In 1937, Gandhi proposed an idea known as Nai Talim or Basic Education. It was tried out in various states till 1950s before it fizzled out, but it influenced policy, education discourses, and educational thought in India. SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work) emerged in mid 1960s from this concept, and even this was discarded in the late 1990s.
In 2005, a Focus Group of the National curriculum Framework (NCF) headed by Anil Sadgopal argued for a rejuvenation of Gandhi’s Nai Talim and detailed the idea of ‘Education through Productive Work’ in today’s context.
In this explore, we explore the emergence, disappearance and renewal of this idea in a world when industrialism is facing challenges and endangering human survival. There is renewed interest in Gandhi’s critique of industrialism, especially his alternative educational vision of Nai Talim which was to play a transformative role towards his vision of society.