INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION

By
Dr. Purabi Chakravarty
Ph.D, M.Phil, M.E.d., MA (Phil & Eng.).)
Department of Education
Institute of Management Education
Sahibabad, Ghaziabad
ime@del6.vsnl.net.in

Man is a part and parcel of society. He not only satisfies his quality of living but also quality of life. The quality of living enhances his economical aspect of life, which fulfills his bread and butter aim. On the other hand the quality of life helps to flourish all educational efforts in an equitable social order. Thus it can be said that education cannot be separated from the real life experiences. Education being the pivotal point around which ethical, religious, spiritual, physical and psychological aspect of human being revolve. All these aspects are so closely interwoven with one another that if any of its aspects are removed, education fails to achieve its aim.

The aim of education is the unification of knowledge existing in different branches of learning. In social science we study different aspects of human life and its various activities. The process of water-tight compartments of subjects will not give a clear picture of a complete society. Education is a social science in which we study educational activities of human beings in association with other members of a common society. Therefore there is a close relationship with other subjects. No subject can be taught in isolation. Education grows itself in society, made for the society and by the society, which go to develop a nation.

The existing system of education is alienated from real life. There is a gap between the subjects and the objectives and so cannot achieve the objective of national development. The following problems will reveal that there is a gap between the existing systems of education and real life situation: -

*        Education does not attach importance to agriculture.
*        Education does not achieve the goal of economic development.
*        Schools and colleges do not stress on nation- building.
*        No importance is given to ethical, religious and spiritual values.

The national development objectives can be achieved if the above points are fulfilled as all the above facts are interrelated.

The objective of interdisciplinary approach is to give practical shape to the knowledge of various subjects. The education commission has clarified the idea by giving the example of education as a subject. Therefore subjects like physics, chemistry, Mathematics; economics etc. inter related courses can be useful. The Kothari Commission felt that the interdisciplinary approach should be dealt with departments having close relationship. For example education may be offered a new combination with subjects as education and psychology, education and philosophy and education and sociology. Philosophy is the reflective or the thinking process where as the education deals with the implementation of things already philosophized.

Psychology is the science of behavior which education tries to bring out in man's personality. Similarly sociology is the science of society of which education is a part.

For the success of interdisciplinary approach the Kothari Commission established educational departments in four or five universities with the help of UGC. These departments will: -

*        Ensure research development in interdisciplinary approach.
*        Organize summer training to encourage inter disciplinary approach.

Interdisciplinary approach is a technique or tool that establishes reciprocal relationship for better understanding of the subject. No knowledge is permanent unless we correlate one subject with the other. Knowledge is an indivisible whole and cannot be divided. There is a definite relationship between an engineer and a cotton producer because it is a joint venture of the two that a cloth is made. Correlation between subjects or inter-discipline is essential because it: -

*     Makes knowledge stable.
*     Enables to acquire knowledge in a short period.
*     Develops interest in the reader.
*     Lightens the burden of curriculum.
*     Makes knowledge broad based.
*     Develops various human and social activities such as cooperation generosity, harmony etc.
*     Maintains correlation with life.

Education deals with activities in regard to his livelihood. Since livelihood cannot go on without other aspects of social life i.e. social values, norms and standards. Therefore education must be correlated with other subjects. This co-relation between education and other subjects can go hand in hand only if activities of one influence the activities of the other.

This interdisciplinary approach can be strengthened if in Educational research work people choose the topic of one discipline, which shows relevance to another discipline. This should be conducted by team working in interdisciplinary spheres. At the most one supervisor may be assisted by a co-supervisor, both having mastery over two different discipline. Therefore the Ph.D. degree awarded will not possess stamp of one department but of two departments. For example the topic "A Critical Evaluation of Contemporary Indian Theories of Education", can be claimed by both the department of philosophy and education. It is highly philosophical as the topic deals with the philosophical thinking of the philosophers who are educationalists also.

Life is complex, therefore a liberal and eclectic approach should be encouraged. In order to study the complexities of education interdisciplinary study between the department of education, sociology, philosophy, psychology etc. is the need of the hour. Subjects like educational psychology, educational sociology, educational philosophy, comparative religious study etc. should be in vogue in the present day situation. Interdisciplinary approach is an excellent means to creating harmony between various levels and faculties. It is required for a long term plan for any specific study. Knowledge is a unity and in order to maintain its unitary nature it is essential to adopt the interdisciplinary approach.

Dr. Purabi Chakravarty
Ph.D, M.Phil, M.E.d., MA (Phil & Eng.)
Department of Education
Institute of Management Education
Sahibabad, Ghaziabad
ime@del6.vsnl.net.in

Source : E-mail July 2003

 

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