That education is a living, not a mechanical process, is a truth as freely admitted as it is persistently ignored (lecture in Calcutta in 1936 quoted in Dutta and Robinson 1995, page 323)
In 1940 Oxford University awarded an honorary doctorate on Rabindranath Tagore for all of his achievements, including those as an educationalist. He won the 1913 Nobel Laureate in Literature because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West. Amongst many things he was a poet, writer, composer, painter, philosopher and educator.
Tagore had an intense dislike for his Calcutta based school education and he did not complete a university degree. Strangely enough he devoted much of his life to founding and funding a school in 1901 and a university in 1921 at Shantiniketan in a poor region of rural Bengal. This nuanced man produced the most unorthodox of the educational institutions in twentieth century India and for some fifty years wrote extensively on the nature of education. One of his most well known works was an essay called A Poet’s School which was published in 1926. It was in this that he set out to address the skeptics critique which he invoked so widely. It opens with this passage: