“Education is not limited to imparting of information or training in skill. It has to give the educated a proper sense of values”
– Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Education should be for the hand, head and heart. Education for the heart means spiritual training. The aim of education is self-realization, the summum bonum of life and education”
– MK Gandhi
Education liberates. It civilizes the uncivilized and instills humanness into human beings. The role of formal education in shaping the character and personality of children is immense. After parents, school is the main agent of socialization in an individual’s life. Teachers and peer-groups are major influences in the formative years of an individual. The above mentioned quotes by two great personalities have been carefully chosen, as they both highlight one common theme — the role of education in value-inculcation. In India in recent times, we have unfortunately witnessed cases such as the Ryan International (Gurugram) case where an 11th class student murdered an 8 year old innocent kid. This case along with many others, is reflective of the larger trend of degrading social and moral values within the whole society in general, and children in particular. Therefore, it is an appropriate time to take another look at issues like the role of education as an agency of value inculcation, the problems or emotional turmoil related to adolescence, and the plight of our teachers.
Are we doing enough for the teachers ?
In a school, children are members of a small society that exert a tremendous influence on their moral development. Teachers serve as role model to students in school ; they play a major role in inculcating ethical behavior in their thoughts and actions. Similarly, peers at a school often diffuse boldness about cheating, lying, stealing, as well as consideration for others. The importance of a teacher can be gauged from the lives of Mahatma Gandhi who had Gopal Krishna Gokhale as his teacher and Alexander who was the disciple of Aristotle. A teacher play multiple roles, he/she is a mentor, a facilitator, communicator, and a manager of teaching learning activities. S/he is a source of inspiration seen by her students as an individual full of action, thought, vision and wisdom besides knowledge. Therefore, it becomes quintessential that the selection process of teachers be more comprehensive and broad.
Mere academic qualifications are not enough, as all good students may not necessarily become good teachers. Thus, first and foremost, the basic requirement is to attract “right” and deserving people to the profession of teaching, especially at primary-level. It is highlighted in various behavioral and psychological researches that, the years between 4-16 are the formative years in an individual’s life. The value systems and beliefs which are promoted during this span of life, becomes an inherent part of an individual’s personality. Unfortunately in India, very few people “willingly” enter the professional of primary-school teaching. A lecturers’ job is held with a very high esteem, while primary school teacher is often looked down upon. Given the difference in their educational qualifications, it is justified to have a big gap in their salaries but the role and importance of the latter must not be understated and devalued. Proper social as well as legal recognition must be accorded to primary teachers who work on the ground. Secondly, they must be empowered by giving them proper training. Teacher training in India is not a norm rather an exception, this needs to change. As a result of a natural process of evolution of humankind, children today are smarter than the previous generation and children of future will be much more smarter of course. Also, technology is today changing faster than any other time in history and children are exposed to a plethora of facts and knowledge.
In such a scenario, it is essential that teachers are well-trained so that they remain up-to-date with changing times.
In an increasingly consumerist culture, the society must not lose sight of the importance of moral development. Education empowers us. But the power that it provides may be used for both constructive as well as destructive purposes. An education system devoid of the ability to generate moral beings is unworthy of emulation and must be discarded. A fine balance needs to be struck. Moral development cannot be neglected in pursuit of academic excellence. They both must complement each other. For this to happen, we need to focus on our teachers.
– Contributed by Kunwar Suryansh
Picture Credits: thenational.ae