Indian education is the legacy of the British system. Of late Indian society too is getting more and more commercialized. While the union and state governments are conscious of the secular aspect of our education system, they are at the same time ignoring social sciences and human values. It is high time, to remember the eminent educationist and great philosopher Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who had made it clear, that spiritual education was the need of the hour to transform Indian society into a value-based society.
Post-liberalization and globalization, the entire educational system has turned private and corporate. Consequently, today education has become a consumer commodity with management seats being sold to NRIs. It deviates from basic human values like love, truth, affection, peace, non-violence and so on. No wonder, the talk of values in education has emerged as a national agenda. One of the most eminent thinkers on education, Mahatma Gandhi considers values as an inseparable component in the full flowering and development of human personality. In his view, every value is a typical way of life that distinguishes one human being from another. Thus, the personality of a person that characterizes his individuality finds an appropriate avenue for self-development.
When we talk of values in the context of individuals and institutions, we have to necessarily consider education as a system of knowledge and training. Values are determinants of human behavior. They play a vital role in the life of every individual. Values are essential in our lives, as they facilitate standards that guide the conduct of human beings.
The most important and the central problem of modern philosophy is the theory of values. They are significant as every human action is the reflection of an individual value. Every human institution is the outgrowth of a social value. Many American writers have used the term ‘axiology’ to denote that branch of philosophy, which is concerned with values. In history, we find that philosophers of the great tradition from Plato to Hegel have been greatly concerned with values. According to them the supreme end of life is the dealing with values.
|“Education does not mean teaching people to know that they do not know, it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave” – John Ruskin
So it is imperative to know what value is. Statements and judgments lead to values and values are an endless belief in a specific mode of conduct in the state of existence. Along with this is the need to focus on what is right and what is wrong. In his creative writings, Mohan Rakesh shows that there is invariably a fight between right and wrong.
Generally, education is more than teaching. It is a whole of which teaching is a part. Teaching is concerned with instruction and it influences pupils regarding the existing value system. The ‘educator pole’ influences the ‘educated pole’. Hence the aim of education is to modify the nature of the educated and not merely to supply a certain amount of knowledge. John Ruskin expressed similar views when he said, “Education does not Education is imparted to children on the basis of spontaneity and not on quality. Too much emphasis is laid on freedom and not on discipline. “Everything that is desired is desirable”, is the slogan of the protagonists of this concept. For example, True learning is that, which induces in the mind the service of mankind mean teaching people to know that they do not know, it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.” Thus, the ultimate aim of education is to achieve a better life.
Aims are an end in themselves and values are the product. One cannot achieve purposeful activity without an aim or an objective. After we have fixed our aim and objective for a particular thing we devise methods and strive to achieve the same in education. Values are the results that we actually obtain through education. Teachers and students are engaged in such activities that they think to be educationally useful and valuable. John S. Brubacher categorically stated, “To state one’s aim of education, is at once to state his educational values.” It is education which develops a sense of discrimination between good and evil. This discrimination is based on values. The students’ learning centres are the proper places, where these values are developed.
The sixth and seventh chapter of Chandogya Upanishad, which specially deals with ancient Indian education, states that raising knowledge to wisdom is real education. One can attain wisdom by the realization of truth, beauty and goodness. In the present-day society, we have plenty of knowledge in different branches, but no wisdom. We also do not get an opportunity to raise knowledge to the stage of wisdom through education. Hence many philosophers criticize the present system of education as “a compulsory mis-education”. It is pointless, purposeless and an instrument for killing the spirit of joy, initiative and love in children.
According to Brubacher, biological values are ineffable and satisfy a unique desire, which cannot be satisfied by any other thing. According to this concept, when a child demands a costly toy, he should be given one according to his biological values. Here needs and desires are more important than any other thing. Education is imparted to children on the basis of spontaneity and not on quality. Too much emphasis is laid on freedom and not on discipline. “Everything that is desired is desirable”, is the slogan of the protagonists of this concept. For example, when a child develops an interest in fine arts, he should be provided training in painting, modelling, music and dancing. Consequently, he can realize his values. Subjects, like mathematics, physics, biology, geography or history should not be forced on him because he cannot carry the same sense of consummation or self-fulfilment. The great supporter of this concept, Jean Jacques Rousseau emphasized, “Education finds its purpose, its process and its means wholly within the child life and to child experience.” The instinct and urges of the child are more important than other things in the field of education.
Value education starts with the teachers and not with the students. First, the teacher has to be taught values. It is imperative to impart value training programs to teachers for the success of value education. Usually, students learn values from the actual behaviour of the teacher, who follows the values himself/herself; the theoretical teaching of values works only a little. The main purpose of education is to bring about the integral development of the inner personality and contribute to self-actualization by the person. Swami Vivekananda emphasized, “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man.”
Fortunately, the human being is potentially perfect, but the potential has to be actualized like the actualization of the seed into a full tree with the help of environmental factors. There is no need to emphasize that value education alone can bring the actualization of potential perfection.
Philosophers who interpret the experience of the world in terms of spiritual entities are known as spiritualists, and the philosophy that is rooted in values must be imparted to students at every level, from home to culture and from the common school to university. Broad spiritual education should be imparted to students at different levels but it is not desirable to narrow it down to sectarian religious education. The textbooks prescribed for this purpose should contain ideals from all great religions, like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism etc. Tolerance and understanding should be the ideal of spiritual education, not fanaticism or communalism. As a result, we can get rid of the unbearable stresses and strains of modern life. The plethora of knowledge, which we have today, can be developed into ‘wisdom’ and we can realize the self.
The University Education Commission points out, “The fundamental principles of our constitution call for spiritual training. There is no state religion. The state should not be partial to any one religion. All the different forms are given equal place, provided they do not lead to corrupt practices. Each one is at liberty to approach the unseen as it suits his capacity and inclination. If this is the basis of our secular state, to be secular is to be a broadly religious state. It is to be deeply religious and not narrowly religious.”
It is a matter of experience that mankind reacts to human behaviour sometimes with approval and sometimes with disapproval. Society makes judgments not only of various kinds of human behaviour but also of an individual. The kind of behaviour approved by people is called moral behaviour. An individual can not only develop moral behaviour but also understand what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. The concept of good, however, differs from person to person. It is education, which can make people understand the nature of the highest good. Attempts by learning centres should be made to develop moral consciousness among the pupils.
Morality is social. All our actions are subject to the judgment of the community. We are responsible for what we do. Morality is considered social because other people by their responses may approve of our behaviour or may disapprove of it. Moral consciousness leads an individual towards spiritualization, which is the inner realization of the spirit. Morality helps us understand the difference between good and evil. On one hand, it enables one to respect the dignity of other people and on the other, it helps people to enter more and more into spiritual realism. Spiritual values are eternal and unchanging. To realize these eternal values, man takes the help of moral values and refines his behaviour and conduct.
The most distinctive feature of human life is its social character. Man is considered a social animal. He is social by nature. In order to live in society man has to look at his own welfare as well as the welfare of others. Social values have been emphasized at every stage of social development. The ancient Indian educational institutions attached importance to social values. The students in the Gurukulas had to render service to both, the student’s community in particular and the entire institution in general. It is imperative, to introduce a program for inculcating social values. Social service implies service to society or groups of individuals bound together by rules or conventions or other considerations for achievement of objectives and aims.
First, the individual has to render service to himself and bring about his growth in such a way as to enable him to be of use to society. He must prove himself useful as a member of the family, neighbourhood, state, country and the world. We find that the development of the individual is consistent with this aim of usefulness and fitness in the context of the objectives and aims in general.
The present educational system had ignored the aspiration of essential values. Moreover, it has turned into a dead mechanism. The history of India and its great traditions have given us the values of Satya, ahimsa etc. Unfortunately, our children do not get an opportunity to acquire these values through education. It is indispensable to have an integrated system of education which would cater to the four-fold values namely, Dharma (righteousness), Artha (economic independence), Kama (emotional satisfaction) and Moksha (spiritual realization), as advocated by ancient Indian philosophers. Besides these, the gravest need is for humanism, democracy, socialism and secularism. It is imperative to make all possible attempts to inculcate value-oriented education in the centres of learning. Educators, educational administrators and people as a whole should support this program and devote their time, energy and resources to make education a success.