2 June 2002
The contemporary civilisation is undergoing a severe crisis. This crisis is not merely economic, social and political, but it has its roots in the problems of human development itself. During the last five centuries, science and technology have enabled the human being to develop on certain lines of growth but ethical and spiritual dimensions have not received the attention that is required to ensure harmonious integral growth of human personality. Huge structures have come to be built, but they can be rightly organised and managed only if small egoistic personality begins to be replaced by larger and universal dimensions of personality. The contemporary disequilibrium can be remedied only if human beings are given a new direction in which the central emphasis falls on pursuit of normative modes of thinking, feeling and being. If this programme of development of humanity is to succeed, the most important instrument that will need to be explored and perfected will be that of value-oriented education.
Happily, the need for value-oriented education has come to be acknowledged in India with increasing insistence and persistence. Already, at the level of UNESCO, it had been proclaimed as far back as 1945 that since wars are fought in the minds of men, defences of peace have to be built in the minds of men. UNESCO’s programme of international understanding and universal peace has created a favourable climate all over the world and made salutary impact on the educational systems among Member-States. The dimension of value has been recognised and promoted. Similarly, UNICEF has also underlined the importance of opening the gates of value-education right from early childhood, and its programmes have constantly emphasised the need to place the child at the centre of education as also in the centre of each nation’s highest concerns for total welfare. Against this background, there is a need to cultivate the field of value-oriented education more and more extensively and also more and more intensively.
The theme of value-oriented education is in need of greater clarification and greater application. Values cannot be taught by the usual methods which are employed in teaching mathematics and science, which are largely cognitive disciplines. Value-education is at once cognitive, affective and conative, and its successful implementation requires integral methods which are at once conducive to the development of wisdom and, universal love, and practical abilities through which values can be expressed in day-to-day life. This is an extremely difficult task, and we must admit that we all are at a very elementary stage of development in this vast field. We need more and more explorations, greater and greater experiments, and more and more efforts at awakening teachers, students, and parents.
During the last few years, it has been increasingly realised that we need to develop suitable teaching-learning materials. We need to have new kind of literature which can inspire the modern child to set out on a quest of discovery of the highest values that can be envisaged in terms of truth, beauty and goodness. We need to create dramas and films; we need to develop suitable modes of communication through which noble emotions can be aroused in the hearts of children, adolescents and youths. We have to employ both literature and science; we have to employ the study of history and the study of philosophy; all this has to be done in such a meaningful manner that they inspire the new generations to develop wide vision of the universe and methods by which universe and human personality can be interrelated harmoniously and fruitfully. It can easily be seen that a vast programme of study, research, experimentation and action needs to be developed.
This work has just begun; and I am happy that educationists like Professor Kalra have come forward in our country to dedicate their entire life to this vast programme. When the Indian Council of Philosophical Research undertook recently the task of exploring philosophical foundations of value-education, a number of teachers and experts came together, and in January 2002, a National Seminar was organised with the help of some of these teachers and experts. We were happy that Professor Kalra offered his services as Advisor to this Seminar. The Seminar itself was a modest effort, but it is gratifying that it has produced a new wave of enthusiasm in different parts of the country. Professor Kalra has continued to carry the torch of the message of value-oriented education, and he has already travelled in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In Delhi itself, he has taken the message to a number of schools, and demands are now growing for a systematic expansion of the programme.
The present Report gives an account of exploratory studies regarding perceptions of teachers, parents and students about education in human values as also a synthesis of these preliminary studies which have resulted in formulating suggestions for strategies that should be employed for promoting the theme of value-oriented education. Professor Kalra has taken care to include in this Report the replies he has received to the questionnaires, from a number of teachers, parents and students. Thus the entire Report can be regarded as a very valuable input to the growing literature that is not merely theoretical but which is directed towards practical action.
Since this Report has its origin in the National Seminar conducted by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research in January 2002, we naturally feel gratified that Professor Kalra has continued to spread the message of value-oriented education and has also solicited and obtained valuable cooperation from educationists like Professor N.K. Ambasht, Chairman, National Open School (NOS), Dr. Kuldeep Agrawal, Director (Academic), NOS, Dr. J.D. Sharma, Senior Executive Officer, NOS, and eminent educators like Mrs. Chitra Nakra, Mrs. Sudershan Mahajan, Mrs. Renu Taneja, Mrs. Vibha Sharda, Dr. D.D. Jyoti, Dr. D.R.Vij, Shri Joseph John and others.
We look forward to receiving continued cooperation from Professor Kalra and others in our endeavours to give shape to value-oriented programmes in our country.
While congratulating Professor Kalra for presenting this valuable Report, I trust this Report will be studied carefully by a large number of educationists, teachers, students and parents.