This is a matter of great concern for educationists not only in India but all over the world. According to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources Development (HRD), “the concerted efforts made during the last six decades have failed to achieve the desired results. Well chalked out plans and strategies for making our education value-oriented still remain on paper.” The famous educationist Kluckhohn observed that values are socially approved goals and desires are internalised through the process of conditioning, learning or socialisation.
They are subjective preferences, standards and aspirations. They can be classified as physical, mental, emotional, moral, religious, economic, cultural and spiritual. Conceptually, values are those guiding principles of life which are conducive to one’s physical and mental health, and to social welfare and adjustment and which are attuned to one’s environment. Spranger’s theory of values includes theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political and religious aspects of human life. This classification of values is favourite of the educational researchers.
The dictionary defines values as worth, benefit or importance of something. The word value is being used in several contexts, viz. moral, spiritual, aesthetic, economic and social values, etc. with different shades of meaning. Social scientist, Zavalloni considers values as orientations towards what is considered to be desirable or preferable by social factors. Broadly speaking, human values imbibe all that is humane, just and fair.
The core group on Value Education had this to say on the lack of success of educational institutions in inculcating human values: “Lack of serious and systematic effort on the part of government to implement value-based education in educational institutions could be traced to the confusion about the definition of values and absence of clarity about the conceptual framework and of a working model with its significance.” Fortunately, various studies have made us aware about the drastic consequences of a value-free or an indifferent education. Suggestions have been given to discard stereotypes and instead of making certain number of segregated units of instructions on value education, efforts should be made to find ways and means of fully integrating key values as given in India’s Constitution as well as the Directive Principles of State Policy. We should also draw from our culture, ethos and tradition.
Our ancient universities of Nalanda and Texila focussed on imparting moral education on the pupils. Apart from giving formal education of scriptures, Vedas and subjects like Philosophy, Religion, etc. the teachers emphasised on the need to become a perfect human being-particularly in matters of respect of elders and teachers, discipline and restraint in life.
Value education curricula are required in all boards and universities, and value education programmes are needed in all types of educational institutions-which may focus on life experiences relating to the immediate surroundings leading to development of moral judgement in different situations. At school level the syllabi should include folk tales, stories of patriotism, bravery, sacrifice, etc. poems, and parables providing valuable lessons for the students. Besides, the biographies of great men should also be included because they shall prove highly useful in imparting proper values to the pupils.
Music, drama and other co-curricular activities have great ability to give the message of true values of life. While music has the ability of touching one’s heart, dramas from great playwrights like Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, and Kalidas enable us to study deeply the human nature and distinguish between good and bad. It must be kept in mind that an effective programme of value education must have a sound foundation of basic human values which are accepted in all sections of society-and have a universal acceptability-such as non-violence, righteousness, truthfulness, honesty, discipline, helpfulness, sympathy, charity, peace and fraternity. The eternal value of truthfulness will root out hypocrisy and deceipt and lead to right conduct and quest for knowledge.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has introduced a scheme of value education-which aims at assisting the universities and colleges-both degree and professional-in programmes which will promote value education among students, and teachers. The Commission has prepared an action plan for value orientation of education at the higher level. The standing committee constituted for this purpose felt that there was need to take a holistic view of the issue instead of resorting to piece-meal solutions.
It should also be kept in mind that human values are not simply related to welfare of human beings, but should be considered for being sympathetic to the animal kingdom, the forestry and the environment. If the extinction of certain species of animals and birds has become an alarming reality today, if environmental pollution has reached dangerous proportions, and if our natural resources like forests are depleting, it is due to the unsustainable practices which we are following in the name of development. Awareness towards all these problems should certainly be the objective of education.
Timely education in imparting human values to the students is the need of the hour because of dark forces of subversive activities like terrorism and morally depraved practices like corruption are eating into the vitals of our society. If our youth are getting addicted to drugs, involved in immoral activities and show disrespect for teachers and elders, it is only because we are teaching them to achieve success by hook or crook. In their ambitions they are forgetting the true meaning of life.
Only proper direction through human values can teach them the real achievement. Some of the teachers and educationists are also lacking in the qualities of honesty and morality. They treat education more of a business than a means of developing and spreading knowledge. Working for private educational institutions they demand much higher charges than most of the students can afford. They should follow a moral code of conduct themselves before they can be called educationists in the true sense of the word.