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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-4

Ayurveda education – Transformation, challenges ahead, and the way forward

1 President, Board of Ayurveda, National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM), New Delhi, India
2 Department of Kayachikitsa, KAHER's Shri BMK Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Belagavi, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Dravyaguna, KAHER's BMK Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Shahapur, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission16-May-2022
Date of Decision18-May-2022
Date of Acceptance19-May-2022
Date of Web Publication15-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Divya Khare
Assistant Professor, Department of Dravyaguna, KAHER's BMK Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Shahapur, Belagavi - 590 003, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijaim.ijaim_23_22

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How to cite this article:
Prasad B S, Tubaki BR, Khare D. Ayurveda education – Transformation, challenges ahead, and the way forward. Indian J Ayurveda lntegr Med 2022;3:1-4

How to cite this URL:
Prasad B S, Tubaki BR, Khare D. Ayurveda education – Transformation, challenges ahead, and the way forward. Indian J Ayurveda lntegr Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 29];3:1-4. Available from: http://www.ijaim.in/text.asp?2022/3/1/1/347498

Education as defined by Swami Vivekananda, “Education is the manifestation of divine perfection already in man” and further he states that “Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas….” In ancient India, education was considered as source of “illumination” that can lead to apt approach of honorable, ethical, and successful life.

Gurukula education was practiced during the period of Charaka Samhita. It emphasized on the liberty and scientific temper in the selection of a profession, guru, and even the student. The profession should be aptajana poojita (respected by the experts), providing comprehensive knowledge systems, successful in execution, etc. Guru should be with a good comprehensive knowledge, skilled, able, well equipped, virtuous, etc. Students should be intelligent, with high desire for learning, good conduct, empathetic to all, etc.[1] Women also had access to education and important women Vedic scholars are Maitreyi, Viswambhara, Apala, Gargi, Lopamudra, etc. With the expanding knowledge base, higher learning and pupils from worldwide, the education system evolved into universities on the basis of gurukula system. Few important universities are Takshashila, Nalanda, Valabhi, Vikramshila, Odantapuri, and Jagaddala. Few of the important pupils of Takshashila are Panini (authored Ashtadhyayi, the greatest work on grammar), Jeevak (renowned physician), and Chanakya (skilled exponent of statecraft and wrote Arthashastra). Education was free to those who were competent and devoted. It was irrespective of financial status, caste, and other backgrounds. Students would perceive the field of his interest and his ability as perceived by his guru. Methods of teaching were diverse and were planned by the guru.

  Transformation of Ayurveda Education Top

“Kaalohi Parinaama Ucchyate” time is defined as transformation, change, or metamorphosis. Changes are inevitable in every aspect with passing of time. The same is the case with Ayurveda education also. Ayurveda being upaveda of Atharvaveda, knowledge transmission was transformed from oral tradition to documentation. The Ayurveda education system from Gurukula to Kulaguru (University System) and at present to hybrid mode (online and offline). There are similarities as well as dissimilarities in both the systems. There were selection criteria for students of medical education in both the systems. In the gurukula system, student selection for medical education was on the basis of physical and mental fitness as required for medical practice, moral values of the individual, and ethical attitude; whereas in the kulaguru system, it is only on the basis of knowledge in prerequisite qualification. Truly speaking, the student selection process for medical education in the gurukula system was more appropriate than the present entrance examination system. The dissimilarity is, in the case of the gurukula system till the admitted batch of students complete their education, another batch of students would not be admitted. Whereas in the kulaguru system, students are admitted in each academic year. The gurukula system provides overall development of the individual, whereas the present institutional education system focuses only on knowledge and skills of respective subject. Dr. Jayanth Deopujari, Chairman, National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM), expressed a big question ”what could be the status of Ayurveda education if there was no foreign invasion in India?” Wherein there might not be disruption to our Ayurveda educational system, whether ashtanga Ayurveda remained as eight specialties or few more specialties could have been emerged out? is a question. Further, the allopathy system might have been introduced in our country, and in such cases, the status of allopathy system needs to rethink. In the gurukula system, each gurukula was dealing with any one of the ashtanga Ayurveda, i.e., Charaka school of thought, Dhanvantari Sampradaya, etc. The kulaguru or the institutional system provides opportunity to deal with multiple traditions/streams simultaneously. Studies comparing the gurukula system and modern education system have shown that former significantly contributes to improvements of sustained attention,[2] visual and verbal memory.[3]

  Asthanga Ayurveda versus 14 Subjects of BAMS Curriculum Top

As we transformed from the gurukula to kulaguru system of education, to suit the institutional educational system and in line with the allopathy system of education, 14 subjects from eight specialties (ashtanga Ayurveda) were carved out and thus Bachelor of Ayurvedic medicine and surgery (BAMS) syllabus/curriculum was designed. Such an effort of framing 14 subjects for BAMS program is in one-way favorable and in another way unfavorable. Favorable in the sense, the disrupted knowledge flow of Ayurveda medical science is being tried to be reconnected. That is to say, due to foreign invasion and destruction to our culture, there was disruption of knowledge flow, for example, understanding of Samhitas, i.e., now we are not in a position to understand the way and with what understanding it was documented. The understanding of diseases/clinical conditions during the Samhita period is not conveyed to the present generation as there was disruption in knowledge flow. To some extent, modern advances and understandings are helping us to understand/elaborate the classical sutras. On the other side, the institutional system hampered the holistic approach which was the core strength of Ayurveda. Further, there is no connectivity/integration of subjects of BAMS, either horizontally or vertically.

  Samhita-Based Teaching Top

Another aspect is, even today all subjects are being taught with Samhitas as base. This led to stagnation of knowledge, although there are several research updates, these updates are not being taught in the classroom. Sometimes, these become more of grammar classes or author justification classes rather than subject classes. That is to say, some teachers spend more time on the grammar aspects of the Samhita content and some teachers on how and why the different authors differed on the same subject and try to justify the differences. The main reason for this is a lack of textbooks. Textbooks with updated knowledge will definitely facilitate students to get exposed to new developments and also get elaborative scientific explanations of classical sutras. If the teachers follow and teach through updated editions, then only we can produce graduates of Ayurveda with updated knowledge and skills of present requirements. Hence, textbooks with updated knowledge are the need of the hour. We also have to develop system for periodical editions of these textbooks for updating. Another issue is keeping Samhita itself as one of the subjects. As all the other subjects are carved out of Samhita which is mere repetition as the teaching content of these subjects is from Samhita itself. Each Samhita is complete in itself. For example, Charaka Samhita deals with dravyaguna, bhaishajyakalpana, ahara kalpana, panchakarma, concepts of swasthavritta, rasayana, vajikarana, etc., to the extent of the scope of Charaka Samhita. In the present BAMS curriculum, there are exclusive subjects for each aspect, for example, dravyaguna, bhaishajyakalpana, swasthavritta, agadatantra, etc., One cannot expect teachers of Samhita as expert of all these subjects.

  Association of Allied/Basic Sciences Top

Another major challenge Ayurveda is facing today is nonassociation of allied sciences or basic sciences. Any stream of science including the allopathy system of medicine has grown with the contribution of developments by various allied or basic sciences. Unless and until doors are not opened up for basic sciences by Ayurveda, multidimensional and integrated research and development are not possible in Ayurveda. As Ayurveda professionals are trained and inclined toward clinical practice, multidimensional research and development have not been taken place to the expected extent. In this aspect, starting of MSc Ayurbiology is a welcome step. Thinking on these lines, NCISM introduced electives in the BAMS curriculum. These electives will be from diversified fields and students are free to choose as per their interest. As mentioned earlier, the kulaguru system of education disturbed the holistic approach and also overall development of the individual. To address this issue, NCISM has brought out Competency-/Outcome-Based Medical Education wherein departmental integration is a part of curricular implementation. With the intention to provide overall growth, NCISM has specified hours for sports and cultural activities also.

  Assessment Methodologies Top

Training and assessment are two sides of the same coin. It is a common observation that frontbenchers become academicians and the last benchers become successful practitioners. In the same manner, whom the institutes fail they succeed in real life and whom institutes grade they may be unsuccessful in real life. This indicates the assessment tools that are being used are not appropriate. The assessment should facilitate to examine what is expected to learn/mastery. In accordance with the objective of teaching content, suitable teaching methods as well as assessment methods are to be defined in curriculum itself. While conducting assessment it must be taken care that, all students of the same batch and all batches that particular examination are to be assessed with similar pattern and same level of difficulty questions. Otherwise, it happens that 1st-day first student face very difficult questions and the last student of the last day will be questioned for his/her own choice. Present curriculum prescribed for first BAMS by NCISM, appropriately addressed this issue by indicating appropriate assessment methods. Further, the blueprint of the question paper is also defined to give appropriate weightage to the syllabus content. This enables the students to focus on must to know topics. The current education system is slowly replacing the rank-based system to value-based and value-added education systems of gurukula that identifies and promotes the uniqueness of the student and a holistic development.

  Imparting Global Standards Top

Considering the global scenario wherein the whole world is getting older with maximum number of aged population and India with young population, the Indian government is promoting ”Heal in India and Heal by India” where “Heal in India” means overseas patients coming to India and obtaining medical care, whereas ”Heal by India” means Indian health-care professionals providing health care globally. To achieve this, our Ayurveda educational system should focus on global standards and while doing so we should not compromise with the core Ayurvedic values and principles.

  Hybrid Mode Top

COVID-19 paved the way for several new dimensions. Online teaching is one of such new things which people thought was not possible. Now it has become major method of the educational system. Although, online teaching methodology may not be suitable for medical education, looking at the present trends and fast-growing teaching technology, especially simulation-based learning, in future some parts of medical education may be definitely moved to online teaching. Good amount of acceptance, as well as comfort, is being noticed by the learners of the present era. Hence, future curriculum developers must focus in this angle while preparing curriculum for medical education including Ayurveda.

  Multi-certification and Integrated Programs Top

The duration of the medical courses is too long. If a student of undergraduate medical education could not complete the course in the final year or internship by any reason his/her whole 4–5 years of education becomes useless. Further, advancement in information communication technologies led the learners to get information on fingertips. This facilitated the learners to acquire knowledge faster. Demonstration of experiments, clinical skills, etc., becomes easy due to simulation technology. In consideration of these, there is a need to revisit the duration of the medical programs or to design multi-certification by keeping the duration as it is. For example, five-and half-year graduate program may include a certificate, diploma, and graduation. This also facilitates lateral entry to advance courses in the specified areas. For example, the first 2 years is certificate program on “Lifestyle Modification,” after the competition of certificate program, the student can progress vertically to the next diploma or laterally to diet counseling or occupational therapy, etc., programs. Similarly, after diploma, the student can progress vertically for graduation or laterally to other relevant courses. In both the cases, the lateral migration may be directly to the second semester.

In case of postgraduation (PG), after completion of graduation, student has to wait for PG entrance and then join PG course. This takes a minimum of 6 months of duration. If we develop integrated program, i.e., undergraduate and PG or PG and Ph.D., the duration of the program may be reduced greatly and also repetition of the syllabus may also be reduced greatly.

Integrating gurukula-and kulaguru-based education system is being attempted taking the best of both systems. Residential educational programs are rising and are partially adapting gurukula concept of inculcating a healthy lifestyle, discipline, self-driven activities, social conduct, personality development, etc., along with focused learning process. Currently, NCISM is making its best efforts in optimally utilizing the information and technology, medical education technology, horizontal and vertical integration, improving the skills, incorporating the newer developments, newer methods, hybrid mode of conduction, etc., to produce a competent globally accepted Ayurveda human resource.

  References Top

Rangan R, Nagendra HR, Bhatt R. Effect of yogic education system and modern education system on sustained attention. Int J Yoga 2009;2:35-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Rangan R, Nagendra H, Bhat GR. Effect of yogic education system and modern education system on memory. Int J Yoga 2009;2:55-61.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  


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Transformation o...
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Association of A...
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Imparting Global...
Hybrid Mode

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