Nai Talim or Nayee Talim ; New Education or Basic Education were the names given to Gandhi's educational scheme which he propagated in the Wardha Conference held in October 1937. Gandhi outlined an educational agenda for India which was based on dignity of work and learning through work. His ideas got and continue to receive a wide amount of criticism on the basis of urban -rural or language and caste divides. But his ideas have also found space in many learning institutions of the past and the present.
SImply put, Nai Talim is education through work. "Kaam ke zariye shiksha". Work which is manual and productive in nature. Which in turn means work that enables children to learn, understand, and if possible solve some of the real life issues surrounding them. Eight decades after Gandhi first outlined his educational ideas in a conference full of educationists and education ministers ; we encounter this pedagogy of learning by doing in several avataars-- activity based, experiential learning; or place based education. But its is the "doing" part that separates the Gandhian idea of education with others-- children not only learn about their specific locale but they also "do" something productive about their specific locale.
In India, several such experiments have been tried out in schools, outside schools, in informal learning centres or with homeschoolers. Children at Thulir in Sittilingi, for instance learnt to do beekeeping, masonry, furniture making, organic farming amongst other things not only to learn their subject matters but also to improve their own lives and livelihoods. Children in an Azim Premji Foundation school at Dineshpur learnt to grow and sell mushrooms in their school garden plot and linked their curriculum of Language/ Maths/science/social science . At Syamantak in Dhamapur, Konkan, kids learn to make toothpaste, soaps, kokum sherbets, compost cakes from the farm they live in and sell them off/online. Their entire learning curriculum is designed through this "work" done by children. The Rishi Valley School encouraged children to do an energy audit of their own school campus and increased energy conservation methods based on the data collected and analysed. The Adharshila school in Burdwani district of Madhya Pradesh, encouraged children to learn and identify malnourished kids in their village using height weight parameters and provide that data to the district administration. The children also explored the eating habits through local surveys and discovered that nutrition loss was linked to loss of biodiversity. This was yet another example where children did neighbourhood surveys, collected and analysed data and systematically studied the connection between farming patterns and health and nutrition of their own districts.
Many of these examples can be found here in detail.