Value Based Education

Education – what a huge meaning it has in our life, but sadly the meaning is reduced to the fact that it will go on to become our source of bread and butter – nothing more and nothing less. Is this what education stands for in our life? Is not education a way to make life better? I believe that education is not an accessory to life but it is a necessity.

The question is; what truly is education?

In my opinion education is the vehicle of knowledge, self-preservation and success. Education not only gives us a platform to succeed, but also the knowledge of social conduct, strength, character and self respect. The greatest gift education gives us is the knowledge of unconditional love and a set of values.

These values include the simple difference between right and wrong, a belief in God, the importance of hard work and self respect. Education is a continuous learning experience, learning from people, learning from success and failures, learning from leaders and followers and then growing up to be the person we are meant to be.

Value based education is a three fold development of any individual of any gender and age, but most importantly of a child. Education tries to develop three aspects: physique, mentality and character. Even though physique and mentality are important, they are menaces without the third because character is the greatest of these. Education plays a huge role in precisely this area.

Value based education is a tool which not only provides us a profession which we can pursue but also a purpose in life. The purpose of our life is undoubtedly to know oneself and be ourselves. We cannot do it unless we learn to identify ourselves with all that lives. It is very aptly said that:

“’Know thyself’ was written over the portals of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written”.

Education gives us this very knowledge, the most supreme knowledge of knowing oneself, which helps us to make our life better and purposeful.

I believe that we are making our new generation, who are studying in thousands of schools across India, engage in nothing but crude cramming. Text books, in my opinion are for reference and not for plagiarizing in form of answers. I am appalled at the state of affairs every subject seems to have been reduced to. Be it Economics, History, Sociology or Political Science, they can be best described as-

“Lick an enormous set of C.B.S.E. text books along with other supplementary readers the whole year and vomit the answers on the answer sheets at the end of the year”.

This was done to score marks and that too in abundance. If that is the parameter for success then I am of course intelligent because I scored 89.6 %!!!!!! That did come as a revelation to me. Then again, I have seen peers of mine who have scored marks lesser than mine – but have gone on to establish success stories, the likes of which are unknown at my age is. Sadly the same trend continues in colleges across the country.

Why do I feel this way? I believe that results do matter, but then again there is more to our lives than the flimsy bit of paper with a numerical draft of our performance. There are subjects that often have practical purposes in our lives, but have been rendered useless by the impractical approach held by the respective universities and schools we study in.

Truthfully, if I were a teacher – which I intend to become once I complete my education in Law. I would not look for answers blatantly copied from text books and presented in fancy calligraphy with proper underlining of important phrases and decorated with colourful ink through out the paper.

I would in fact, look for answers which are intelligent, creative and which give me a subtle introduction and an impression of the person who writes it. Why don’t we have a system of examination where every subject is to be tested in a way such that the examinee gives answers based on his or her observation? It can be employed in a vast range of subjects.

I have to confess that I longed to write answers that were purely mine during exams and not what every one of my peers was writing. Having an opinion about every aspect of life and of the world makes a person complete, well rounded and knowledgeable and if we do not give this opportunity to the students who are on the verge of adulthood then we are robbing ourselves of ideas rich in enthusiasm and innocence.

It has been observed scientifically that we learn more effectively by listening and observing than plain cramming. Our educational system needs to evaluate its priority and understand that learning should not be coordinated with cramming. We take pride that our educational system is far more advanced and progressive in terms of academic standards in comparison with the U.S.A. or U.K. But in terms of creativity, independent study and an objective approach towards a subject we feel inadequate in experience.

The objective of education in a country like India, which has a glorious heritage and can boast of diversity in geography, culture, values and beliefs very rarely seen in this wide world, should be to educate a student of the value system which is indispensable to live a successful life. There has been a lapse in our value system which the educational institutes should inculcate in a student – that is why there are increased incidences of teenage pregnancies, MMS scandals, student prostitution and academic pressure related suicides.

It has been said that ignorance is bliss. Then again, without education we never experience true bliss. What good would be our life if we fail to pass on something substantial to the generation that is building itself? It would be a shame not to realize that the purpose of education is bliss and that ignorance is nothing but unpleasantness in the face of opportunities that the world has to offer to us.

A balanced approach towards a student’s academic career will enhance ones life and make him/her a better contributor to our society, country and to human civilization

As Nelson Mandela always says:

“You do not have to be phenomenal to do phenomenal things”.

Sayan Das

[Image Source: Rayman Gill]