Monday, July 21, 2014

Seeking honest and ethical minds

A news report related to the students of a medical college in Rajasthan should have disturbed many people in the society including the students in question, their parents and teachers. The case here is that more than thirty students of this college have been debarred from appearing in the examination because they did not fulfill attendance requirement. I am sure the college administration must have warned them and their parent before also (I am not definite about this but this is what is expected) but they might not have taken it seriously. The question arises whether this is an isolated incident or it is there in other institutions also. I came across another interesting issue lately. I tried to think about it critically whether this should be discussed or not because this includes the child, the school and the coaching center. An advertisement published in a daily newspaper had mentioned a regular student of that school who topped entrance examination for a premier institution. The school fraternity was rightly proud of the achievement of their student. After a few days the coaching institute also gets an advertisement published and claims for the success of the same child. The paradox here is that the child was claimed to be the regular classroom student in a city known as the education city of the country because of large number of coaching institutes (unfortunately coaching institutes are being claimed to be the part of our education system which perhaps is not right). Now the question is, how a child can be a regular student at two different places? The two cities (one in which the school is situated and the other where the coaching institute is situated) are at quite a distance from each other. This is not possible for the child to travel from one city to the other city every day. We do not know whose claim is right! Almost everyone knows that this problem is not confined to one city or one school or one coaching institute but it has spread all over the country. The two incidents which I mentioned here should be viewed seriously by all concerned. Does bunking of the classes by the students of the medical college have anything to do with the issue of coaching institute? There are rumors(which may be true also) that there are dummy schools available to the coaching institutes where the children are enrolled in classes XI and XII but they do not need to attend the school and concentrate only on the coaching institutes. This is not something new because the national board of the country had taken action against some schools in the so called education city few years back. The reason the government thought of considering the marks of class XII for the IIT admission was also based on the inputs that the children were in the habit of ignoring schools and focus on the coaching only. The size and number of ads published in the newspaper explains the influence of the parallel industry in the name of education. However, efforts were made to curb the same but this seems to have little impact on this issue. Now the question is who is responsible for the same? I think it is the parents, students, schools, coaching institutes and also the government agencies. But ultimate sufferers are the children and the nation. The children who develop the attitude of achieving things irrespective of the means used by them continue doing the same in their future life also. The concept of the ethics and respect for others becomes meaningless for them. Did the students of medical college in discussion develop the habit of bunking the classes while they were aspiring for medical entrance examination? This needs to be studied not only in this case but in other colleges and universities also. Why should school become the party to something done unethically? I know there are number of schools which do not allow dummy attendance but that number seems to be decreasing now. The reason is that their students leave their school after class X because the ones who are focused for coaching, want excuse from the school attendance and such schools do not allow that. This is a severe problem not being looked at sincerely. I make a request to the parents and the children to ensure that they achieve things and positions by making use of fair means and not resorting to the methods they would not like others to use. I know a few cases where the parents would like high moral values to be developed till their child is in class X but the views change drastically when the child comes to class XI. At this stage they rather demand for dummy attendance in the school and if told no then withdraw the child and put him in some other school which might have agreed to their request. Everyone may make a lot of hue and cry that there is corruption in government department but in reality the immorality originates from individuals. I cannot say much about corruption, but what is this when someone is shown present in the school but is actually absent? I know it very well that some people will feel offended by what I am stating but if they are honest why should they worry. We must realize that the objective of education is to produce citizens who will be responsible not only for themselves but also the society. The service of the society should be placed before self. If our ancestors would have been selfish we would not have been living in an independent country. They sacrificed everything for the cause of the nation and we must be indebted for it.
I was reading the book, Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner in which he talks about what should be focused in education to provide the society with best of the citizens in plenty. I take this more in context of the school education. The first three minds are based on cognitive achievements and the next two are very relevant to the topic in discussion. These are respectful and ethical minds. We must focus on these two minds and most of our problems related to violence and corruption would be solved. These minds can be developed when the parents and the teachers (school) think and are developed that way. In the race of going ahead of others we should not let our children lose sight of respect and ethics. This is not easy but not at all impossible. The schools should ensure that they do not do anything which might put them in an awkward situation if children or parents ask them some uneasy question and vice versa. Education is one of the noblest professions and efforts should be made to keep the trust of the society intact. If we respect all the people in the society then this mad race of pursuits would take a different route. Making efforts to progress is not wrong but the means employed are the ones which make things good or bad.
I did not mean to hurt somebody but raise an issue which should be discussed in the earnest and efforts be made by all concerned to tackle it effectively. Let us help our children develop respectful and ethical minds so that the country and the world are benefitted by them.