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A Different Value Education

Varghese Alengaden Varghese Alengaden
04 Jul 2022
Promoting practical value education in schools, especially for high-school students.

For the last 30 years, I have been speaking and writing about the urgent need of promoting practical value education in schools, especially for high-school students. I have also proposed schools to employ full-time value education co-ordinators to make it more effective. At present schools have full-time staff for physical education, music, dance and many other co-curricular activities. I have always asked, why not arrange for a full-time facilitator to co-ordinate value education?

As our country goes through a very turbulent time of violence, communal polarisation, corruption and hate campaigns, the need to motivate and mentor young students has become most urgent. The need for value education is particularly crucial because even school students are not spared from being brainwashed by communal forces and misused by corrupt and selfish politicians for their divisive and destructive agenda.

From my experience of promoting value education for peace over the last 30 years, I am fully convinced by the mode of practical value education promoted by the Universal Solidarity Movement (USM). The approach contains analysis of socio-political context, practical ways of educating the values enshrined in the Constitution of India, explaining the difference between ambition and vision, importance of preserving pluralistic heritage of India and experimenting self-transformation for bringing a positive change in the society. The USM had been experimenting and promoting it in hundreds of schools across the country with many follow-up programmes.

Many schools across the country had enthusiastically accepted this practical model and experimented it successfully. However, the change of principals and persons in management due to traditional and routine transfers in the system usually halts the experiment. Eventually, the programmes get discontinued and the motivated students get disconnected.

In order to solve this problem, we had suggested the appointment of a full-time co-ordinator of value education in every school. The USM had been offering short and long-term training programmes to equip such staff to carry out this mission effectively. Despite continuous ‘crying in the wilderness’ hardly anyone has paid attention to this most urgent need despite it being the solution for many of the problems among teenagers.

From our experience of working with hundreds of young students, we are convinced of the goodness of young students, who are most willing to accept guidance provided it is given to them by those who understand them. They expect teachers and parents to practice the values that they preach to them.

The routine theoretical value education and exams conducted in schools at present do not bear any lasting fruits. They do not create a positive impact on the minds of the young people. Therefore, this kind of value education cannot stop the increase in the number of crimes committed by teenagers. This traditional mode of value education and pious activities does not stop them from being brainwashed by fundamentalist forces. They succeed in polluting the young minds by using hatred and revenge against people of other faiths. Many of the politicians and bureaucrats who indulge in corruption and divisive activities today were students of prestigious educational institutions that had such traditional value education lessons and pious practices.

Sustained efforts to promote practical value education programme of the USM has worked miracles with not only students but also teachers and parents. Separate sessions are held for teachers for their role as mentors. Parents receive orientation to focus on their role in the education of children. The collective mission of school management, teachers and parents is emphasised in these sessions.

It is high time that all schools identify and appoint a full-time value education co-ordinator for an effective promotion of practical value education and regular and systematic follow-up. The USM’s 30-year experience in this mission is available for training these selected co-ordinators and helping them to continue in their mission to guide the youngsters.

Through this mission the schools will be able to build enlightened visionary leaders and responsible citizens through whom the soul of India can be restored and preserved.

If all the Catholic schools promote the practical model of value education experimented by the Universal Solidarity Movement of Value Education for Peace, I am sure that our Vision 2040 will be fully realized.

What is Vision 2040: We dream of having 500 Members in Parliament (MPs) and 3,000 members in different state legislatures (MLAs) who are committed to practicing the values enshrined in our Constitution. We dream of 600 IAS and IPS officers who have the right values to administer the districts of India. We dream of 100 IFS officers who would be ambassadors of India in different countries and work for global peace. We dream of having many heads of educational institutions as well as editors of newspapers and TV channels who will not compromise their values. We also dream of many industrialists and business people with ethics and commitment to build a civilisation of love.

If the heads of schools make practical value education their purpose and motivate teachers and students, our vision can be realised much before 2040.

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