Value Education in Schools :
Experiences and Strategies of Implementation
Chairman, Indian Council of Philosophical Research
NCERT, 20th August, 2002
Dr. Krishna Murthy, Professor Rajput and friends;
Permit me to begin with the recent survey that is being conducted by the International Forum for India's Heritage, which has issued a questionnaire to a number of Indian schools so as to elicit responses from students in regard to their experience of our current educational system. I had recently an occasion to study a few illustrative samples of answers that have been received from students from different parts of the country. Three general remarks are common: (i) the present system of education is not at all inspiring; (ii) it does not contribute to the all‑round development of personality; (iii) there is keenness to study Indian heritage. I am sure that when this survey will be completed and results are brought out, educationists in our country and NCERT in particular, will have valuable material for reflection and action.
Cry of the National Soul
There is, unmistakably, a cry among our students to bring about a radical change in our system of education, so as to make it more meaningful, more purposive, more value-oriented, more skill-oriented, more interesting and less burdensome. There is a cry of the soul of India, it appears, which wants to communicate itself with the coming generations so that its wisdom and its value-system can be nourished, strengthened and developed further in the light of the needs of the critical conditions through which humanity as a whole is passing today. This is not a new cry; this cry was reflected throughout the freedom struggle, when the greatest educationists of India proposed and inspired experiments in education so as to combat the Macaulayan system of education, which had come to be imposed under assumptions which were entirely antagonistic to the national system of values and national system of education. What is, however, new at present is the cry of the students, and we need to discern in it a deep call to educationists to undertake a fresh journey of research ¾ research in objectives of education, research in contents of education and research in methods of education. (…)
(a) Education that is oriented towards dimension of values should employ the methods of exploration and discovery of the value-dimension and its expression through internal and external activities of life.
It is better to use the expression value-oriented education rather than value‑education.
(b) There are three foundations of value-oriented education, and they need to be supported by the development of capacities for concentration.
i. Widening of consciousness can be promoted through the help of a joint laboratory for astronomy, geography and mathematics;
ii. Deepening of consciousness as also the process of concentration can be aided through introspection and through the aid of a Room of Silence which should be set up in schools in the country.
Exercises in poetry, art and music can be promoted through study of languages and language laboratories in the schools should provide facilities for an integrated development of values that can be imparted through language, music, art and poetry.
iii. Heightening of consciousness can be aided through demonstrations, dramas and exhibitions. Quest for the higher heights should be emphasised in programmes of value-oriented education.
(c) Need to underline the values of Indian culture.
Exploration should be conducted in Indian system of values and the same should be fostered through a true national system of education.
(d) Four fundamentals of Indian values are:
i. Physical health as an instrument for the development and realisation of ideals of perfection;
ii. Robust intellectuality and critical inquiry: values of scientific thought and philosophical thought;
iii. Restraint and refinement of life-force through ethics and aesthetics; and
iv. Synthesis of values of scientific thought, philosophical thought, ethical practice and aesthetic creative expression, all guided by values of spiritual quest for immortality through the scientific process of exploration of the highest levels of consciousness.
(e) Need to enlarge the canvas of the present value-oriented education so as to integrate the value-orientation not only through language, mathematics, history, geography and natural sciences but also through astronomy, poetry, art, music, dance, drama, study of dharma (as distinguished from religion), philosophy and yoga.
(f) Need to reframe the curriculum in such a way that the canvas is wider but approach is less burdensome so that the load of teaching‑learning material is drastically reduced.
(g) Value-oriented education should promote development of skills of various kinds, those of art and craft as also of harmonious relationship with nature and among all creation.
(h) Need to undertake a large programme of production of teaching-learning material for value-oriented education. In particular a programme should be undertaken to produce monographs, booklets, and other audio-visual materials as also albums related to:
ii. Good and inspiring stories;
iii. Fine Arts.
Institution of programmes of consultation with experts in the field of literature, fine arts, crafts, scientists and others on a regular basis.
Institution of programmes to suggest to schools dramas to be staged for their annual day celebrations and also suggestions for holding important exhibitions.
(i) Development of new programmes of training of teachers so as to generate enthusiasm amongst teachers for value-oriented integral education.
As can be seen, much work awaits us, and this work should not be confined only to NCERT. This is the task to be shared by many institutions and also by individuals who can make their own contributions. This is a national task, and has to be shouldered on a national scale. In due course, many new ideas will emerge and increasing number of participants will have to come forward. I feel confident that, considering the initiatives that have been taken during the last few years by NCERT, the work that we envisage will receive due attention and effective steps will be taken for implementation.