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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2967

Value based education

By N. Nakuleswaran

I’m a Srilankan living in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Violence has affected me, my country and I think the whole world is obsessed with it. I feel attitude against violence must be developed in human minds when people are young, through education. For that Human values ought to be imparted through education. One way to impart it is to teach values separately which becomes value added education. That in my view wouldn't succeed in today's fast competitive world. The other is to integrate the values into each subject in such a way that lessons are built around values, for the physical and mental wellbeing of human beings. This becomes value based education which I feel will suceed. The attached article is just my thoughts for consideration of the interested. I leave it for you to judge whether it is worthwhile to consider - Author

"Education need to be embedded and enshrined with values" is the cry of the day. The cause of violence in every nook and corner of the world; taking place round the clock is attributed to lack of values and that in turn to drawbacks in today’s educational system. The existence of the oppressor and the oppressed, the events which lead to terrorism and the repercussions are the result of disregard of human values. And this is because these values were not effectively learnt and realized in the young.

In the olden days when literature, religion and philosophy were the most pursued after academic fields the values cherished and practiced in the society were high as these subjects have values enshrined in them. In those days there have been wars but not terrorism. The victor and the vanquished showed bravery, magnanimity and just.

As development and industrialization progressed science and commerce became more sought after fields. In fact it could be said that these fields only give room for rapid economic enhancement. These are purely materialistic subjects. They create/ would serve to create a material oriented attitude without values.

To compensate for this drawback Educationists include religion, literature and other subjects in the curriculum. These are taught as separate subjects. The fantasy in these cannot stand against the logic and rationalism present in science and commerce subjects. Sometimes even religion at times could be thought to bring some diversity among people. In Srilanka they have a system in which each child learns its own religion with a syllabus in which highlights and important value targets of other religions are also taught. In India it is not so. But they bring in a subject by the name of moral science which has a common syllabus for all students. I do not know the systems in other countries.

Whatever is taught, when it comes to seeking a lively hood, soon after their high school or college the younger generation goes in search of further skill/competency in computer, accountancy, science and other fields which, would lead them to a job or help them earn a wage. Indeed while in school itself it is only these subjects that are given more attention by students and parents. When a child brings home its progress report the parents usually query about the marks they got in these subjects. Moral science doesn’t seem to be bothered about by any.

When the young adult gets into employment he is armed with technical commercial and other skills to excel in his profession and a motivation to acquire yet more ability in these to enhance his position and pocket.

So the stress on Ethics and moral values is hardly made after primary education. How can we bring about it effectively?

Moral science and introduction of religious knowledge of other religions may be at maximum serve as value added education. That is not enough .It hasn’t proved to be successful in enhancing peace even in small and manageable populations.

So the need for value based education. That is values integrated into each subject, or rather each lesson in each subject to built on human values. How could we bring about a value based syllabus?

Let me suggest two instances.

In commerce we come across what is known as Demand and Supply theory. As demand increases, the price increases. So the one who holds a large stock benefits. It is an automatic process and nothing big is going to be achieved by bringing a ceiling on the price. But further discussion on the topic can go along these lines. A trader can profit if he hoards a large stocks and release when the demand is high. Price increase leads to the wealth accumulation and what happens to the welfare of the wealthy? He will go for the maximum comforts money can bring. There will be little for him to do physically which brings about a deterioration of health resulting in Blood pressure, Blood sugar, etc. How about his next generation? Personal efforts decrease—and when there is little need to persevere or make effort, life becomes meaningless.---would try to acquire everything by money. Non-working or idle hours increase--- which could lead to unhealthy habits, unsociable attitudes—what if the trader doesn’t hoard and makes available his goods at reasonable price with reasonable profit for him? –he gets a good name which will see him and his progeny in good steed in hard times – his volume of business will increase as more people develop trust in him – he has work hard (not remain lazy) to keep up his good name and the so called diseases of the rich like BP sugar will be avoided ; –Questions should also not just stop with inquiry about Demand, when it goes up, factors affecting it etc, they should also deal with the humanistic effects of it.

In science there is the famous equation E= mc2. This says mater and energy are inter-convertible. Students may be lead to calculate the amount of joules of energy produced when say 1 kg of matter is destroyed. Or say in a nuclear reaction, some element is converted into another element in course of which how much weight loss would be encountered? And how much energy could be produced? And how long that would cater for the need of a city? and so on. Humanistic consideration would go along the following lines. In an accidental triggering of a nuclear reaction, how much fatal casualty could occur and how much population could incur irreversible physical deformities? Supposing a close relation of yours, uncle or even a parent is among the casualty how could it affect his family? your family? What would you do bring back normalcy? What would be the effect on the flora and fauna in the area and its reflection on human population later on? Leave aside accidental triggering what could you do to prevent intentional triggering?

So the ideal way would be to bring in human values into each and every subject. In fact there shouldn’t be any subjects without human values .Education is for the wellbeing of mankind. So the syllabus should be built around human values .That would lead to creation of humanistic oriented syllabus. With today’s exploding population growth and its consequences of congestion, competition and cheap man power this has become inevitable.

(A matter brought out during the discussion with Aide et Action- a French origin NGO
On 22nd March)

- Asian Tribune -

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