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Education and Values

I remember the days of my school at a convent in the far off North Eastern hills of the picturesque Shillong. Inspite of the heap of restrictions doled out upon the solely girls school, I was never really antagonistic towards it. Though there were times when we would be peeved about the plethora of do’s and don’ts on etiquettes, politeness, humility, gratefulness, moral science classes and discourses and had moments of “Oh come on, we are not going to become nuns, so let’s have our share of fun too!” Life at school rolled on shaping us, moulding us without the brouhaha of the materialistic and commercial achievement that today’s generation is goaded into.

I don’t call myself a product of the smart kid milieu. Today children know more and are comfortably exposed to happenings around them than I was. But the values which I had partially detested in school are now like amulets which I carry with pride. For wisdom acquired with age has taught me a fundamental lesson that success and achievement is hollow without integrity. The goal of education today is no doubt towards a holistic development of the child, to make him established in society and to make him skilled in his area of interest.

But standing alone as a teacher and as an objective observer, a famous quote brushes past my mind. ‘Education without values as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil.’ It is clearly so when some of the best minds in society are misguided and go astray and we remain mute spectators of this circumstance day after day and not able to hold them back. The life values which were ingrained into us systematically that we would sometimes try to shrug off holds more importance today, as it is cringing to see the basic structure on which the purpose of education stands is eroding.

It is the ‘character ethics’ which is the key to achieving the objective of education we all are striving for. It is this missing link that is urgently needed to be filled to put back the very purpose of education on track.

The foundation of integrity, patience, industry, humility, modesty, selflessness is needed to be cemented. Without these a doctor, an engineer, a teacher or a professional is just a programmed robot. The purpose of education should go beyond creating minds for compartmentalised careers.

Education is a perpetual process towards enlightenment. I take pride in belonging to a fraternity where destiny has bestowed upon my kind to take up the responsibility of enabling the future generation to be men and women of integrity and conscience. As Stephen R Covey, the author of the popular ‘The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People’ rightly says, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”