Education is the key determinant of conduct. Human education facilitates human conduct, otherwise education results in inhuman conduct. This need for value based education has been repeatedly highlighted by various commissions and expert committees on education (Dr. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Kothari, UNESCO declaration on service to society and so on).
The scope of education is to understand one's purposefulness or goal, both as an individual, as well as a society, and to develop the commitment, competence & practice to fulfil these goals. Education should facilitate students to have the understanding, commitment, competence and the practice of living with definite Human conduct and to participate in the development of a Humane society.
Education must be clearly about understanding (what to do?), learning skills (how to do?) and practicing the understanding & skills, leading to fulfilment of one's purpose. It is not just about learning skills (how to do?). The subject which deals with 'what to do' (and 'what not to do') is value education - it facilitates development of Right Understanding. The subject which deals with 'how to do' is technical education or professional education - it facilitates development of skills. There is a complimentarity between the two. Of course both are required. However the priority needs to be values, then skills.
Understanding of 'what to do', 'what is valuable' is required and learning 'how to do' is also required. Both are required. Human education must enable the student to (in order of priority):
1. Develop Right Understanding – By sharing the understanding of 'what to do' (Value Education).
2. Develop Right Skills – By teaching 'how to do' (Technical Education).
3. Practice Right Living during the period of education.
a. Living in relationship with human being leading to mutual happiness.
b. Living in relationship with rest-of-nature leading to mutual prosperity.
Knowingly or unknowingly, our education system has focused on the skill aspects (learning and doing). It concentrates on providing to its students the skills to do things. In other words, it concentrates on providing 'How to do' things. The aspect of understanding 'What to do' or 'Why something should be done' is assumed. No significant cogent material on understanding is included as a part of the curriculum.
With the priority on skills, the value aspect is largely missing. In our educational institutions, and consequently in society, the manifest problems range from self-centeredness, acute competitiveness and insensitivity towards others - to indiscipline and violence in various forms, addiction to drugs etc. In the extreme cases, depression and apathy towards life itself, leading to suicide. Many students who enjoyed learning and creativity in schools, lose interest in academics rapidly after joining higher profession institutions. They are carried away more by the peer pressure rather than by their own Natural Acceptance. Their self-confidence also dwindles and they find it difficult to manage themselves.
In educational institutions, students, and teachers, are under tremendous peer pressure. Being with the in-crowd is a priority, and many have adopted a life style of sleeping late, waking up late, eating out, branded clothing, dating, watching movies, TV, electronic gaming and internet chatting. This promotes casualness, a non-serious attitude towards work and life and it shows up as lack of hard work in studies and, later on, at work. The hostel environment promotes this.
A result of this is the production of graduates who tend to join into a blind race for wealth, position and jobs. Even so, a very high percentage of graduates are not job-ready and/or do not find employment. At the same time, the skills acquired are often misused; the wealth and confusion breeds chaos in family, problems in society, and imbalance in nature
The mindset of student community is an indicator of the society to be 10 years hence. In spite of the efforts being made in education made with the intention of a better society, we observe worsening in society. The mindset of the students today indicates an increasing trend towards mutual mistrust, strife, terrorism, crimes and corruption etc. in the society of the next few years if we continue with the same recipe.
While the need has been felt quite acutely, one significant impediment in introducing value education has been the lack of clarity on the vision, methodology and the availability of necessary wherewithal for incorporating it in the present teaching-learning environment.
During the past three decades, a pioneering group has devoted serious efforts towards developing appropriate value education inputs and have experimented with integrating value education in education institutions, particularly in technical/management/higher education. From this, a holistic and comprehensive approach based on self-exploration has emerged. Necessary wherewithal to introduce these inputs in the present curriculum are now available and can be readily adopted.
A Foundation Course on Human Values & Professional Ethics has been designed to sensitize the students to the possibility of a Humane society. A major portion of the course is focused on understanding of all dimensions and all levels of human existence. This course:
(a) Satisfies all the guidelines for value education*1 - to be universal, rational/logical, natural, verifiable, all-encompassing and leading to harmony.
(b) Can provide the clarity for human target and universal human order.
(c) Can facilitate human conduct which is required for the above.
(d) Can provide the guidelines for Professional Ethics, which is a particular aspect of human conduct.
The Workshops / Faculty development program (FDP) is designed to essentially start a process of self-exploration and facilitate going through the key proposals in this course. The process of self-exploration is the critical part, and this usually gets focused only when one participates actively in a FDP.
The Faculty development program (FDP) is a starting point in preparing teachers who have a responsibility to teach this subject. Once they go through a FDP, they refine their personal perspective on value education, on education, and on teaching. They are equipped to share the content effectively. There is ample scope for advanced study in this area. The validation of advancement is directly visible in living, rather than in'academic'achievement alone.
In addition to teachers, this workshop is attended by people from every walk of life from scholar, literate to illiterate. Individuals and families from all age groups who can use language to communicate (typically children from 3 years onwards) have attended and found it very useful for themselves. Some feedback is included in other section.
People in who are working in developing a holistic perspective on development also find it very useful.