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Fostering Values in Education

The emphasis of formal education on imparting physical, social and mental knowledge and skills neglects the essential attitudes and values needed for accomplishment and fulfillment.

All human accomplishment is based on values. Values are not merely utopian ideals. They represent the quintessence of humanity’s accumulated wisdom for harmonious living, ever-expanding accomplishment, individual and social fulfillment, cultural and spiritual evolution. Awakening in youth the value of values is the highest goal of education.Values are truths of life that can be best learned from living examples in a living context, rather than as abstract principles of conduct.

Education is the main agency for individual transformation and social change. The role of education is to bring out the latent potentialities and inherent capacities of the learner and help the individual develop an ‘integrated personality’ for both his own well-being and for the welfare of society. The awakening of the student to the value of values plays a crucial role in this process. The emphasis of formal education on imparting physical, social and mental knowledge and skills, neglects the essential attitudes and values needed for accomplishment and fulfillment.

All human achievement is founded on values: work values of cleanliness, orderliness, punctuality, accuracy and perseverance; social values of tolerance, cooperation, harmony, equality, goodwill and generosity; psychological values of self-reliance, responsibility, courage, self-respect and integrity; spiritual values of freedom, self-giving, truthfulness, and patience.

The value of values can best be taught by a study of contemporary achievements, history, biography and, most of, literature. They provide a rich storehouse of knowledge regarding the central role of values in the survival, growth, development and evolution of humanity, individually and collectively.

Education can also cultivate values by

  • Encouraging self-discipline rather than impose rules externally
  • Helping students become aware of their biases and prejudices to cultivate a non-judgmental open mind
  • Giving students the freedom to think for themselves
  • Encouraging the capacity to listen, patience, endurance, cooperation
  • Encouraging students to reflect on their own behavior and take personal responsibility for their actions

Values are best taught by personal example.

Further Reading