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Vanishing Values and Broken Bonds

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July 15, 2014

Vanishing Values and Broken Bonds

Today’s children live in a world that is very different from the one in which we all grew up. On the one hand, there is accelerated pace of development in the field of science and technology, on the Other hand, there is moral decline and the felt need to revive moral and ethical values.

The values may not, yet be ‘vanishing’ but definitely are diminishing. In one ‘Probasi Bharti ya Sammelan’ in the recent past, an N RI told me, ‘Indian education has many strengths like in science, mathematics, language and ICT. But Indians, in general, are often succumbing to temptation when given responsibilities. Why are we not giving importance to moral values and social ethics in education?’

So the question arises: Why this sort of value crisis is happening? What are its manifestations? How is it reflected in schools and educational institutions? What should be the response of school education? What is the role of school principals, teachers and parents?

There is another important concern before the world today. We may be ‘ learning to know’ and ‘learning to do’ but if we do not know how to ‘learn to be’ and ‘learn to live together’, all our learning will be of no avail. Today, there is an alarming increase in the level of alienation leading to frustration. Joint families have almost disappeared and nuclear families cannot provide the emotional support and moral values to children especially when both the parents are employed.

At the global level, though globalisation is leading to more interdependence, yet the world seems more fragmented – between the rich and underprivileged; the powerful and the powerless. Economically, politically and technologically, the world has never seemed more free, yet there is more injustice and repression than ever before.

At the national level, though our economy is booming and so also lifestyle changing, yet the divide between the ‘ Haves’ and ‘ Have Nots’, the advanced and the marginalised, between rural and urban students and between students of government schools and private schools seems to be widening. Literacy rate is improving and more and more children are in schools, yet there are disparities and vacuum in our education system caused by diminishing values and weakening bonds.

Increasing materialism is making people greedy. Consumerism is threatening the school environment. Education stands the risk of getting commodified. Social responsibility is getting eroded leading to unethical practices. Students are more interested in performance rather than wholesome learning. This is also due to schools more interested in highlighting performance rather than genuine talents. Adolescents are uncertain about a number of things like the process of growing up, developing an identity, managing their emotions. As a result, there is an increase in substance abuse, violent and unsafe behaviour.

We are also passing through an era of problems of plenty. Anything and everything is available at a click of mouse. As a result, most children grow up without knowing the value of many of these things. There may be channels of affiuence. But all affiuence may not lead to happiness, may not lead to success. Computer and internet bombard children with a lot of information – it can be used as well as misused.

The purpose of education is to produce young men and women of character, ability and intellect, in possession of moral and ethical values with the ability to make balanced decisions. This has to begin in school. Schooling helps the children not only to achieve ‘better quality of life’ but also to aim for ‘higher quality of life’.

As value education cannot be taught, the schools can do a number of things to ensure its appropriate assimilation. Teachers must know how to integrate value part while preparing lesson plans for every chapter in each subject. As role of the teacher is very crucial in this regard, teaching the teacher assumes significance. Curriculum transaction the individual as a member of the society. should help children relate the values learnt In order to ward off the evils of untrammeled with real life experiences by providing competitiveness and use of unethical opportunities for scouting and guiding, practices to go up in the socioeconomic NCC, NSS, Environmental club, Health ladder, it is necessary that school should lay club and such co-curricular activities like stress on value education which emphasises debate, creative writing, adult literacy drive, co-operation rather than competition, dramatics, fine arts, music, dance, etc.Two to collaboration rather than comparison and three periods per week should be earmarked choices rather than compulsion. Homogeneity for such activities. Promoting reading in classroom is not the answer to all the habits will definitely stimulate the children’s values we would like to inculcate in our imagination and pop up thinking skills.The children through school education.Teachers question arises – are we giving adequate time and schools must believe that individual and space for imagination in our classroom? differences between students are a source Imagination will lead to innovation and of richness and diversity and not a problem innovation and creativity will then lead to or barrier. I pity the schools which boast entrepreneurship. of having a number of ability sections. We Of late, I have seen, school after school, not can easily imagine the quality of classroom giving due importance to morning assembly. transactions in such sections.

Forget about the whole faculty, even the The parental role is very important in heads are not regularly present. Morning developing a value based individual. I will assembly is an essential ingredient of a discuss about good parenting later on in this quality schooling system. Involve children in column. Here I just want to add that spending environmental activities so that they learn time with our children daily, regularly and the value of sustainable development. Focus religiously and knowing what our child is up on the creative use of library. Poor library to, goes a long way in letting our children facility will create negative environment in know that we care enough and that’s a huge school. Poor reading habit will lead to ‘anti- moral support for the child. Parents have to values’. All anti-values start with ‘ prejudice’ be involved in the process of building a value in mind. It then leads to ‘hatred’ which leads culture and value oriented climate in the to ‘ violence’. Violence then leads to ‘ venom’ school. Nowadays, parents have a tendency which then leads to ‘ vengeance’, it then to complain more and support less. Schools further leads to ‘ insecurity’ and then to ‘ are increasingly becoming surrogate parents. war ‘ which finally leads to ‘ destruction’. We So schools should counsel and interact with need to desist from such inputs which would parents and use their services to conduct demoralise or negate the holistic growth of value-oriented activities in school.

Lastly, the values inherited in the schooling process need to be evaluated and appropriately reflected in the assessment format. This can be accomplished through a range of activities conducted by the school and the learner be given choices to choose from. In short, we have to enhance grass root sensitisation, highlight the Indian ethos, scale down westernised sensitivities and ‘Brown Saheb’ notion and empower students to serve.

Ashok Ganguly is an educationist of more than 32 years standing in school education. He has worked in the government sector in the state of Uttar Pradesh and also in the Central Government. He has occupied important positions – from principal of senior secondary school to district and divisional level and also at state level. He was the Director SCERT and Joint Secretary of Education in U P; worked for Sarva Shiksha Abh/jyan project in U P and was Chairman, CBSE, New Delhi from 2000-2008. He played an important role in the development of the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and was the Chairman of the Ganguly Committee on admissions to Nursery.

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