Role of Social Institutions in Inculcating Values
Men and society has always been concerned about the social milieu in which we live. Thus, men of great intellect and vision have made deep insights into the issues of ethics and morality, in their attempt to explore the appropriate ‘means’ and ‘ends’ of the human life.
Education of an individual has a long-lasting impact. Thus, there is a great emphasis on the nature and scope of education system in reforming and inculcating the human life with ethical principles. There has been a realization of the urgent need to control our materialistic impulses through the development of cognition, belief and emotions. That is why, the theme of value education has become very important in the contemporary society.
In India, the National Policy on Education (1986) reiterated the same need for value education.
Moral education constitutes the core aspect of education system. The whole of education system is constituted with a purpose of nurturing our character with good values and principles. Skill-learning is only a part of the process of character refinement. The significance of moral education is even more than technical education, for, it is important to have the right direction in the life. While skills and competency can still be learned with practice; one’s character is hard to change. Moreover, only a good character can do good to the society and to oneself. A person of low character, but high skill, can be a bane for the society.
However, the contemporary education system has been lacking in the aspect of moral education. Today, the focus has been shifted towards the imparting of technical and practical education, at the cost of moral lessons. This has brought certain unwanted repercussions.
Need of Moral Education
The falling level of moral values in our life is easily visible in our society today. People are following the mindless pursuits of money, power and popularity. While we are proud of our rich culture and ethical tradition, it has seriously been maligned today. All the principles and elements of our culture are being distorted by the contemporary practices. More fortunately, human conscience looks unmoved by the visible suffering and problems of the society. All this contributed to the need for a revival of moral education in the society today.
Every aspect of the Indian culture teaches us different moral-ethical values. Jainism and Buddhism taught us the principle of Aparigraha (non-hoarding), however, such principles are rarely adhered to, today. While every element of our culture has emphasized on the significance of non-violence, yet most of the violence, in the contemporary society, is being committed in the name of religion and culture. The element of sympathy and care has disappeared from our society.
While our ideas are still guided by highly moral-ethical theories, our actions have a scarcity of ethical elements. The ills of superstition, untouchability, blind faith and dogma haunt our social reality today.
Thus, we face a moral human crisis today, which is creating a vacum of moral ideas in our social life. The only plausible answer to all these pathological elements is value education. There is an urgent need to revise the educational curriculum to impart a sense of value and morality among the pupil. Indeed, true education is one which enables the people to think and reflect on the social world.
There has been an upsurge in the demand for value education in today’s educational framework. Only education can help in building a culture of peace, harmony and collaboration. It has now become a globally acknowledged principle that education is only option to cure the problems of the society.
The Indian culture has always been embellished by the values of social cohesion, adherence to moral and ethical values and commitment to the society.
The University Education Commission, headed by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1948-49), took a comprehensive view of education in India, and made a set of recommendations on religious and moral education in the higher education sector in India. The Commission accepted that since India is a secular country, religious instruction cannot be given in the public educational institutions. However, it also mentioned that-
‘unless morality is taken in a larger sense it is not enough. If we exclude the spiritual training in our institutions, we would have to be untrue to our whole historical development’.
Secondary Education Commission (1952-53) and Committee on Religious and Moral Instruction1 (1959) (Also called Sri Prakash Committee (1959)
– both these committees recommended the introduction of religious and moral instruction, while emphasizing their role in the growth and building of character of individual human being. It recommended the teaching about the lives and teachings of the great religious leaders and their philosophies, use of media, basic ideas of all religions etc.
It also recommended the organization of lectures on inter-religious understanding, and also suggested to introduce compulsory physical training to help the students to learn the spirit of cooperation, sportsmanship and respect.
Education Commission (1964-66), headed by D. S. Kothari recommended conscious efforts for the development of social, moral and spiritual values with the help of ethical teachings of all the great religions. It also recommended that the university departments in comparative religions should be concerned in the ways in which these values can be taught widely and effectively and also prepare literature for use by the students.
Ramamurthy Commission (1990)– this report emphasized linking Indian education system to its indigenous roots and developing curriculum around the environment of the child. It also recommended in favor of inculcating an appreciation of India’s cultural heritage and the legacy of creation of generation of knowledge and its application for the benefit of human beings. Emphasis was laid on becoming emotionally stable and developing capability to appreciate and internalize the moral values.
All subjects should have some moral foundation. Learning of subjects of science and technology should be with an aim of developing a scientific temper, based on rationality and critical evaluation. Learning must open the path of cooperation and cohesion in the society.
It is necessary to liberate the children from the rigid structure of the school curriculum, and give the teachers the freedom to evolve and develop a suitable curriculum according to their situation and needs.
This also requires a sense of commitment among the teaching community. The role of a teacher is most important, as they alone can kindle a spirit of value-based growth and development. A value-based approach should form the foundation of the education process.
Gandhi believed in the goodness of every human. Each one of us can contribute good to the society as well as the humanity. Real education did not mean packing the brain with countless of meaningless data and information, or merely passing examinations by reading the prescribed material, without any concern for character building.
Gandhi’s perception of education focused on moral-ethical values. He firmly believed in the principle of ‘Practicing what one preaches’. Education, thus, must lead to the internalization of the obligations on the part of each human being to be noble in word, thought and deed.
The purpose of education must change towards the making of a person, who would contribute not only with information and knowledge but also with understanding and insight of the ever evolving processes of human growth and development.
Role of Family
family is the most important platform for a child to learn, especially during the early stages on one’s life. Many of beliefs and opinion are directly imbibed by an individual, from his family. We learn about the different social relations, responsibilities, religious ideas and codes of conduct from our family.
It is often believed that a Mother is the first teacher. She plays a foundational, central and life-shaping part in the development of the child. A child gets the basic awareness, self confidence, self-satisfaction, principle of sacrifice and love from his mother. The deep emotional connection between a mother and a child ensures that the mother teaches her child all that is good.
A family is the home of values like- kindness, sharing, cooperation, love, friendship, generosity, compassion, responsibility and service. Thus, a family performs a very formative function in the society. It is only through the institution of the family that the cultural heritage of the society is maintained.
It is only in the family that the child learns to think about ‘Us’ instead of ‘Me’. Through the appreciation of good behaviour, and punishment for the bad behaviour, the child learns about the socially acceptable norms and values.
It is because of such significant role of the family that- when a family breaks, there can be blame, resentment, distress, and an emotional scar on the character of the child. A bad familial experience can serious hamper the development of the moral-mental capabilities of the individual. In fact, a significant number of the outlaws and criminals have been found to be coming from such broken families.
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