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What is Democratic Education?

Democratising Education

Democratization of education is based on the idea that students are capable of recognizing their talents and interests and they should be the ones to create the rules of the classrooms and an environment of their liking and not be suffocated by compulsions. They should be allowed to voice out their opinions and make changes as per their requirement and be allowed to choose anything of their liking with teachers to guide them through.

The word democracy comes from two Greek words Démos and Krátos meaning ‘people’ and ‘power’ or ‘rule’ which implies that in a democratic state its people are the real wealth, and with them lies the real power. Likewise, Democratic Education implies that students have the right to choose the way of their learning. It recognizes the different needs and desires of children and comes up with measures to meet those. Its goal is to let children discover their passions, and pursue them so they don’t feel burdened by something they don’t desire to carry along, and to give them a sense of relief and freedom to walk on the path they desire so they can bloom better and live better. It entertains no discrimination based on caste, creed, religion, and gender and gives every child the space to grow. It’s no hidden fact that people do their best when they do things they love. The role of institutions should be to help children discover their passions by allowing them the right to make decisions and guide them as required and not bind them with one’s idea of betterment. Children know their abilities better, and sometimes all they require is someone to light their path.


Democratic education recognizes every child’s uniqueness- Every child is unique in his/her way and has different interests, and different views of the world; they grow at their own pace. When they are allowed to take charge of their life, and choose what they desire they get more proficient, and chances of failing also decrease because now they are the ones responsible.  

Active involvement/no distributed concentration- When children learn the subject/area of their choice they actively participate because they are driven by the fascination for the subject and remain focused for a long time and thus are more productive than they would have if they had an uninteresting subject/area to deal with.  

Less pressure- Every year India records a spike in the suicide cases of students, though the reasons are numerous, many of them are done out of academic pressure because they were forced or manipulated into doing something they never loved doing; they put all their energy into it and come out bruised. By democratizing education they would have a place to breathe too, a place they could call their own, a place they could effectively grow in.  

Decision making- In the democratic education system teachers and students work together to come up with an efficient way of learning. By having a say in their teaching methods students develop trust and learn to form and express their opinions.  

Students are intrinsically motivated- In democratic education, children are not driven by extrinsic factors like punishment or praise, reward or recognition, they are driven by their love for the subject, and put all of them into it for the mere satisfaction of being involved in it, they are intrinsically motivated, that is, driven by their inner fuel to go further and thus are more efficient and bring out better results, which also boosts up their confidence and motivates them to do even better the next time.   

Erstwhile, not every child could afford a qualitative education, with the advancement of technology, it’s no longer a dream. A poor child living in a rural area does not have to pay a huge amount of money to learn from the best of universities, there are numerous lectures on any particular topic available on online platforms such as YouTube for free from the best of educators around the world. In the eduverse, ed-tech is democratizing education by allowing children access to quality lessons and the space to monitor their performance. They enroll in the subject/area of their choice and learn with face-to-face interactions with the teachers where their doubts do not have to wait and the feedback is instant. It comes as no surprise then that ed-tech is spreading its legs in the market at a rapid pace. One such ed-tech startup is GuruCool run by enthusiastic youngsters, with its app named Padhaaई that has so many spaces like blogging, debating, QnA, etcetera with study materials also available to explore. 

As rightly said by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, “Children are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow”. They know their abilities better, they know what they are capable of, and know where they can grow and ace. By democratizing education we would be giving them the right to have their voice heard, the right to choose their way of learning and get comfortable in their space.

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