Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson

Greetings to all our readers from The Progressive Teacher. What is wrong with our society? The mayhem we have experienced in the recent weeks in the national capital region and around is a telling experience. The question has no simple answers, but one can say that somewhere down the line our school education has failed to produce men and women of substance. We are shocked to find parents who advise their children to join government service because whether you work or not, you are sure to retire with a comfortable pension besides making a lot of money, and the child does not mind jumping on to the band wagon like everyone else.

So what is wrong with our schools? Today we have a rat race for setting up of 5-star schools with air conditioned facilities and on-line cyber aided systems for teaching and learning. Parents, who have graduated from such schools themselves, do not believe that physical exertion is a must for proper growth and development of their child. Comforts of home are being sought inside the classroom and the parents are able to boast of the state of the art infrastructure in ‘my school’. Schools are also vying for ‘better than others’ syndrome so that they can enhance the exorbitant fees even further and also be seen as the best.

But teachers in the schools must be able to imbibe in their students value for hard work, sensitivity about the environment and a genuine feeling of pride in one’s honest dealings. They must also, and this is where we fail, train the students to speak up against wrongdoing, corruption and selfish desires; have courage to take on the wrongdoer and not adopt the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. A teacher will be able to impart a value if it is already in her mind. Education of values is about finding some way to help students develop good habits or virtues. It is a way of doing everything in the school. It is not about one particular programme or focus; it’s everything we do that influences the kind of human beings students grow up to be.

In The Values Book Pam Schiller and Tamera Bryant have aptly said, ‘The values we impart to our children today consciously and unconsciously will have a major impact on our society tomorrow. If we continue to leave the teaching of values to chance, we, as a nation, risk losing an integral piece of our culture altogether.’

Let us, as teachers, reflect on the legacy we shall leave behind and the indisputable contribution which we make towards safeguarding and developing a democratic society.

Rita Wilson has over 40 years of rich experience as educationist including over 30 years of experience in school leadership positions. She is the former Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the ICSE, New Delhi. She is a consultant to a number of corporate houses and educational institutions. She is serving as a Member of the Board of Governors/Managing Committees of some of the most prestigious schools and colleges of the country. She has vast exposure to the education systems of Japan, Germany, England, Thailand, Singapore, Sharjah and Dubai. She has initiated, conducted and organised workshops for school teachers and principals all over India With a B.A. (Hons) English Literature, M.A., M.Phil. (English Literature), B.Ed. to her credit, she has edited two series of English readers and work-books for school children.