Features of Vedic Education in Ancient India: The Kalpamrit Vedic education system has been a source of inspiration to all educational systems of the world. The ingredients, which our present system lacks and which were the predominant facets of our ancient system relate to admission policies (upnayan), monitorial system, low teacher pupil ratio, healthy teaching surroundings, free schooling and college education, sympathetic treatment, role of punishment in discipline, regulation governing student life.
The education system that prevailed during the Vedic times had some unique characteristics. Education was confined to the upper castes and to those who were Brahmacharis. In Indian tradition, a person’s life cycle is divided into four stages of which Brahmachari is the second phase. This is the time set aside for learning and acquiring skills. During Vedic period, most of the upper castes, which were either Brahmins or Kshatriyas, had their education in a unique system called Gurukulam. Students had their education by living with their preceptors in forests far removed from cities, towns or villages. The life of students who were called Shisyas was very rigorous and demanding. Those who failed to live up to these high standards would simply fall by the wayside. There were legendary acharyas like Sanandeepani and Dronacharya who taught epic heroes like Krishna and Arjuna martial skills. There were of two types of Brahmacharis who attended such Gurukulams, they were: Upakurvana Brahmachari who remains a student for a limited time period after which he marries and becomes a householder and Naishthika Brahmachari, who remains a student and celibate throughout life dedicated to the pursuit of learning.
Character Formation and Personality Development: - In no period of the History of India, was so much stress laid on character building as in the Vedic period. Wisdom consisted in the practice of moral values. Control of senses and practice of virtues made one a man of character. Moral excellence could come only through practising moral values. The teacher and the taught were ideals of morality, for both practiced it all through their lives. The Guru in the ancient times realized that the development of personality is the sole aim of education. The qualities of self-esteem, self confidence, self restraint and self respect were the personality traits that the educator tried to inoculate in his pupils through example.
Developing the wholesome personality:- The primary aim of any system of education should be development of a whole some personality. The Brahmanic system of education stood on former grounds of lofty ideals because its primary aim was development of personality and character. Moral strength and moral excellence were developed to the fullest extent, which we lack so utterly. The moral stature of our educated people is deplorably low. Moral values are at stake ―The old values are disappearing and as there in no effective program to replace them by a new sense of responsibility.
Development of all round personality:- Ancient Indians believed that personality should be developed through education. Personality was developed through the following methods:-
Stress on Social duties:- A student was not to lead self-centered life. He was to perform his duties as a son, as a husband, as a father & many other capacities conscientiously and efficiently in the society. His wealth was not for his own sake as for his family, he must be hospitable and charitable. All professions laid stress on civil responsibilities.