be carried on in isolation from society. Its primary aim is to help an individual to bring out and realise his or her latent powers, potentialities and thus to develop the personalities to the full.
An individual apart from society is figment of the imagination. Individual is part and parcel of society and must be educated as such, so that he or she grows up into a useful member of the society. One of the best ways of educating an individual is by creating in him or her a sense of unity and belongingness with the people and by extension with the society. No amount of preaching and text book moralising would make a student feel one with society in the same way as actual participation in the affairs of society will. Social service is thus the best form of education ; it is part and parcel of creative education which helps a student to live creatively.
Many ignorant people mistake education for mere book-learning. Character formation and learning through direct experience of life observation and action are perhaps more important than cold and lifeless books. Social service provides opportunities for “learning by doing”. Mahatma Gandhi’s scheme of basic education and John Dewey’s philosophy of education emphasise practical action as a part of education.
When students are asked to serve the society, they are filled with sense of responsibility. They are self motivated to understand the problems of their society so as to suggest solution for its problems. They can thus take active and constructive part in conquering illiteracy, ignorance, disease, and other related problems. It is necessary to interfere with the class room studies. Students can be asked to help in social and economic reconstruction by doing their bit during vacations. They can understand trips to the under development and backward areas and organise projects and programmes of adult education, demonstration in agriculture process, and lessons in personal and social hygiene. They can launch campaigns against societal inertia and corruption. Thus they can stir and galvanise the masses towards purposeful and concerted activity for national reconstruction.
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