Education for a better world
Education according to Swami Vivekananda is the manifestation of the perfection lying within. The purpose of education is not to fill an empty vessel but to turn the eye of the soul towards light, held Plato. For Gandhi, Education meant drawing out the best in a child – body, mind and spirit. Thus education is not merely acquisition of information or skills but transformation of information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. Character building and holistic development of personality are inherent in education.
True education enables an individual to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. Education must provide opportunities to enhance the students’ creative expression and the capacity for aesthetic expression. It is training in citizenship. It is a process of character building – sowing within the individual seeds of values, of simplicity, and service and helping him/her to blossom into a beautiful human being.
We must begin with the children if we want a beautiful world. They are the future. It is necessary to mould the present generation in their attitudes, values and ideas. This is the only way towards a better tomorrow. It is essential to instill in their minds a dream, a vision, a burning passion to achieve a lofty goal. It is necessary to inspire them to become original thinkers, innovative scientists and creative artists and serve their country and the world. They must have freedom to explore, to discover, to create, and to grow. Students must be trained to become sensitive to the surroundings and society. They are not passive learners but active participants and must be given freedom and space. Social responsibility of the learners must be stressed. If we want a better tomorrow we must inculcate humane values in our children.
As the Chinese proverb holds, ‘If you are planning for one year, grow rice, if you are planning for ten years, plant a tree, if you are planning for one hundred years, provide education to the children’. Values add beauty to the soul and excellence to the character. However continuous erosion of moral values in public life in human society, in the country and in the world at large presents a shocking scenario. No wonder educationists are now thinking of reintroducing value education so as to rebuild human life on sound ethical principles. In the early and mid nineteenth century, IQ (Intelligence Quotient) was important; later the emphasis shifted to EQ (Emotional Quotient) and now in the 21st Century SQ (Spiritual Quotient) is gaining importance as the ultimate indicator, giving the right direction to human life. IQ may enhance the academic performance and capabilities, EQ is necessary for effective management of human relations but SQ helps a person to understand one’s true self and connect with the ultimate truth of life. Value education broadens our perspective, widens our horizon, deepens our insight and liberates us from narrow and negative thinking and helps us to evolve as better human beings. Therefore, there is an urgent need for imparting value based education in educational institutions, to train and shape good citizens. Education without values is like a flower without fragrance. Character building is as important as career building.
It is necessary to remember what Rabindranath Tagore said, “Values cannot be taught, they must be caught”. Values are picked up by the children by observing their parents, their teachers, the way they talk, behave and act. Remember children are constantly observing the behaviour pattern of the elders. If we want them to be truthful, honest, sincere and tolerant we have to practice these virtues in our lives. Through stories, literature, autobiographies/ biographies of great persons, poetry, music and drama, right values can be inculcated in children.
Schools can play an important role in
(1) Reducing the erosion of values.
(2) Containing the forces responsible for such erosion.
All the activities and experiences to which the children are exposed either in the classroom or outside the classroom, on the playfield, in the laboratory and the library should be value oriented. Students can effortlessly pickup values like cleanliness, silence, self discipline, self-control, compassion, sense of responsibility, helping attitude from the very atmosphere of the school, the inspiring leadership of the Principal and from their smiling and inspiring teachers. The school assembly can set the tone of the day by focusing on important values. Bulletin Boards can highlight these further. In the play field, children pick up the values of sporting zeal and team spirit, while in the library they learn the virtue of silence and concentration.
Students learn of the rich heritage and culture of our nation through the celebration of national days and festivals in school. Teachers are the role models and play an important role in shaping the personalities of the young learners. A child is a precious gift and nurturing it with love and care is a sacred responsibility. Students learn from the conduct of their teachers as they emulate their teachers. The turning point in the process of growing up is when the teachers are able to inspire in the students an urge for innovation, a spirit of compassion for the world around and a passion to become achievers but remain deeply rooted in human values. Relationship between the teacher and taught must be based on mutual trust, respect and concern. Teachers must act as colearners and facilitators.
The gap between Materialistic Education which has increased our knowledge of science and technology, giving us skills and worldly prosperity and the Value based and Spiritual Education which enables us to be centered within and, become good human beings, must be bridged.
Therefore, it is essential to incorporate moral and ethical education in the core curriculum. Schools must give utmost priority to inculcating values in students so that they become socially sensitive and responsible citizens of character and integrity. We Indians believe in olqèkSo dqVqEcde the entire humanity is one family, and losZ HkoUrq lqf[ku%dwelling in the welfare of all and loZHkwr fgrs jrk%let all be happy. Such universal prayers embodying human values like unity and oneness, reverence for life, respect for happiness, love and compassion if integrated in education will certainly help in the creation of a better world.
Dr. Krishna Gupta is a professor of Political Science in the University of Allahabad, UP. She is a distinguished educationist with 35 years of experience in teaching and research. Her areas of interest are Comparative Politics, Indian Political System, Human Rights and Gender Issues. She has written and published extensively in these areas. Prof. Gupta is the hony. secretary of Maharshi Patanjali Vidya Mandir and MPVM: Ganga Gurukulam, leading senior secondary schools affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi. Both the schools are recognized for their value based & quality education. Dr. Gupta is also managing schools imparting free education to the underprivileged children and vocational skills to women in difficult circumstances. She firmly believes that education is a powerful tool of empowerment and will be able to transform all sections of society.