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Monday, April 19, 2010

Necessitating Morals Education in Schools

 This article was also published in The Assam Tribune:

The once flourishing social grandeur of a society is fast losing its meaning and fear is that the social structure might enormously vanish some day. Several explanations have been given to this societal circumstance and one such reason can be assigned to the loss of morale at individual level. Despite of escalation in literacy rates, there is a visible depression in value education resulting in behavioural degradation which, again is fed by lack of sensation. This value education or morals science should be taught in schools from the primary level in order to mold an individual into an acceptable human being.   
Even though morals education begins at home and in religious institutions as well, it is indispensable to teach moral lessons and values in schools also. In India, the world's largest school i.e. City Montessori School in Lucknow succeeds by focusing on globalism and morality yet, there are many public schools which have not introduced this subject as an integral part of their curriculum. They lean on conventional system of education only and stress much on surface competition. There is no doubt these schools excel in academics but, the moral growth of these children have not been assured. Who guarantees the future of such a nation where its newer generations breed within a mechanized system! The responsibility lies clear on the shoulders of the educators however, the latter are subjugated by political leaders.
During the past few years, teaching morals and values in public schools has been a frequently discussed topic. More often, a discussion on the subject rather explodes political manifestation resulting in adjournment of the issue. This happens mostly due to the debate which arises from the failure to distinguish between morals education from religious education. The recent criticism by minority groups in Madhya Pradesh regarding its Chief Minister’s decision to introduce mandatory lessons of Bhagvat Gita in schools of the state can be exemplified in this context. In a secular country like India, imparting religious lessons of a particular religion in educational institutes would rear communal disharmony.
First, it is important to keep in mind that this discipline is separate from religious studies. Morals Science teaches values and ethics, it helps a child to build up strong ideals like honesty, courage, humility, kindness, generosity, and patriotism. It teaches man about retrospection, to be his own watchdog and he is responsible only to himself. He cherishes his wisdom after attaining a certain age by virtue of his childhood nourishment. The opposite is true when unethical behaviour shapes up within the sub-conscious state of a man abated from value education at an early age. He remains incapable of judgment and often trapped in undesirable circumstances. The demeaning news about a text book which had been published with the picture of Jesus Christ holding a beer can and a cigarette and which had also been distributed in schools of Shillong is one such example. The publisher failed to judge the outcome of his deeds and has meted out with the consequences of it.
Most schools have eliminated Morals Science from their program of study and children are left to discover their own code for living. At a tender age they will not be able to distinguish between right and wrong without moral values being formally imbibed in them. It is seen that children religiously or blindly follow their teachers and this mannerism can be utilised for a child’s moral growth too. Their minds and attitudes are forming as they grow and they learn these from both adults and peers but, especially from adults. This is because of the human propensity to respect and obey authority figures, a trait that is impressed into children very early in life. Ronald Regan, former President of United States, said about education's basic purpose: “We're beginning to realize, once again, that education at its core is more than just teaching our young the skills that are needed for a job, however important that is. It's also about passing on to each new generation the values that serve as the foundation and cornerstone of our free democratic society--patriotism, loyalty, faithfulness, courage, the ability to make the crucial moral distinctions between right and wrong, the maturity to understand that all that we have and achieve in this world comes first from a beneficent and loving God.”
The essence of education cannot be achieved without core values being inducted into the early educational curriculum. As a result of this incomplete system, innumerable adverse occurrences have been headlined in the recent past. Increase in amoral behaviour like juvenile delinquency, suicides committed by young children, use of prohibited drugs, racist attitude etc. has become a regular phenomenon in the society. All these will grow with them which can worsen to the extent leading to fatal consequences at a later age like engaging in corruption, drug trafficking and many more illegal undertakings. Imagine a country run by a pack of leaders without self-discipline and integrity - It will be easy for any rival state to take control of such a system and ruin the orientation of that nation. Therefore, these incidents are admonishments to prevent further negative growth of the society at large. Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America believed that “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. . . . Nothing is of more importance for the public weal than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue.”
Mainstream subject like history does carry some moral attributes through the briefings of principles and philosophies disseminated by kings and rulers of the historical age. This was possible for leaders were also educators of the society like King Ashoka, Lachit Borphukan, Mahatma Gandhi, DR. Radhakrishnan, Swami Vivekananda, Jawaharlal Nehru, Benjamin Franklin, Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant etc. However, as history is advancing the citation of ethical learning within the subject is gradually shrinking and can further worsen as an impact of the giving by twenty-first century leaders. Therefore, reliance on this subject alone will be of little or no help in grooming a child as the next generation leader.
Technological advancement has laid a variety of avenues like the internet for mass growth. However, this creates equal chances of positive and negative growth and to differentiate between these and to choose the right direction for treading depends on individual perception. This means, after a technology is developed, its proper utilization apart from technical know-how, is based on ethical insight. This again falls back on primary education by which the thought process of an individual is shaped and motivated.
Therefore, a call for mandatory moral education in primary schools is need of the hour to redeem the generations born in this high-tech world. Educators and guardians should initiate in this regard and also be vigilant to keep political interventions at bay for successful results.


Emberrose said...

Very nice blog. I very much agree with you, I too believe that morale/value education should be enhance in school to produce quality citizen of this world. I think the increase of unacceptable behaviour in our society is the result of the lack of focus in this aspect in various schools. This is so true in my country also, esp. in public school where value teaching is fast becoming a forgotten art thereby resulting in an increase of teenage pregnancy, jubenile violence, etc. So frustrating because we expect this institution to be our partner in the value formation of our kids....But I do hope that the administration of each school should take a good look at it's vision mission and make sure that every student should be taught the proper values and etiquette, and thus producing quality citizen of this world.

www.girish for you.com said...

The highly educated people in our society..the doctors,the engineers,the bureaucrats,the police officers et al.have often been seen to be low on the honesty parameter.This itself proves that our education has a sheer lack in the moral value that it imparts.In fact,the illiterates have often turned out to be more truthful and honest than these so called learned people.
Excellent blog...keep writing