The growing social and religious intolerance in the society has left the age old British education system inadequate. There is a need to revamp the education system to inculcate the values of tolerance and ethics in modern education system, observes Atul Temurnikar, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Global Schools Foundation for EletsNews Network (ENN).
The Dalai Lama recently said that principles of compassion, respect, kindness and responsibility should be at the center of every activity in every field.
“The time has come to think seriously about introducing education of the heart and mind, based on secular thoughts, particularly Indian secular concept. I think it is very relevant in today’s world,” said the spiritual leader, who is himself a champion of holistic education.
There is undoubted wisdom in his words. Education is indeed the foundation to inculcate values of compassion and tolerance among children. As countries are developing rapidly in an era of globalization, their social and economic fabric also takes newer shape, leading to new challenges. For instance, in India progressive reforms are jostling for space alongside tradition practices and social harmony, especially as the country attains economic success and strives to achieve greater self-sufficiency.
Under such a scenario, it is imperative that the next generation of citizens come armed with the right balance of traditional values and progressive thinking, to adjust to the new world order. A modern curriculum interspersed with innovative learning techniques would be a good start in this direction, which will focus of giving our youngsters a wider worldview without having them lose touch with their roots. Science should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Art and Languages in the curriculum hierarchy to provide a complete pedagogy to students.
Holistic learning is thus a great way of helping young minds, who will be future leaders and global citizens, to develop more self-awareness, mindfulness, compassion and emotional intelligence required to tackle the challenges of this millennium. And lessons on secularism could be an important aspect of this pedagogy. The basic principles of such a curriculum could be teaching students to embrace versatility with humility, strive for peaceful and green living, and have an inclusive mindset to meet future challenges, which will create caring global citizens and integrate communities.
Such initiatives, if introduced early in a child’s educational journey, would go a long way in laying a stronger foundation for a stable society, the benefits of which are bound to be enjoyed by the nation in future.
The values and teachings of some of our leaders could go a long way in shaping the content of such a curriculum. An excellent example of this would be incorporating Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of ‘Learn as if you will live forever’ – which are not just random thoughts, but a profound piece of advice which can be a road map to one’s way of life. His wisdom and virtues have transcended his lifetime and hold an even stronger relevance in contemporary times.
The Mahatma’s ideas and those of other great leaders of this nation can be merged into the education system in a way that will motivate millions across the world and be practiced in such a way that they become part of our daily lives. That would be the best way to commemorate these legends.
An international school like ours should aim to promote values of honesty, tolerance, harmony and peace, especially to Indian students abroad as it will keep their moral values intact. These teachings need to be incorporated in the curriculum to provide students with insights into the experiences and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Our school follows this as part of our 9 GEMS framework which is recognized as a hallmark of holistic education.
The Centre also offers literature on the Mahatma like his autobiography, besides various other publications, journals and teachings on ancient Indian civilization, Indian philosophy, the country’s freedom struggle etc.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, an initiative of Narendra Modi government, is also a step in the same direction. In Budget 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earmarked Rs 150 crore for activities to prepare for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary year.
Having such meaningful activities in school and making such teachings part of the curriculum will help nurture our children into responsible citizens of tomorrow. Parents and teachers can contribute to the structural formation of such initiatives so that a balanced and well-rounded pedagogy can be achieved. (views expressed above are author’s personal).