Recommending education through craft, Mahatma Gandhi said, “..The core of my suggestion is that handicrafts are taught not merely for production work but for developing intellect of the pupils”. This idea was taken forward by the ‘Kothari Commission’ (1964–66), which suggested introduction of ‘work experience’ in education. Subsequently, after the recommendations of ‘Ishwarbhai Patel Committee’ (July, 1977), which first coined the term ‘Socially Useful Productive Work’ or SUPW, the subject was first introduced to the school curriculum in 1978, by Ministry of Education, Government of India
Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW) is a subject in Indian schools where students can choose from a number of vocational education activities –embroidery and knitting, gardening, cooking, painting, carpentry and other crafts and hobbies, and clubbed community service for senior students (class IX on wards). Students learn to work as a team and to work with skill and deftness. It was introduced in 1978, by the Ministry of Education to promoteGandhian values and educational ideas of Mahatma Gandhi.
While most private schools barring a few have dispensed with the subject, it remains an ancillary, but mandatory part of course curriculum in schools affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts two examinations in India: the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC). It is also taught in some Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools, which includes all Kendriya Vidyalaya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools.
In addition to developing individual skills, SUPW aims to help develop among the students the habit to work as a community, encourage community thinking, increase awareness of scientific advancements and develop a scientific outlook. The training acquired in the classroom is expected to help students to solve day-to-day problems of the community.