EDUCATION AND SOCIETY TODAY
Students of primary classes are often found cheating and using undesirable words. Disrespecting teachers sometimes starts as soon as they move forward in their school. By the time they enter the middle school, they have developed all the ways and means to display behaviour with no values. It is a pity to see a student of class 10 or 12 bunking classes and sitting with mobiles in the canteen, aimlessly engaged in Facebook when actually this is the time to give finishing to whatever they have learnt. Such a scenario really disheartens the educators who have been trying to create individuals with social and moral responsibilities.
In this fast world of globalisation, junk food, terrorism and corruption, students are under continuous stress to compete and prove themselves. Education system of any country is expected to prepare the following generation to adapt better in the dynamic society. The process of schooling and higher education should prepare students to differentiate between dos and don’ts at all stages of life. Our country has been adding meaning to education by incorporating ‘karma’ and ‘dharma’. Ancient Indian education has produced citizens with strong moral code and norms of living and conduct. But does our current education system train the students to accept roles expected from them? Values have been felt to be subtracted from the rigid boundaries of what we call education. Teaching-learning continues even today and production of citizens also takes place. But does our current education system prepare students for these challenges? Are we preparing individuals or humans?
We educators have to act and accept the challenge of adding values in our education. We have to develop means and ways to produce humans and not just individuals. The current article is an attempt to explore the scope of value education at school level.
WAYS OF BRINGING CHANGE
Value education starts from home but it continues throughout life. Value education in schools plays a major part in individual’s life. Value based education can shape their future and add purpose to their life. It helps them learn to live the right way of life.
School is the place where the child spends most of his or her learning years. Many attributes and behaviour they develop for a life time have their roots in school. Including value education as a textbook, as a graded subject or as a lecture per week is not enough. The school has to give due importance and priority for inculcating these desirable values among children. Special well-planned learning experiences need to be designed so that students understand the importance of value in the real sense rather than just a fact. These learning experiences can be designed at two levels - curricular and co-curricular.
Value education through curriculum
We understand that time bound syllabus is very important but it cannot be taught at the cost of values. Our subjects and treatment to each subject should be done consciously.
Need based: Curriculum should be developed after conducting a detailed analysis of the students of a particular class. Values which are most important and urgent should be given priority. A group of values to be achieved in a year’s time can be listed.
Flexibility and innovativeness: The curriculum of other subjects should be flexible enough to incorporate teaching of values. Any theory or illustration explained may be linked with value in life. For example, while explaining gravitation, we say anything that has ego falls down.
Teaching of language: While teaching creative writing and grammar rules, emphasis should be given on values like sacrifice and brotherhood. This will help students explore more about each value.
Value education through co-curricular activities
Through curriculum a student acquires knowledge but overall development of an individual takes place through co-curricular activities only. These activities help develop confidence and overcome inferiority complex.
Educational activities: Activities like debate, poem recitation, should be organised on themes like sincerity, honesty and regularity. This will not only strengthen the expression of feelings in words but also emphasise to think and understand the importance of such values.
Cultural activities: These should not merely focus on display of talent. Through these art forms, socially desirable values can be taught. Attributes like team work, coordination, respecting others’ opinion, etc can be cultivated while practicing any art form.
Social activities: When a school extends beyond classroom walls, a student realises the problems in the outside world. They understand their responsibility to solve this universal problems and start valuing the things they already have.
Sports activities: They can focus on physical and mental health. Team spirit, honesty, determination, etc. can be taught along with any game. Students also learn to respect others’ efforts and accept defeat.
ROLE OF TEACHERS AND MANAGEMENT
A strong moral character is an obligatory part of a teacher. No teacher can discharge his or her duties well if the teacher is morally degraded, dishonest and a participant in the race of collecting unfair money. Value oriented education is most effective when teacher considers it as a life mission and displays all moral and desirable behaviour traits in front of students. The value education teacher is not solely responsible but all teachers together should contribute to this process.
However hard the staff may try, these activities will gain importance only if management has similar emphasis. The authorities should have a clear vision and anyone who deviates from the same should not be entertained. Instructions and guidance can be given to teaching and non-teaching staff. Regular follow up of given instructions should also be taken. Those who follow the given guidelines should be acknowledged and appreciated.
Globalisation and privatisation of education system has made it mechanical and less valuable. In the competition of getting more students, schools have shifted their focus from student to curriculum. But we as educationists can take charge of the situation, can add meaning to what is taught in schools. A small change in focus and approach can create wonders. Let’s all work towards helping create humans!
Dr Kinjal Bhatt is Principal, NaICE: The Primary School, Bhavnagar, Gujarat
Image Courtesy: UIS
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