While India is progressing economically and major steps are being taken to enhance education standards across the country, somewhere along the way, we seem to have lost sight of our traditional values.
Most newspaper headlines are about robberies, murder and violence against women, children and elderly. The other set of news relates to corruption, frauds and scams—white-collar crime. Isn’t there a marked decline in character, moral values and general behaviour of even our students?
It appears that in most educational institutions, there is a lack of the concept of human development and nation building in the education process. This trend needs to be reversed if India is to acquire its due standing in the world. One way lies in providing value-orientation in our educational system.
Without going into a debate about the definition of value, it is generally accepted that five universal human values—truth, righteous conduct, peace, love and non-violence are directly linked to physical, intellectual, emotional psyche and spiritual facets of human personality. These values are essentially acquired during the childhood, first in the home and then at school. In fact, the National Education Policy, 1986, had talked about this. It had suggested that learning material should be designed to equip students with the wherewithal to combat social evils like caste & class barriers and religious fundamentalism on one hand and develop scientific temper and a habit of logical, rational thinking on the other.
In addition, indirect method of instruction can be effective in building the character of students. The school atmosphere, and the personality and behaviour of teachers is a major factor in developing a sense of values. Values must permeate the whole curriculum and programme of activities in the school. Then, programmes could be included to promote national core values to strengthen and build in students, love and understanding of India’s national and cultural heritage. Such programmes for value inculcation can be further enriched by organising visits to the relatively deprived areas—homes for the destitute, old-age homes, poverty-ridden villages, etc. Essentially, what is being done at the college levels can also be, to an extent, done at the school level.
A child’s performance at school and the world at large is largely determined by the environment at home. Therefore, parents’ involvement in the learning process at school is also essential. There is an increasing need for regular parent-teacher-student interaction.
By Geeta Karunakaran
The author is principal, Paul George Global School, New Delhi