On Education - Articles - Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)


in association with










Chairman Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi on



15 APRIL 2004  




Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)


We are not alone in the world; that is the rub for the egoist; that is the comfort and solace to the collectivist; that is the problem for the moralist; and that is the enigma that inspires the idealist; Human nature is complex and it is at once egoistic, collectivistic, moralistic and idealistic. It is easy to dwell upon one of the elements of this complexity, and emphasise it against the others; but the emphasis on one or the other does not abolish the complexity and unless we find a true equation and reconciliation of the elements of the complexity, we cannot realise any true harmony and peace. And in the meantime, we shall have enough room for debate in favour of one or the other, which will be found to have some kind of inconclusiveness.

At lower levels of existence, Nature has provided some kind of disorderly order, and instincts of self-preservation, on the one hand, and herd-instinct, on the other, are found to be so balanced that the individual and the collectivity subserve each other, — not irreductibly and ideally, but in some rough measure for the immediate purposes. As one begins to ascend higher and higher, the demands of self-assertion begin to collide with the demands of the collectivity, and in human life, this collision is sought to be resolved by erecting moral values and ideals, and even then resolutions are found to be superficial or temporary, giving rise to major maladjustments and maladies of oppression and injustice. It is only at very high levels by the discovery and practice of the largest ideals, self-aware wisdom, self-conquest and mastery and compassion that we find effective clues to progressive harmonisation.

We are all aware of the moral theories of hedonism, hedonistic utilitarianism, ideal utilitarianism, intuitionism, and other higher
because every formulations of ethical and spiritual norms. They are all presented as universal doctrines intended to be prescribed uniformly for all people, but if we take human individual and human collectivity to be evolutionary in character, and if we take elements of the complexity of human nature in an ascending order rising from the infra-rational to the rational and from the rational to the supra-rational, we may be able to gain insights into an evolutionary mode of reconciling conflicting morals and ideals.

From this point of view, there are four main standards of human conduct that make an ascending scale. The first is personal need, preference and desire; the second is the law and good of the collectivity; the third is an ideal ethic, the last is the highest and divine ideal and law of the nature. Standard of conduct, which is pre- scribed by psychological and ethical but egoistic hedonism, falls into the first category; its argument is that because every individual psychologically seeks satisfaction of his personal need for pleasure, because everyone psychologically prefers pleasure to pain and individual seeks the satisfaction of personal desire for pleasure, every individual ought to seek one's own pleasure. Students of philosophy and ethics are familiar with this argument and its criticism, such as whether each human being necessarily seeks pleasure or some other things also, and if pleasure alone, whether there are different kinds of pleasures, some inferior and others that are superior. They are also familiar with the naturalistic fallacy that is committed when it is argued that because pleasure is desired, pleasure is desirable. But in spite of these arguments, it has to be conceded that there is a strand, although at a lower level of the spectrum, where psychologically, egoistic hedonism and ethical egoistic hedonism seem to be relevant and even compelling.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

In this connection, it may be mentioned that although consumerism cannot strictly be described as hedonistic, much of the consumeristic economics derives its force from three assumptions:

  1. That human nature is driven by wants, which are largely self- centred, and which seek their satisfaction and satisfied pleasure;
  2. That the increase in wants, which leads to increase in consumption, is beneficial to increase in production, competition, efficiency and prosperity; and
  3. That consumerism is the natural way to enhance freedom of each individual and promote general welfare.

These assumptions, which lie at the root of competitive economics, were greatly attacked by thinkers like Ruskin and others. Later on, they were combated by Marxism, and they have also been criticised by those who advocate the combination of freedom and justice, freedom and equity, and freedom and equality. Moralists and spiritual idealists also oppose consumerism as they perceive that the human nature should not be viewed in narrow terms of what is only primary, ignoring what is the chief motivation in human life. According to them, basic necessities of physical life are only primary, but the chief wants of human life are rational, aesthetic, ethical and spiritual.

In any case, whatever silken garment we may put on consumerism and however attractive description we may make of this philosophy rooted in the human egoism and human demand for unrestricted indulgence, it cannot be denied that the collectivistic idealism and true altruism have their own roots in human nature, which are independent of that aspect of human nature which, in the words of Hobbes, is nasty and brutish. The law of competition, which is rooted in the egoistic psychology, is not the only possible law for organising human society; co-operation, too, is rooted in human nature, and co-operation is not necessarily an offshoot of egoism. It is true that in the early phases of battle between competition and co-operation, the former wins the race; — not because co-operation, as a principle, is weak in human nature or lower in value but only because the law of competition is primitive and has the force of early primacy; that which is morally superior, that which is more civilised, history has repeatedly shown, gets defeated by what is primitive and barbaric, at least, in the first rounds of the battle.

Collectivistic ideals are morally superior and consumerism certainly obstructs the higher collectivistic law, but humanity which bears within its heart deeper and higher aspirations will continue to pursue collectivistic ideals and will also continue to fight for the victory of those ideals, in spite of earlier failures.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

If we examine the history of thought, we find that egoistic ethical hedonism came, in due course, to be defended in the name of altruism and, eventually, run over by universal ethical hedonism that embodied the force of collectivistic ideals. This moral law advocated, in effect, the search for maximum pleasure for maximum number of people. To use the terms of Indian philosophy, the demands of vyashti and samashti came to be pressed forward against the claims of ahambhava. The existence of the collectivistic law external to the individual suggests a power other than that of personal egoism and induces or compels the individual to moderate his average demands, to discipline his irrational and often violent movements and even to lose himself sometimes in a larger and less personal egoism. And yet, the collectivistic morality or idealism is found to be incapable of arriving at any satisfactory solutions. Consequently, claims of society and claims of the individual continue to confront one another. There is a demand of the group that the individual should subordinate himself more or less completely or even lose his independent existence in the community. On the other hand, the ideal and absolute solution from the individual's standpoint would be a society that existed not for itself, but for the good of the individual and his fulfilment, for the greater and more perfect life of all its members. An ideal society of either kind does not exist anywhere, and in actuality, the society somehow attempts to work out some kind of a compromise, which sometimes gives an upper hand to the claims of individuals and sometimes to the claims of collectivity. In the end, the complexity of the problem increases and multiplies its issues. A need is felt to call in a new principle, and humanity begins to climb to a level of the pure mind, where the life of personal need, preference and desire begins to be touched by a greater and elevated light, and the aesthetic, intellectual and emotional desires begin to preponderate over the demands of the physical and the vital nature.

At this higher level, search for pleasure, egoistic or universal, gives way to a search for higher ideals like knowledge and character. Hedonistic utilitarianism begins to be overpassed by what has come to be called ideal utilitarianism, which in the history of Western ethics was formulated powerfully by Rashdall, who advocated the combined fulfilment of three ideals of character,  knowledge and happiness. But even this ethical theory could not sufficiently be defended within the formula of utilitarianism, because while the utilitarian judges an action by its consequences, it was found that things like knowledge and character are ends in themselves and cannot be judged in terms of their consequences. This forced the ethical thinker to develop a search for the realm of ends, which are intrinsic and which are valuable in themselves. In India, there was an early discovery of dharma, of duty, of values of righteousness, and of action that had to be performed with a sense of equanimity as far as its consequences are concerned. In the West, in the philosophy of Conscience and Intuitionism, sim-ilar ideas were put forward, and they came to a culminating point in the ethical doctrine of Kant, which enjoined duty for its own sake and attempted to give a standard of action that had to be judged not by its consequences but by its own intrinsic value.

At that new higher level, the primacy of universal values came to the forefront and began to influence the new equations between the individual and the collectivity. The question came to be asked as to what was the real nature of the individual, and Kant's own answer was that the true individual was capable of liberating himself from the clamour of desires into a realm of ends in themselves. Kant even went one step farther and declared that the individual himself should be looked upon not merely as a means but as an end in himself. In other words, it was affirmed that while individualism is valid, the individual in its true nature is not an egocentric entity subject to appetites and desires, but an entity capable of uplifting himself to a state of intrinsic and universal values.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Consequently, it came to be advocated that the needs and desires of individuals are to be surpassed in obedience to the moral law, and even the social law has no claims upon him if it is opposed to his sense of right and denied by conscience or by the categorical imperative. In regard to the conflict between the individual and the society, the solution that the moralist presented was that the individual shall cherish no desires and claims that are not consistent with love, truth and justice, and that the collectivity shall hold all things cheap, even its safety and its most pressing interests, in comparison with truth, justice, humanity and the highest good of the people.

The moralist's ideal of the categorical imperative is basically individualistic, and when his ideals are applied to the society, the inadequacies of these ideals come to light. For justice often demands what love abhors. Man's absolute justice easily turns out to be in practice a sovereign injustice; for his mind, one-sided and rigid in its construction, puts forward a one-sided partial and rigorous scheme or figure and claims for it totality and absoluteness and an application that ignores the subtler truth of things and the plasticity of life.

The fact is that the categorical imperative of ideal law does not signify the end of human search of the truth that harmonises and delivers. We discover that the moral nature of the human being is not the last and the highest component; there is, in us, it will be found, a divine being that is spiritual and supramental. In that component of our complex nature, it is claimed, is the integrating power; in it the truths of the individual and the collectivity coalesce; there we discover, we are told, that the individual and the collectivity are not what they appear to be in the lower or infra-rational parts of our being. Individual is not, it is discovered, fundamentally egoistic in nature; ego is only a temporary construction, but behind it there is the unegoistic centre of universality, such that the individual finds its fullness in universality and universality finds its concentrated centre of fullness in the individual.

As Sri Aurobindo points out:

"There alone can we touch the harmony of the divine powers that are poorly mispresented to our mind or framed into a false figure by the conflicting or wavering elements of the moral law. There alone the unification of the transformed vital and physical and the illumined mental man becomes possible in that supramental spirit which is at once the secret source and goal of our mind and life and body. There alone is there any possibility of an absolute justice, love and right — far other than that which we imagine – at one with each other in the light of a supreme divine knowledge. There alone can there be a reconciliation of the conflict between our members.”*[i]

[i] Sri Aurobindo: The Synthesis of Yoga, Centenary Edition, Vol. 20, p. 190.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Beyond the moral law are spiritual ideals. These ideals are not limited to moral data but embrace the totality of our being and totality of existence. The true divine law is not fully represented in exclusive formations of the mind or even in religious creeds that collide with other religious creeds. That is the reason why exclusive religions, even when proclaimed to be universal, have come to be combated by other exclusive religions with similar claims; and no social harmony can be achieved in that state of conflict.

The true spiritual and supramental consciousness takes into account the truth of all that is manifesting in this imperfect but evolving world and supports each truth in its proper place and harmonises it with all the rest. This seems to be the ideal of lokasangrah (solidarity of the people) of which Sri Krishna speaks in his message to Arjuna. The true universality and unity resolve lower discords into a victorious harmony, and point to the ideal of the creation of what may be called a spiritualised society, where love would be absolute and equality would be consistent with hierarchy and perfect in difference. In that society, absolute justice would be secured by the spontaneous action of the being in harmony with the truth of things and the truths of oneself and others and, therefore, sure of true and right results. In that society, the quarrel between the individual and the collectivity or the disastrous struggle between one community and another would not exist, since the cosmic consciousness imbedded in the embodied beings would assure a harmonious diversity in oneness.

But before such a spiritualised society could come into existence, much serious work needs to be done, and human nature has to climb up from the infra-rational to the rational and from the rational to spiritual consciousness. It is true that humanity as a whole has already crossed several strata of consciousness and even rationality has been greatly generalised, even though it has not still been able to overpower the forces of Unreason. But the stage where we stand today is that of acute crisis and we are in search of a solution where the individual and the collectivity can live in harmony with each other. Because of the earnestness of our search and the imperative need of all-round harmony on a global level, we can have an inner assurance that the ideals that are to be actualised may not take too long in their coming to the forefront, and, in the meantime, we need not hesitate to dream greatly and accomplish greatly.


It is in this context that the theme of education for character development has emerged with some imperative force. And our eyes have turned to the dimensions of values, the dimensions of will-power and to the dimensions of cultural, ethical and spiritual potentialities. These dimensions have not yet been sufficiently explored, but we have begun to uncover what lies in our present framework that would meet our urgent need to uplift ourselves and the coming generations

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

In India, our Constitution has been wisely prefaced with the ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity in its very Preamble; it has guaranteed certain basic fundamental rights and it has given a chapter on Directive Principles of the State Policy, which although not legally enforceable, embodies ideals and values, which are salutary for the progress of India on the lines which had come to be articulated and cherished during the Freedom Struggle.

In 1976, realising that apart from Rights, there is a need to emphasise responsibilities, obligations and duties of the citizens, Article 51 A was inserted to lay down certain fundamental duties. It is to that Article that we have recently turned our focal attention, with the hope that its operationalisation in the field of education would bring about a new climate of recovery of forces that can regenerate national ethos, national unity and integrity.

Government of India did well, therefore, in appointing a high level committee, in July 1998, to operationalise suggestions to teach fundamental duties to the citizens of the country. This Committee is chaired by Mr. Justice J.S. Verma, the former Chief Justice of India, and it has recently submitted its final Report to the Minister of Human Resource Development on 31st October 1999. This is also the time when the NCERT has undertaken the Review of Curricular Framework, and we can expect that the recommendations regarding the Rights and Duties will find favourable application.

The Verma Committee has done well to highlight the work which has been done by the International Interaction Council in drafting a Declaration of Human Responsibilities.

This Council had a preliminary meeting in Vienna, Austria in March 1996, April 1997 and the Plenary Session was held in Noordwijk, Netherlands, in June 1997. On 1st September, 1997, the Inter Action Council proposed a universal declaration of human responsibilities, just one year before the 50th anniversary of the universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. A number of former Prime Ministers, former Presidents, and leading personalities in the fields of thought and practical action have endorsed this draft of universal declaration of human responsibilities. The basic point that has been made by the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities is that the concept of human obligations serves to balance the notions of freedom and responsibilities. Without a proper balance, unrestricted freedom is as dangerous as imposed social responsibilities. It declares, in effect, that if we have a right to life then we have the obligation to respect life; and if we have right to liberty, then we have the obligation to respect other peoples' liberty too.

In other words, the golden rule of responsibility is that we do not do to others what we do not wish to be done to us; or that we should do unto others as we would have them to do unto us.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

This draft declaration which has now been submitted to the world community at large reaffirms that the time has come to talk about responsibilities, about obligations. It also shows that the action taken by the Government of India to set up a Committee of Teaching Fundamental Duties is timely and that while we have talked for decades of value-education, we have now to take decisive action in implementing the programmes of value-education.

Let us recall that various commissions and committees of the Government of India have underlined the importance of value- education and important recommendations have been made to distinguish morality and spirituality from religious creeds, so that imparting of moral and spiritual values does not come within the purview of the prohibition that is laid down in the Constitution to impart religious education in educational institutions that are financially supported by the Government. Dr. Radhakrishnan had made a distinction between a religious education and education about religions and advocated that there is no constitutional-disability in imparting education about religions in our educational system. The Sriprakasa Committee had advocated moral, emotional and cultural education as understood in their widest con- notations. The Kothari Commission recommended value-education that is in coherence with the development of science and scientific temper. The National Education Policy, 1986, devoted one full section to value-education.

Unfortunately, our curricula, by and large, have changed little or only marginally. The main difficulty has been that there has been a long drawn out debate on what values should be promoted and what place should be given to study of religions, which are closely connected with value systems. In answer to this debate, there is one thing which is very clear, and that is the Fundamental Duties, which have been listed in the Constitution, which represents national consensus and which has some kind of binding force.

The Fundamental Duties include, first and foremost, the obligation on the part of the citizens to abide by the Constitution and to respect its ideals and institutions. In large terms, this would mean obligation to secure justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as also the values that are embedded in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of the State Policy. In declaring that these duties will include the obligation to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom, we have a wide spectrum of values, spiritual, moral, economic, social and political. Again, in laying down the obligations to value and preservation of the rich heritage of our composite culture, the Constitution has stressed the wide range of values that have come to be cherished right from the times of the Veda to the present day, which has played a role towards assimilation and synthesis. Again, in laying down the duties to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform, the emphasis has been laid on the value of truth, knowledge and freedom from dogmatism and obscurantism, all that is valuable in modernism. In requiring everyone to protect and improve the natural environment and in renouncing practices that are derogatory to the dignity of women and in developing compassion for living creatures, some of the most pressing problems of contemporary times in the fields of environment and empowerment of women has been taken into account. Finally, by insisting on striving towards excellence in all the spheres of individual and collective activity, a great ideal has been stressed in respect of the perfectibility of the individual and the society and their harmonious relationships.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

This is not an occasion to bring out the implications of these duties and salutary effects that the operationalisation of duties in the field of education could bring about. It must be said, however, that this operationalisation should be regarded as a good beginning in the right direction, although the higher goals of man-making education of which Swami Vivekananda spoke will imply a still greater effort and we should not lose sight of this higher goal and the need for still greater efforts.

There is a dimension of values, which transcends the dimension of duties. That dimension is the spontaneous perception and commitment to ends-in-themselves. If I love a friend only as a matter of duty, it is, in a sense, not as valuable as I do so out of my spontaneous appreciation and admiration for him and for his achievements and qualities. Love for my own country as a duty is inferior to the love of a patriot that arises spontaneously in his heart and soul, as he looks upon his country as the very source of his breath and life. Search for truth is an end in itself, search for goodness is an end in itself, search for beauty is an end in itself; and they have to be encouraged not as duties but as irresistible demands of our being as we begin to uncover deeper and higher depths of our Selves, which transcend the limitations of egoism.

Self-knowledge and self-control are the true foundations of value-education. As Socrates had pointed out, virtue is knowledge, and it is when knowledge is rightly pursued, that that pursuit of virtue attains its right place as a spontaneous action and it has a lustre brighter than that obtains in performance of our duty.

These reflections have two important consequences in our formulations of value-education. Firstly, value-education does not merely remain a matter of do's and don'ts; it becomes a process of exploration, and it crosses the border of constraints that are felt in the performance of duties and leads us into a realm of freedom of which discipline for performance of duty is a happy product. Secondly, value-education opens before us the gates of the harmony between truth, beauty and goodness, which impart to us the sources of true humanism and even our true godliness.

It is necessary to bring out; even though briefly, these important dimensions of value-education, since it will help us better to prepare our curriculum of value-education in its wider also to prepare corresponding programmes of teacher-education.

The role of the teacher in education is irreplaceable, and unless the teachers' programmes or training are conceived in the light of the full implications of value-education, we shall not be able to equip the teachers with the right inspiration and with the required tools. If value-education has suffered so far, it is because teachers' training programmes fall short in many ways of an ideal system. We require to redesign programmes of teachers education, both pre-service and in-service; in a certain sense, we need to overhaul our entire system of teacher education, keeping in view that value-education is absolutely imperative and that unless a good teacher a aspects, and is himself value-oriented, we cannot fulfil the objectives of value-education.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

We have to realise that methods of value-education have to be different from those which are required in respect of many other subjects. The reason is that in value-education what we need is not merely the cultivation of cognitive faculties but also affective and conative faculties. One cannot merely give lectures on value- education and expect to fulfil the objectives. Just as swimming cannot be taught merely by lecturing, but by leading the learner to jump into the water and help him in the practical art of swimming in the midst of water, similarly, value-education requires of the teacher the ability to inspire the student to enter into the waters of life-situations and give him practical abilities and art of practising values in concrete situations of life. In a sense, it may be said that value-education is perhaps the most difficult domain among all domains of education.

Without going into details, it may be said that we need to undertake a three-pronged exercise in the teacher education programmes:

Firstly, our programmes must be so inspiring that teachers come to look upon the task of teaching as sacred;
Secondly, the curriculum of teachers' training programme should have the component of the theory of value-education, both in terms of the foundations of Fundamental Duties and of the values which lie beyond the domain of duties; and it should have also a component of practical art of the practice of exploration of values in life-situations;
And thirdly, the duration that is normally assigned to teacher education programmes should be sufficiently enlarged. A most salutary combination would be to propose an integrated programme of teacher education of the duration of five years on the completion of class XII, leading to a qualification equivalent to post-graduation. That has also consequences for career development and other aspects relevant to the structure and framework of teaching profession. But this is an aspect, which needs to be looked into separately.

In any programme of education for character development, we need to ask three important questions. Firstly, we have to determine with greater precision what we mean by character and how the development of character can be stimulated and nourished through the processes of communication and information, cultivation of faculties, and the methods by which the states of consciousness which express themselves in virtues can be stabilised. For character development is concerned with what may be called being or the central core of the individuality which tends to grow into universality and sovereignty of transcendence. Indeed, the concepts of individuality, universality and transcendence can be communicated to some extent in the form of information which relates to the history of these concepts and how these concepts have been interpreted by different thinkers, scholars and practitioners and how they have been applied in life and in the development of civilisations and cultures. Indeed, this information can kindle the inner urge of the individual to grow inwardly and to fashion the processes of learning which can properly be called the processes of learning to be. But still, the part played by communication of information in the development of character is only peripheral or of primary importance and not of chief importance.
A greater part is played in the character development by the development or cultivation of faculties and if we study numerous faculties that human personality comes to possess, we shall find that they relate to four main groups, namely (1) those which pertain to understanding, comprehension, synthesis, universality, knowledge and wisdom; (2) those that relate to will-power, fearlessness, courage, heroism, control, mastery, power and strength; (3) those that relate to imagination, sensibility, emotional refinement, harmony in relationships, friendship, co-operation, and loyalty, allegiance, unfailing love; and (4) those that pertain to skills of expressions, patience, perseverance, endurance, love for precision, and detailed execution of command, order, system and search for perfection. Unfortunately, in our curricular framework, preponderant emphasis is laid upon communication of information, but no deliberate attempt is made to the task of stimulating the cultivation of faculties; and yet, if faculties develop among our students, they do so because faculties have an inborn stress in process of themselves to push forward their developments. But a more rational and careful curriculum should provide guide-lines, occasions and exercises by which faculties can be cultivated consciously and systematically.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

But of even greater importance in character development is the role played by development of attitudes and states of consciousness. The depth of seriousness which accompanies the search or quest will determine the quality of search or quest and its eventual success. And the states of seriousness result from the cultivation of attitudes and of sincerity. If we examine closely, we shall find that what we call virtues are basically manifestations of certain states of consciousness; it is virtues that constitute character; and the stability of character depends upon the stabilisation of those states of consciousness which constitute virtues. How to develop, therefore, virtuous states of consciousness and how to stabilise them should constitute a major constituent of education for character development.

Closely connected with this first set of questions is the second set of questions which relate to the aim of  life. The moment we raise the question of aim of life, we begin to address ourselves to something that is central in our being, in our potentialities and in what we can become and can be fulfilled. No great character can be built where the aim of life remains a matter of doubt or tends to be neglected or retained for consideration or amusement in our hours of idleness or superficial leisure. Indeed, the theme of the aim of life should become a theme of exploration, and during the process of exploration one has to pass through periods of doubts, periods of long reflection, periods of experimentation and even of uncertainty. Educational process should provide both time and scope for this kind of exploration and every student should be provided with enough material in respect of this theme. Indeed, no prefixed aim of life should be proposed and no indoctrination or dogmatic assertions should be thrust upon on the mind and heart of the student. But the educational process should allow each student a process of exploration, experimentation and reflection as a result of which a mature decision is arrived at as to what aim of life one should pursue. It will then be seen that the quality of life and the quality of character reflect the quality of aim of life that one determines to realise.

Finally, there is a third set of questions which are also relevant to the development of character. These questions relate to the ways and means by which students become conscious of the methods of learning and methods by which character can be developed. In other words, character development has to become a conscious process, a deliberate process, voluntary process. Students have to become conscious of the psychological complexities and how the tangles of instincts, desires, emotions, will-force, powers of thought and imagination and the powers of aesthetic, ethical and spiritual consciousness can be understood, disentangled and yet controlled, mastered and harmonised. This is perhaps the most important part of education for character development. Here we have to focus upon the processes by which students can gradually become conscious of their inner being, of their potentialities, of their own character so that students can take upon themselves the task of fashioning and perfecting what is best in them.

Whether we are dealing with the curriculum for students or for teacher education, we need to bring forth these deeper aspects. At a time when the curriculum is now being debated, it is opportune for us to delve deep into these questions and suggest those considerations that should get reflected in the framework that will emerge the present deliberations on the curriculum.

Ethics And Value-Oriented Education (15 April 2004)

Back to Content