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VALUE EDUCATION



All education is value-centric concept. Education is primarily and basically a value. Education cannot be detached from value. Therefore, value education does not mean a peculiar type of education. Education in ancient India developed in Buddhism and Jainism. In ancient Greece education was developed by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. In ancient China education was developed in Taoism and Confucianism. And again in Christianity and Islam Value-Centric education was imparted. Therefore, education is very significant and important in human world. But today things are different and the situation has changed for the worst. There is nothing in modern education throughout the world to create or make a good human being.  In nutshell, the so called modern scientific and technological educations have played havoc. Science and technology should be directed towards the benefits and promotion of human welfare and not bombs. Consumerism, greed and avarice have led to the destruction of the environment as well as basic human value. Thus, it is very clear that consumerism, avarice and greed are the direct fallout of modern education. Further if terrorism is on the rise today it is because our education has failed.
According to me the primary objectives of education should be:

1.    To create good human being;
2.    To inculcate the spirit of free, objective and independent inquiry and critical thinking.
3.    To equip the individual to find out the source of one’s own livelihood.

Unfortunately creations of money and wealth have been the basic and primary objectives of education throughout the world today. Consequently creation of good human beings has been pushed to the last gear or backdoor. Disvalue reigns supreme.

Of late, statesmen and academic leaders throughout the world and more so in India started laying emphasis on value education. But the question is how to teach, inculcate and instill basic human values among students. In recent past, NCERT selected scholars to give Lectures on value in educational institutions. Further, UGC, ICPR and other equivalent Bodies are funding for seminars and symposia to discuss the different modes of value education in detail. Distinguished scholars have been visiting centers of learning and delivered lectures on value education. But unfortunately, these programmes are not able to create a ripple on values. Because such lectures are not different from the lectures of physics or chemistry or Mathematics. Thus, today in India scholars might be teaching or giving Public Lectures and also conducting researches, but the entire programme has been ineffective or meaningless because there is no congruity between thought and action. Thought and action must join hands together. One who teaches or doing research on non-violence must practice it in life. But in Indian educational system today, we do not have exemplars, models and leaders because those who teach values, values are actually missing in their lives. Somehow or other value education is least applied or little place in one’s life. Morality and moral Philosophy are altogether different things. An absolutely immoral person can give lectures on moral Philosophy. I wish to reiterate and argue that to teach moral Philosophy is not like teaching Physics or Mathematics, that is  whatever may be the lifestyles of Physicist or Mathematician have nothing to do with their Physical or Mathematical theories. In other words, an absolutely immoral person can give excellent lectures on Physics or Chemistry, there is no problem. But a teacher of Moral Philosophy is expected to lead a moral life. If this is not the case, applied ethics and moral Philosophy are not going to bear any fruit. Meaningful human life and ideas are achieved through the practice and living of moral life. Therefore the distinction between applied and theoretical ethics is a misnomer. Philosophical questions particularly about morals are very much applied, in the sense that they arrive out of practical context. As for examples, in the Bhagavadgita moral issues have been discussed in the context of a battlefield. It is immaterial whether Lord Krishna and Arjuna and others were historical personages. And whether the battle of Kurushetra really took place. The author of Bhagavagita has created a battlefield because a battle is a paradigm case of conflict. In the beginning of the war the hero of Bhagavagita that is, Arjuna did not know what to do? Should I fight and kill the others? The basic question for Arjuna is what is to be done, should he fight or not?

All moral questions arrive from such type of conflict in human situations. In Nutshell, a primary and basic question in moral philosophy is-what should I do? These types of question are very much applied. Therefore, the distinction between theoretical and applied ethics vanishes. Consequently I very much wish and expect that those who teach and conduct research on value education (euphemistically) applied ethics should try to practice a bit of morality and moral values in their day to day life. Otherwise teaching or lecturing on value education will not bear the intended result.
Dr. Xavier P Mao
Associate Professor
Dept. of Philosophy,
NEHU, Shillong.

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