Thursday, May 20, 2010

Value Education in the Age of Globalism

Value Education in the Age of Globalism
Globalism today is being accepted as synonym for progress, scientific breakthroughs and technological revolution. With its long strides, it is being taken as a model prescription of the new utilitarian thrust in our approach to education. But in the sheer romantic indulgence of this new pursuit, it is not being realized that when the sole purpose of education becomes acquisition of higher and higher level of commercialism, and when education is allowed to drift along this wave and it consequently reduces to a coveted agency of material advancement, the symphonic order within the human soul becomes the natural casualty causing deformity in human emotions and perceptions. Such a development can endanger the peace and happiness of the mankind. With all its excitation tunes, it is devoid of our essential human music. The human face of education is, thus, missing in the wake of technological onslaughts on the value-based concept of education. The equilibrium has been considerably damaged causing a sense of tragic waste and futility, and this can be restored by identifying the role of value education in this age of globalism.
The traditional approach to education has been to see its utility and purpose in terms of social and moral awareness, to impart beauty and dignity to life and also to provide with a code of conduct for a good social and moral order. Character building is the key phrase in the Gandhian philosophy of education. Another recurring note that we trace in the writing of our philosophers is that education provides us with a faculty for positive discrimination between the right and the wrong and between the virtue and the vice. That knowledge which purifies the mind and the heart is the only true knowledge, all else are only negation of knowledge, says sri Ramkrishna Paramhans. And according to //Seneca, the object of education is inward development. Long ago, the great philosopher plato said “The main aim of education is all round development of the personality”. According to Herbert Spencer, the aim of education is to enable one to lead a complete and successful life. The same idea has been incorporated in the philosophy of the great German educationist John Fredric Herbert who opined that the one and the whole task of education may be summed up in the concept of morality. In this context our former president Dr. S. Radhkrishanan also observed that the troubles of the whole world including India are due to the fact that education has become a mere intellectual exercise and not the acquisition of moral and spiritual values. With the advent of industrial society and its aspirations, the educational scene has undergone a phenomenal change giving rise to new powers and new thrusts in educational management. The primary function of education is no longer the building of character or the promotion of moral order, but the emphasis has shifted to the promotion of skill, technical know-how and technology for material progress. The mass base of higher education in India has encouraged courses for utility skill; promotion of careerism ecomomic good and social prosperity. Education, today is no longer confined to the development of intellectual power or knowledge of the abstract kind, but to development and promotion of skills and know-how for industrial productivity and the production of goods, skills and services.
Education is still engaged in its primary function to generate and disseminate knowledge but cannot stop at this: it has to promote know-how, skills and technologies to make it respectable and comfortable in the changing situations. Higher education in India has, therefore, an obligatory duty to create technical and managerial human resource in all development sectors. It has to keep the vision of India becoming the fourth largest economy in the world by 2020 in mind and for this pace of growth it has to promote skills and technologies which will be required of Indians by that time. It has to keep communication revolution in mind, and must be prepared to create a well equipped generation of human power, a generation of producers and innovators, in other words, education is to act not as a moral reformer, but as an agent of social transformation and promoter of the desired change.
This change has, however, encouraged promotion of careerism without human values and ends in view. What is more unfortunate is the unmistakable trend of a mad rush for amoral and valueless desire for status and power in terms of commercialism and consumerism. To be in tune with the big development taking place in the world is good and desirable; but to achieve the educational power without human values in view, is fraught with dangerous possibilities.
The need of the hour is to temper the utilitarian pursuit of education with integrated vision of a happy order of life on earth and also with spiritual, cultural and aesthetic values of the modern age. productivity must not suffer and education must prove to be a powerful agent and promoter of productivity. Productivity can even be accepted as a new value of education but the Sciences and technological streams should also promote scientific approach to problems and a rational and human outlook on life. A meaningful promotion of a rational and human outlook on life. Would necessarily require education of human rights and fundamental freedoms. This will have a focus on environmental. Cultural, Social, political, economic and developmental rights with quality concerns in the matter of the related issues.
Catholicity of mind is another important value which must be promoted by the post modernist education. Established as a component of education and a cherished value, it can ensure broad based understanding, spirit of good mixing, perseverance, tolerance, receptivity and sensibility for appreciation of imaginative powers, cultural slants and angularities of varied social groups of the world. An educated person is after all supposed to be able to come out of his narrow walls and boundaries of ideas and creeds, and to have respect for the point of view of others in our pluralistic society.
The power of modern education can be better realised by achieving a happy integration of utility and value, integration of body and mind, emotions and ideas, individual and society, society and the world. The vision of progress must not be devoid of human element the aspects of vision which make the progress meaningful and purposeful. The progress that is aimed at and desired is an assertion of the power of human imagination and so the fruits of this progress must be realized with the ends of humanity in minds. The tools of change are powerful, but their application must be humane and they must be employed for pious purposes.
So in the wake of the phenomenal and dimensional developments on the educational front, reorientation of value in the post modernist education assumes special significance. Here are certain concrete recommendations for tempering utilitarian pursuit of higher education with desirable ideals and visions of human happiness.
A) Education must promote rational outlook on life and scientific approach to issues confronting the real life situations.
B) An imaginatively framed course in fundamental freedoms and human rights must constitute a component of our Degree level curriculum.
C) Power that education generates must be employed for constructive human purposes.
D) Education must develop sensitivity to environment and must foster human ethos for the enjoyment of the fruits of progress.
E) Humanism should be the motto of education in all circumstances, and it must promote quality concern for corporate behavior and corporate life.
F) Education must be able to develop a working mechanism to fight the evil of consumerism and acquisitive culture so that environment may be protected and development may remain sustainable.

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