Education is one of the basic human rights. It eliminates the darkness of ignorance, to the light of knowledge. Parents strive to ensure good education for their children, to equip them to survive in this competitive world. However, good intentions alone do not suffice, as children will have to take moral decisions at every turn in their lives. In the long run, only what is morally right will prevail. During the years of their development, young people need to think of the values in life that enable them to make appropriate moral decisions.

Our society can boast of many intellectuals with technical expertise. Many successful doctors, engineers, bureaucrats, and educationists make us proud. Nevertheless, how many of them deserve the accolade of being a “good person”? This is certainly a subject for thought. The world is benefited only through such individuals who can be rightly called ‘good’ human beings. In our society, we are facing the evil fall-out of an education that does not integrate the programme of learning with the process of evolving good individuals. A value-based educational system is of paramount importance; avoiding the negative possibility of knowledge itself running the risk of being misused if it is not backed by value-based standards.

According to G.K. Chesterton, “Every education teaches a philosophy of life, if not explicitly, then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. If the different parts of the education do not cohere or connect with each other; if, in the end, it does not empower and transform, then, it is not education at all”. A perfect education system should engage students with their life and life experiences, which, in turn, should transform them to move to serving the community, the society and finally to the world.

Education has the potential to enable students to discover their talents, frame their persuasion, and ultimately be responsible for their life. Only then will education be value-based and completely change the attitude and convictions of students. This enables them to contribute to humanity and make a marked change in form, nature, or appearance of society. A transformative teaching approach trains students for collective dialogue and new idea communications, which should provide each one of them with the chance to contribute towards solving the burning issues that are faced by humanity in today’s world. The new pedagogy should enable students to find ways to bridge the divides of ethnicity, socio-economic class, race, religion and gender.

There are clear definitions for all the catastrophes, human inequalities, socio-economic differences, etc. that we face today, but unfortunately many professionals and leaders in their respective fields are conveniently abstaining from expressing or reacting to these unfortunate wrongdoings. It is of more importance than ever that our students are the pillars of moral discernment, are value-backed planners, act responsibly in all their relationships, and pursue the common good.

One of the main aims of education is acquiring knowledge on fundamental relations, such as the right relationships with oneself, with others, with the Omnipresent or our spiritual life, and with the surrounding environment. These relationships require sensitivity, understanding, and care.

Education is the journey of enlightenment and discovering reality. This reality will liberate humans from the slavery of ignorance. The world supports itself in the strength of this reality. The denial of which leads to the destruction and corruption we see around the world. Value-based education is the solution for this sad state of our life and world.

Youths today recognise and acknowledge all of these issue, having so much information at their fingertips through the means of modern technology, and yet, they long for a more progressive education that integrates their intellectual, emotional and decision-making capacities and that helps them to appreciate how the varied subjects and disciplines fit together. They lack the education that acknowledge the responsibilities we have to each other, but long for an education that recognises the moral foundation that our lives are built upon.

We should know that the crisis our society faces, in all walks of life, can be related to the disorientation our educators feel in the field of value-based education. The educational system is primarily concerned with “How to make a living”. It ignores the more fundamental question: “How to live”. Most of the innovations in the educational field are concerned with acquiring knowledge and skills. But knowledge and skills, in the absence of an integrated system of values, can be dangerous and suicidal. It is obvious that a sound awareness of the need for healthy components of value education in our schools’ and universities’ curricula is imperative if we want to bring up a generation of young people with character.

Education, if it doesn’t happen to be value-based, will serve no purpose, because the primary objective of education itself is, and has to be, nothing but value-based education. Values are critical in helping one to distinguish between right and wrong, and a nurturing the capacity to accept and follow the right, while rejecting and dismissing the wrong from one’s life. In this process, it is the educators who can and should play the key role, capturing the minds of the learners while they are young. As people say, “Catch them young!”.

The four pillars of education are: 1.Learning to know, 2.Learning to do, 3.Learning to live together and 4.Learning to be. A value-based approach to education is embedded in all these aspects. In this context, it becomes crucial to implement value rich education in schools and colleges to guide young people’s behaviour and to assign meaning to their existence. The future educational system requires revamping to bring out the best in terms of superior character in the young generation, which requires an integrated educational system of modern technology with value-based learning.

A Chinese proverb says: “If there is nobility in heart, there will be beauty in character; if there is beauty in character, there will be harmony at home; if there is harmony at home, there will be order in the nation; if there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

Written by:
Dr. Robinson Joseph
Lecturer, Skyline University College