Monday, September 14, 2020

Education For Life

According to eminent Indologists, civilization, as we know now, began 15000 years back on the banks of the Saraswathi River, and spread all over the world. New archaeological findings may discover other areas of civilization also. Spiritual and philosophical literature of India is believed to have been composed between 8000 and 5000 BC. Throughout history and speculation of civilisational progress - Material and Spiritual - depended primarily on education. The spectacular material progress made during the last two centuries was entirely based on Education on Science and Technology. 

Eminent educationists have declared that Education essentially meant character building and man-making, along with acquiring appropriate knowledge and skills in various fields in order to earn a living and be a productive citizen. Thus character is as important as competence to work and achieve results in chosen areas of human endeavors. 

But the education system in India does not give enough importance to character. Out of 25 class periods in a week, not even one period is set apart in most schools for building character and inculcate values. 60 years back, grand parents and parents used to impart some basic elements of values. Now that they are busy with work, they are not sparing time to children for inculcating values.

Concurrently, the present generation of students are subjected to all kinds of undesirable influences from the media, particularly films and TV serials, most of which are full of violence, crime, horror, sensuous scenes etc. These have a profound impact on the minds of children, particularly in the formative stages. Undesirable features of alien societies are making a tremendous impact on young minds. At the same time, good aspects of foreign cultures are not taking root. Further, children are attracted to many frivolous entertainments, which do not add any value or knowledge. Therefore, Education in schools should help students to avoid undesirable habits and acquire noble ideals and attitudes.

In olden times, one part of religion was on ethics, morals, culture, humanism and good values. Lives and teachings of noble persons influence us. Stories and mythology, parables by teachers and writers also influence us. But these also are not available to this generation. Schools might like to introduce such elements in their programmes. 

In the past, in India teachers were being venerated as Gods. But that condition has gone. Some teachers also have become indifferent. Fortunately, some schools are maintaining good standards of teaching and inculcating good values.

Man means MIND. Everything is in the Mind, which should be kept pure. Good thoughts would lead to good words and action. Good values have to be imbibed and cultivated. Honesty, integrity, simplicity, humility, sympathy to the disabled, compassion towards animals, gratitude to nature’s endowments, respect for parents and wise people, discipline and decorum, forgivance etc. are important attributes. Students should avoid bad tendencies, such as boastfulness, cheating, jealousy, avarice etc. which affect mental health.

By following good values and avoiding evil habits, children would benefit immensely. Health would improve. Everybody likes good students with character. Students should take interest in several extra-cultural activities, social service, helping the needy, emulating good people, expanding the horizon by reading lives and teachings of great personalities, etc. Students should have noble ideals and lofty goals, which would give strength and inspiration to lead a happy life. Those who live for others are alive, while others are dead. By giving more, we become more. 

The whole world is in a crisis due to pollution, excessive exploitation of nature’s endowments, wastage of resources, increasing crime and corruption etc. Students have to develop a spiritual approach to life so that there can be peace in society and happiness for individuals.

To be born as a human being is a great privilege. To be born in India is a great fortune. Hundreds of saints and four religions were born in India. Parsees, Christians and Moslems live here. Thus India is a multicultural country. India tolerates all religions. Students should foster inter-religious harmony. Though she was attacked 69 times, India did not attack any other country. Indians worship Sun, planets, earth, trees and even animals. Some Indologists believe that India’s ancient wisdom would spread all over the world during this century. Therefore, teachers and students should learn something about India’s glorious heritage.

- From the writings of late Prof. N.S.Ramaswamy, Padmabhushan, National Professor, Founder Director IIM(Bangalore), who spoke and wrote extensively on Professional Ethics in all areas of life.
Source: AVB
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