Proposal for the Introduction of a Foundation Course in UHV

Abstract

The essential complimentarity of 'VALUES' and 'SKILLS' in providing EXCELLENCE in education is widely recognized. However, our present curricula continue to be largely SKILL-BASED. This is a serious deficiency in the present system whose undesirable consequences are being experienced in multiple ways.
     Even though the need for effective value education (VE) inputs has been felt for a long time, an important difficulty has been the unavailability of effective and universally implementable curricular models. Various efforts have been made to fill this gap.
     Educators in the US have also felt this need. For example one ethics related course is now a compulsory requirement to graduate from Stanford University - "It is important for the student to obtain a broad understanding of engineering as a social activity. To foster this aspect of intellectual and professional development, all engineering majors must take one course devoted to exploring issues arising from the interplay of engineering, technology, and society". Stanford is offering over a dozen courses in this area, two of which are: 1) Ethics and Public Policy and 2) Ethical Issues in Engineering.
     Now there is a need to introuduce a course in the regular curriculum of the institute so as to orient the students with value-based inputs on a formal and regular basis. Experience shows that values can be communicated effectively through formal student-teacher interaction and understood by students. Value education workshops at other universities AKTU, PTU, RUB Bhutan, IIIT-Hyderabad, IIT-Bhu organized for the faculty, students and staff have substantiated on this.
     It has been by virtue of these workshops that the students have developed a holistic vision towards life and profession. They have started volunteering towards initiation of value education activities across the country. Some of the students who attended these wokshops were on academic probation or on the verge of termination or sluggish in studies (according to them) before they started coming to the workshops. Now they are performing well academically through enhanced self-confidence and vision, and have become assets to the society at large.
     The faculty and staff who attended the workshops are also showing consistent interest to participate in the workshops and associated activities and carry it to other institutes and organizations.
     For the past five years, systematic experiments with these inputs have been conducted at IIIT Hyderabad. These have been seriously evaluated and have rendered very encouraging results. The UPTU initiative is the latest development.
     In this proposal, we would like to share that after several years of painstaking R&D work by a dedicated group of experts, a breakthrough has been achieved, a model syllabus for a foundation course has been developed fulfilling the requisite guidelines for widespread implementation. Also, an effective pedagogical methodology has been evolved and by now, adequately tested.
          Now, adequate resource material in the form of a text book, a teacher's manual, PPT and video CD etc. has been developed. Also, a rigorous Teacher Orientation Programme of 8-days duration has been designed which is being very well received. In addition, one-day workshops in different institutional clusters has also very helpful in spreading awareness and orienting teachers.
All these resources are readily available for implementation at your institue. This is a proposal for consideration by the academic senate of your university for inclusion of an introductory course in Human Values and Professional Ethics in the curriculum.

The Proposal

We have been feeling a strong need for Value Education. Now that well researched, field tested teaching resources and implementation process is available, it is proposed that your university/institute can use these teaching resources and introduces 'A Foundation Course in Human Values and Professional Ethics' as a course. Faculty from any department can be facilitated through an 8-day faculty development program. With the help of material described before, they can start this course from the upcoming academic year.

The Need for Value Education

Our professional education has become primarily skill-based and the value aspect is taken for granted. This has driven students to work for profit-centric objectives leading to exploitation of human beings and the rest of nature. As a result, at an overall global level, one can observe increasing strife in family and society; destruction of nature leading to significant and potentially irreversible climate change. The greatest achievements of science and industry have become the biggest threats to human existence.
     There is a growing realization in the world today that the path being followed currently needs to be re-evaluated; that fundamental and lasting change can only come from right education, therefore we need to change our education system. The overall purpose of education is to enable a human being to live a fulfilling life, in harmony with family, society as well as nature. It hence becomes the purpose and goal of education to resolve these issues, so that human society can meet its target, which is sustained happiness and prosperity. As technology becomes the core content of education today, it is to be realized that while the effort to achieve better standards of technology and technologically advanced gadgets is an important human activity, it is only a means to achieve what is considered 'valuable' for a human being in an effective and efficient manner. It is not within the scope of technology itself to decide what is valuable to a human being.
     One can investigate within oneself to see that values that are naturally acceptable and verifiable in living. This can form the basis of living with fulfillment, which is value-based living. Since our current living is not leading to sustained human happiness and prosperity, we need to urgently and clearly find out what is of value, or what is valuable to all human beings and develop our living accordingly.
     The subject that deals with what is of value, or what is valuable to a human being is called value education. Values thus provide the basis for all our actions and activities. Education needs to focus on value-education, which has to be introduced in our school education as well as higher education. Such value-based education can prepare students to live in harmony with other human beings and nature – this can provide a way out of the current morass that the world is in.
     At the root is holistic, and all encompassing detailed view of reality at every level of existence, from Individual to Family, Society and Nature/Existence – that the existence is innately co-existence (harmony, order) and not chaos or disorder; and Man just needs to understand this co-existence and align with the innate order in the existence. With such a holistic viewpoint, one can rightly place existing assumptions and inputs. This knowledge is inherently self liberating, empowering and can lead to Human Conduct, Education, Constitution and Order (Manaviya Acharan, Shiksha, Samvidhan and Vyawastha) in the society.
     Dr. Abdul Kalam spoke about this topic in his address to the nation on the eve of the Independence Day (15th August) 2006:
     "being practiced by Prof Ganesh Bagaria, Prof Rajeev Sangal and their teams [it] is a 'teachable human value based skill' This process of imparting self-knowledge would promote a learning atmosphere, where this whole movement of inquiry into knowledge, into oneself, into the possibility of something beyond knowledge would bring about naturally a psychological revolution. From this comes inevitably a totally different order in human relationship and therefore society as a whole. The intelligent understanding of this process itself can bring about a profound change in the consciousness of mankind"

Full Text Of Dr Kalam's Speech Is At http://www.indianembassy.ru/docs-htm/en/en_hp_win_official_direct_t075.htm

5 years of implementation experience at IIIT-Hyderabad

At IIIT-Hyderabad, a course in value education has been implemented since 2005 as a part of academic curriculum. Since the initiation of the course, students have become more comfortable in themselves, there is a greater sense of belongingness to the institution, and less resentment in relationships with the teachers and among them. Along with the development of relationships, students have been doing well academically as well.
In 2009, India Today recognized IIIT-Hyderabad as one of the Game Changers of Indian Education.
From this experience, some key conclusions were:
1. Human Values are teachable - they can be communicated precisely and effectively
2. There is a very significant impact on students, faculty, management, staff, families – the entire community of individuals associated with the institution
During this implementation significant resources were developed, particularly the syllabus and program for students. The guidelines and process for Value Education can now be stated very clearly and concisely.

1 year of implementation experience at UPTU

     In June 2009, UP Technical University (UPTU) took a bold and far sighted step of including the introductory course "Human Values and Professional Ethics" as an essential audit course in all professional colleges affiliated to UPTU. This was a unique effort by a university anywhere in the world in that it was an en-masse implementation.
     UPTU introduced this as an essential audit course in Human Values and Professional Ethics (HVPE) in all its professional colleges in June 2009. There are over 600 colleges, 1000 HVPE teachers and an intake of 1,00,000 students per year.
From this experience, some key conclusions were that it is possible to do a mass implementation, provided teaching material and teachers are well prepared.
The resources developed during this implementation include:
1. Comprehensive formal teaching resources (syllabus, teachers' manual, text book, practice sessions, video of lectures, web-siteā€¦)
2. 8-day Faculty Development Program for orienting teachers
3. Strong process for implementation

The results in the first year have far exceeded expectation. There is audio-visual record of this feedback.

  • Students indicate that they find the discussion related to their everyday lives – "it gives us a sense of purpose and right direction for our life we are now more responsible toward studies, we have developed good relationship with each other, with our family and with teachers".
  • Students want to continue their association with each other, with their HVPE teacher as well as the subject throughout the period of education in college. They also want to do socially relevant projects and contribute to developing society. This is quite a remarkable change in their attitude in such a short time.
  • Faculty who has attended the FDP and has taught the course for at least one semester has shared four significant points. "One, this course necessary for me – it is relevant for my own living; Two, my interaction with my own family has become significantly better – it is relevant for my family; I find it enriching to teach this subject and I find it easy to teach other subjects too, as now the environment in my class is much more relaxed and conducive to teaching; and fourth that I can see the impact on my students - it is extremely positive".
  • he teaching method of using "the self as the reference" is most natural – management and teachers see this as a first step toward developing a more humanistic education system – from Value Education to Value Based Education.
  • Administration also notices that students who complete the course have become more self-disciplined and therefore they have fewer disciplinary issues to deal with.
  • There are requests from management of several colleges to conduct the FDP locally for all their teachers, ie. teachers of all subjects. This is a strong validation of the impact of the programme on the teaching environment.
  • While only early feedback has been recorded, teachers have shared significant impact in their family – toward living in relationship from being in opposition. This is the basis for Value Based living.

Other efforts of implementing Human Values in Education

1. IIT-Delhi set up the National Resource Center for Value Education in Engineering in 1999. The Centre organized a National Convention on Value Education with the support of IIT Kanpur, IIIT Hyderabad and IIT Delhi where all the colleges under AICTE were invited. The panel discussions during the conventions were able to evoke the opinions of the faculty and heads of institutions on the urgent need to include courses in value education among all the colleges under AICTE.
2. Chhattisgarh Government has started implementing this in all its schools for class 1-12 since 2008. There are 30,000 schools, 1,00,000 teachers and 58,00,000 students/year. The Chhattisgarh initiative has received wide support form teachers and government officials in SCERT and Department of Education. So far, 30 schools have started teaching this in classes 1-5. All these elements have been put in place in Chhattisgarh involving SCERT, school board, the schools and, most importantly, the teachers. The text books are ready. All the officials are fully involved at all the steps. A massive program of teacher training is going on using EduSat which connects 100 centres followed by face to face in-depth week-long workshops. In the Chhattisgarh initiative, in place besides the physical targets, sensitivity and self-awareness aspects are being given great attention by the leadership. Role of the Secretary, Education, Mr. Nand Kumar has been vital to the success of the program. This initiative at Chhattisgarh is receiving the support of the government and both major political parties – BJP and Congress. Education fraternity is of course behind it. Even media which is usually quite critical of government programs has been speaking positively about it. It enjoys a large tacit support from different sections of society because it is seen to be a positive step with fresh air in an otherwise difficult education scenario.
3. NIT-Raipur took this initiative in the year 2003, and the overwhelming response from all corners helped the introduction of this course in all the thirteen colleges of Swami Vivekanand Technical University in Chhattisgarh within two years.

Teaching Resources and Implementation Process

At this time comprehensive teaching resources and process of implementation is readily available. It includes:
1. Syllabus in detail (28 lectures & 14 practice sessions) (attached)
2. Teachers' Manual – A Foundation Course in Human Values and Professional Ethics, RR Gaur, R Sangal, GP Bagaria, Excel Books 2010 (covering the syllabus)
3. Book – A Foundation Course in Human Values and Professional Ethics, RR Gaur, R Sangal, GP Bagaria, Excel Books 2010 (covering the syllabus)
4. Material for Practice Sessions
5. Web Site http://www.universalhumanvalues.info has all the supporting material & schedules
6. Video of Teachers' Orientation Program (lectures)
7. Video of one year Status (feedback)
8. Implementation process –orientationof faculty, development of value education cell

Experts (profiles attached)

Shri Ganesh Prasad Bagaria, Faculty HBTI. Has worked for value education for last 25 years in all sections of society
Dr Rajeev Sangal, Director IIIT-Hyderabad
Prof Rishi Raj Gaur, ex Head of Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT-Delhi. Founder member of National Resource Center for Value Education in Engineering at IIT-Delhi in 1999

More About Value Education

The text below is based on a paper by Prof. Rajeev Sangal, Director, IIIT Hyderabad, Prof. R R Gaur, Ex Professor, IIT Delhi and Prof. Ganesh Bagaria, Faculty, HBTI, Kanpur, who have been deeply involved with value education and value-based living.
1. What is Value-Education?
1.1 What is the purpose of value-education?
1.2 Can values be taught?
1.3 How is a course in value-education conducted?
1.4 What value-education IS and what it is NOT

1.1 What is the purpose of value-education?

Education system today concentrates on providing to its students the skills to do things. In other words, it concentrates on providing "How to do" rather than "What to do" or "Why to do?" The present education system does not prepare students well for dealing with life. Primarily, it prepares them for profession or jobs.
     A result of this is that the students are neither aware of their surroundings nor of their own self, and face life with difficulty. They have to learn by themselves to deal with life, which includes examining ones goals, identifying and sorting out conflicts, dealing with relationships in family and friends, understanding society, and leading a mutually enriching relationship with nature. This requires ability to think critically about everyday matters of life. Present education does not address these issues.
     Value-education tries to achieve two goals. First to develop a critical ability to distinguish between essence and form or between what is of value and what is superficial, in life. Second, to develop commitment and courage to act on one's beliefs in real life situations.
     What makes it difficult is the fact that the ability is to be developed not for a narrow area or field of study, but for everyday situations in life. It covers the widest possible canvas.

1.2 Can values be taught?

Frequently people assume that a course in value-education teaches values. This is not correct. The course does not teach values but encourages students to discover what is valuable for them. Accordingly, they should be able to discriminate between valuable and the superficial in real situations in their life.
     One of the foci is on observations which are mainly on the self, the other humans and relationships. Such observations and their analysis are shared and discussed. Teacher's role is in pointing to essential elements to help in sorting them out from the surface elements (in pointing to the basic principles under which incidents take place, so that different incidents can be understood and explained). Hopefully, this leads to development of "commitment" for behaving and working based on one's values.

1.3 How is a course in value-education conducted?

A course or classes in value-education are conducted by pretty much the normal method of lectures, explanations, discussions, home assignment and practical exercises. The course does not preach, and does not talk about do's and don'ts.
     One tries to connect the students to their self during lectures and discussions, and cause them to think on one's goals, relationships, and living in family, society and nature.
     Home assignments ask them to reflect on concepts and their applications. Laboratory is important in learning. Here, the difference is that the laboratory is everyday life, and practicals are how one behaves and works in it.
     The group discussions would also provide support to a student in performing actions commensurate to his / her preferences born out of his/ her understanding.

1.4 What value-education IS and what it is NOT

  • It is not a course in moral science. It does not tell you DOs and DONTs. It does not tell you what you should become, or what you should do
  • It does not talk about rewards and punishments in an afterworld. The goal is happiness here and now. It puts forward the proposition that the basic human values are inherent and intact in all of us, what is needed is to be aware of them
  • It does not say physical facilities are unimportant. It rather talks of prosperity in every family. It says that there is place for facilities in life and encourages people to fix their place in their own life
  • It is not an organization or society. It does not insist on any specific faith or any specific belief

It only proposes and asks its listeners to investigate and explore into their own inner self and connect to what is innate and intact in all of them as something which is universal, natural and all-fulfilling for them as well as others. One can do this irrespective of his/her own religion or faith or beliefs

2. What are the results of Value-Education?
2.1 What changes are visible in students and teachers?
2.2 What changes are visible in the atmosphere of institution?
2.3 How does it relate to world problems (Its potential for the world)?

2.1 What changes are visible in students and teachers?

Changes are visible among students and teachers soon after the implementation of value-education. However, for this to happen, the implementation has to be right. It should not be through do's and don'ts but taking students through a process of sensitivity development and self-reflection.

2.2 What changes are visible in the atmosphere of institution?

The atmosphere of the institution becomes more harmonious and many of the small conflicts dissolve away. It takes time for any big conflicts to be resolved, but usually their intensity gets reduced relatively soon.
     There is also a discernible change for the better in the environment of sincerity and studiousness.

2.3 How does it relate to world problems (Its potential for the world)?

Value-education has the potential to bring about world wide changes, if it is implemented in education system throughout the world. There is greater strife today in the family and society, and the world is full of violent conflicts locally and globally. At the level of the individual even though there is greater wealth, there is also a lack of fulfillment. Climate change has come as a specter in a world gone terribly wrong, where the greatest achievements of science and industry have become the biggest threats to the very human existence.
     Value-education begins a process in the human being. This process though inside the human being, helps in engaging him or her with family, society and nature. It does not encourage withdrawal or renunciation from the world.
     Once practiced in the world, over a period of time, it would bring about a change to a more equitable world with less conflict, and promote living with harmony in nature.

3. What is required in implementing Value-Education?
3.1 What are the elements in implementation of value-education?
3.2 What special care is required in implementation and in scaling up?

3.1 What are the elements in implementation of value-education?

Having worked out the purpose and the approach of value-education, its implementation has several elements. First, one has to determine in which classes it should be implemented with how much time. Second, it requires development of books and other learning materials such as teacher's manual, video lectures, home assignments, practical exercises, a course web-site, etc. Third, there needs to be a well-defined and clear program for teacher training.

3.2 What special care is required in implementation and in scaling up?

Special care is required in implementing the value-education program in the school system. There are two main reasons why it differs from other programs. First value-education directly addresses larger questions of life and relates to day to day living. As a result, the teacher has to be much better prepared to initiate a discussion in the class and to deal with question of the student. Second, the program aims at developing sensitivity in the student. Therefore, it requires a heightened sense in the teacher, the school, the school board, and so on.
     This also indicates that this program requires a greater degree of understanding and sensitivity on the part of leadership implementing the program. Besides monitoring the progress towards physical targets, the sensitivity part has to be carefully nurtured and ensured.

4. What support is available from society and government for Value-Education?
4.1 What support is available from political, social and other societal groups?
4.2 What is the support from parents, teachers and government Department of Education?

4.1 What support is available from political, social and other societal groups?

Value-education program usually receives support form all the sections of society – whether political, social, industrial religious or other. The reason for this support is that it appeals at the basic human level. Who would not want trust and respect in relationships? Who would not want prosperity for all citizens – even though it might seem infeasible? Who would want to destroy nature – even when current lifestyle seems the opposite?
Value-education makes an impact on all people irrespective of their race, religion, caste, gender or profession.

4.2 What is the support from parents, teachers and government Department of Education?

Once the people associated with education gain an understanding of value-education, they give it an enthusiastic support. It includes teachers, principals, government officials, parents and ultimately the students.
     After value-education training, which usually brings about a major attitude change, teachers see a holistic role for themselves in education. Their role is not limited to teaching of a subject for the sake of wages, but a life mission. Teachers, government officials and principals realize the importance of relating education to the inner self which can provide a practical guide to living.

Click here to know more about Value Education