If every school introduced spinning, it would revolutionize our ideas of financing education. We can work a school for six hours per day and give free education to the pupils. Supposing a boy works at the wheel for four hours daily, he will produce every day 10 tolas of yarn and thus earn for his school one anna per day. Suppose further that he manufactures very little during the first month, and that the school works only twenty-six days in the month. A class of thirty boys would yield, after the first month, an income of Rs. 48-12-0 per month.
I have said nothing about literary training. It can be given during the two hours out of the six. It is easy to see that every school can be made self-supporting without much effort and the nation can engage experienced teachers for its schools.
The chief difficulty in working out the scheme is the spinning wheel. We require thousand of wheels if the art becomes popular. Fortunately, every village carpenter can easily construct the machines. It is a serious mistake to order them from the Ashram or any other place. The beauty of spinning is that it is incredibly simple, easily learnt, and can be cheaply introduced in every village.
The course suggested by me is intended only for this year of purification and probation. When normal times are reached and Swaraj is established, one hour only may be given to spinning and the rest to literary training.
Young India, 2-2-'' 21
Our education should not be financed out of the excise revenue, neither out of land revenue. Under Swaraj its main prop should be the spinning wheel. If the spinning wheel and the loom are introduced in every school and college, our education would easily pay its way. Today, I would like our boys to give all their time to spinning. After Swaraj is attained, at least one hour will have to be given. Swaraj must react in each and every department of our life. Our schools today are so many factories to turn out slaves from. Education under Swaraj will aim at making boys self-supporting from their youth. Any other profession may be taught them, but spinning will be compulsory. The spinning wheel ought to be the solace of the miserable. Nothing else has its virtues, for it alone can supplement agriculture. All cannot be carpenters, nor smiths, but all must be spinners, and must spin either for their country or to supplement their own earnings. Because the need of clothing is universal the spinning wheel must needs be universal.
Let us have spinning introduced from now as a necessary adjunct to literary education, so that under Swaraj we may not have to fight over this question a new.
Young India, 30-3-1921
I venture to suggest to you, that it is a matter of deep humiliation for the country to find its children educated from the drink revenue. We shall deserve the curse of posterity if we do not wisely decide to stop the drink evil, even though we may have to sacrifice the education of our children. But we need not. I know, many of you have laughed at the idea of making education self-supporting by introducing spinning in our schools and colleges. I assure you that it solves the problem of education as nothing else can. The country cannot bear fresh taxation. Even the existing taxation is unbearable. Not only must we do away with the opium and the drink revenue, but the other revenues have also to be very considerably reduced if the ever-growing poverty of the masses is to be combated in the near future.
Young India, 8-6-1921
Who does not know what questionable things fathers of families in need of money for their children's education have considered it their duty to do ? I am convinced that we are in for far worse times, unless we change the whole system of our education. We have only touched the fringe of an ocean of children. The vast mass of them remain without education, not for want of will but of ability and knowledge on the part of the parents. There is something radically wrong, especially for a nation so poor as ours, when parents have to support so many grown up children, and given them a highly expensive education without the children making any immediate return. I can see nothing wrong in the children, from the very threshold of their education, paying for it in work. The simplest handicraft suitable for all, required for the whole of India, is undoubtedly spinning along with the previous processes. If we introduced this in our educational institutions, we should fulfil three purposes, make education self-supporting, train the bodies of the children as well as their minds, and pave the way for a complete boycott of foreign yarn and cloth. Moreover, the children thus equipped will become self-reliant and independent.
Young India, 15-6-1921
If we expect, as we must, every boy and girl of school going age to attend public schools, we have not the means to finance education in accordance with the existing style nor are millions of parents able to pay the fees that are at present imposed. Education to be universal must therefore be free. I fancy that even under an ideal system of Government, we shall not be able to devote two thousand million rupees which we should require for finding education for all the children of school going age. It follows, therefore, that our children must be made to pay in labour partly or wholly for all the education they receive. Such universal labour to be profitable can only be (to my thinking) hand-spinning and hand-weaving. But for the purpose of my proposition, it is immaterial whether we have spinning or any other form of labour, so long as it can be turned to account. Only, it will be found upon examination that on a practical, profitable and extensive scale, there is no occupation other than the processes connected with cloth production which can be introduced in our schools throughout India.
The introduction of manual training will serve a double purpose in a poor country like ours. It will pay for the education of our children and teach them an occupation on which they can fall back in afterlife, if they choose for earning a living. Such a system must make our children self-reliant. Nothing will demoralize the nation so much as that we should learn to despise labour.
Young India, 1-9-1921