Education is what it does, right?
Education must define an individual’s moral calibre?
Indian character and its moral disabilities.
Two aspects of education. One, what is the intrinsic meaning or value of education? The second aspect is what is education is actual life? What it does for us? How it helps us to make way in life?
In India we have so many different schools and also the education systems and practices. Historically, India had had its Vedic traditions of schooling. The Gurkula system, the Pathasalas and other systems that survived (or some still survive?)in states like West Bengal. The tols etc.
We are not sure about the historic and other periodic changes. What we know is that before the British came about, there were the indigenous schools. In a recent book on the 17th and 18th century Tranqueubar Mission (a Dutch colony that is now gone an only its historic fort survives, there was the first in India is the Missionary education efforts.
Of course, to propagate Christianity and the latest book in question describes vividly the letters written to the Halle(Germany)Mission, then in charge of Missionary work and these letters written in Tamil and some German and all now translated into English as a new book. The letter writers were the poor, Dalit converts and we get a glimpse of what education was about to these original converts.
It is simple livelihood and survival. This is not what we are now talking about.
We talk about an education that had produced a new India, an Independent India, and a democratic India where we are leading the people.
The leaders and their education and their own moral and ethical convictions etc.
Educated people, educated leaders must be showing ways in good governance?
Do we have good governance now?
Do we have any ideas about their own faith and commitment to good governance?
Such questions are delicate rather and might lead to some in convenient questions also. The point is that education is as old as man.
The Encyclopaedia (14th edition) gives some hundred pages to education!
So, it is an old story, the subject of education. It had agitated all through the ages.
From the Greek times to the present times. Now, education is of two kinds.
One, education for education sake. Education as an end in itself. Second, education for something else, education as a means.
Now, we are all too familiar about the second aspect of education. Education as a means, as a tool for acquiring a livelihood or a job in the ordinary sense.
But then, unless we have a clear idea of education as an end we are likely to mislead or misuse the purpose of education.
It is now a standard talk among anyone group who are concerned with education, either as academics r as school managers, founder to say that education teachers some basic morals and goo habits.
But unless we have some role models all such talks remain just mere talk, just on paper. In this sense, it is time we make some definite statements as to the meaning of education and its end. Education must impart values, like truth speaking, standing for truth, and even giving one’s life for standing up for truth.
Do we see any examples or role models to cite this highly value-loaded statement?
All our role models, if we reflect for a briefwhile, we would find, are not role models at all, they are mere caricatures!
Indians, critically at crucial positions of responsibility, be it politics or bureaucracy or some such crucial and sensitive positions, hardly, can be expected to stand up for truth!
On the contrary, it is widely seen that Indians of these categories, resort to plain lies! Without any moral qualm! You can them often with such pretensions cultivates poise even! This is Indian character’s moral disabilities.
Yes, in the realistic sense of the term, the educated sections of the people who are actually in charge of politics or business or administration, we find that education at any stage of its growth had imparted any such high degree of morality, moral calibre, and moral authority and seek for any such exalted status for themselves.
The most educated seem to be the most cowardly, when it comes to tough life situations.
See the number of criminal cases pending against the practising politicians. Or, the findings of the very many JPC reports that are now filled with dissenting notes.
The very many high profile corruption cases?
The one or two who are now punished and put in jail and others waiting in the queue!
So, there is no guarantee that education is really an idea or a philosophy for making an individual a moral person. The moral and the ethical persona is the only criterion of any person’s personality! This is what are education and its meaning!
What else can be the meaning of education?
It is also not about whether the education is for a poor person or a middle class or a very rich one. There are moral cowards at all levels. Don’t forget there are morally courageous individual irrespective of one’s economic, social or other status.
A man is born always free, to quote Rousseau! But a man finds himself everywhere in chains, again Rousseau!
We in India have a double duty now. One, we have been under the British colonial regime for very long. We thus, I believe, inherited the servility, slavishness and the inferiority complex and much worse, in my view, the double role, the split personality, one side pretension, the other side seemingly uprightness but in reality, the very same subservience even in highest and exalted posts!
This is our undoing. Indians’ unshakeable scourge!
We as educators must deeply reflect over this disability. One educator called some professions “debilitating professions”. I call the educated Indians’ debilitating character is the servile mentality, all through the education ladder, from the bottom to the very top!
Let us overcome this debilitating character. Let our education pedagogy reflect and come out with some correctives!