Monday, January 3, 2011

Embracing Values

Yesterday I read in the newspapers that B schools are planning to introduce and cover the subject of ethics in their curriculum. This thought has come about after seeing many scams that have been perpetrated by the educated professionals. I was heartened by this news as this subject is close to my heart.

I have always believed that the world will become difficult to live in unless everyone lives a life of values. Anarchy. lawlessness, violence, cheating etc. will thrive without values being practiced in earnest by people. We might progress materially but will decay in every other aspect without values guiding our lives.

Having said this, I feel that ethics or values cannot be inculcated by teaching it as a subject and getting students to learn the theory of values. People who have ethics as a subject to be passed to become a graduate might end up mugging this subject and not really understanding it or imbibing it. The very objective of introducing the subject and inculcating it might get diluted if were to be a mere topic for study.

What then is the way forward? I give below some thoughts that come to mind and hope to see it getting enriched by the comments of my readers.

1. Ethics education should begin early. Right from childhood. The parents, siblings and others who make up the child's world (core group) should be actively involved in educating the child right from the impressionable age.

2. The core group should also demonstrate and live a life of values at all times. The child who is thus exposed to value living at an early age will imbibe it and practice it.

3. Encouragement should be given to the child every time she confirms to the value living concept. She should be lavishly praised for every single example in her life which shows values. Her mind should thus get firm on living a life of values.

4. If there are errors or judgement or occasions of default, it should be noted but not excessively dwelt upon. Instead, encouragement / positive strokes should be used liberally to imbibe values.

5. Others should also be spoken of highly for the values they show. This will create an intense desire in the child to inculcate those values too.

6. Children love hearing stories and they should get to hear, see and read stories wherein the themes revolve around values. The main characters should be exemplars in this area.

7. School should also be having curriculum, methods and standards which encourage values. Yardstick for judging a child should be the demonstration of values and not success / wealth etc. acquired through unfair means.

8. Society should also be built on similar lines. People who live ethically should be recognised, appreciated and even rewarded more than others who do not follow. They are the ones who should be treated as the heroes of every society.

9. Only such people who live ethically and with values should be allowed to elect and be elected as leaders and law makers.

I think the above steps outlined gives a fair idea of how I think. I know it can be branded as impractical and impossible to implement. However, I feel that if we want a clean society, we have no option but implement the above. If we work towards this relentlessly, we will eventually achieve our objective.

I am looking forward to your views on how we can create a world for the future generations which will be a pleasure for them to live in.


KParthasarathi said...

The point No.9 is most vital.The orgin of all our problems are derived from the political system and the politicians.Unless there is a peremptory and total change, it is very difficult.They have encroached on all areas that affect our society.The business class have also been ruined and corrupted by the unholy nexus with politico class.Even the religious sector of majority community has not escaped its influence.A root and branch reform of even the constitution would be called for.This is well nigh impossible.

What is possible at individual level can be made is the inculcation of values to the young minds by being exemplars.Moral education at schools will greatly help if the teachers are sincere and good preceptors themselves.

There is a relentless march of Kali yuga and the erosion of values would be faster and more intense.It is scary to visualise the society after a few decades.

B M said...

Completely agree with you boss that ethics cannot be taught in a classroom. And there are no shortcuts; value education begins as a child and continues for ever.

I also wonder what will be taught in a classroom setting? Will the professor teach that being good and honest is good and give examples of companies that have thrived without compromising on ethics? That, in my opinion will not only be boring but also the list will be too short. We always thought of Tata as being on top of that list but now Ms Radia has changed everything.

Anyway, what is most likely to be taught in these classes would be the study of the black sheep. Stories of those who got caught and what was the penalty imposed on them. Enron, Satyam, etc. The classes would discuss about the stick aspect but the carrot aspect will have to be inculcated by parents. No shortcut there…

Sonal Raisinghani said...

Imparting value education at graduation level is too late to make students learn it. But, still better late than never.
While point no 1 - 7 are within our control and we can act on it immediately.. pts 8 and 9 would take its own sweet time for creating a visible impact..
I remember having this subject of Value Education ( Moral Science) inschool. It was more of a project kind (fun-based activities on values only) and at the end of the year evaluations were based on entire years working notes made by you... Something of this kind should be able to resolve the problem of mugging up things.

Value education teaches the habits of thoughts and deeds. It helps us live and work together as one family. It is a learning process that enables students and adults- understand, care about each other, act on core ethical values such as respect for each other and responsibility for self and others.

V Rakesh said...

I'm amazed at how it has taken us to recognize ethics and values as a subject as against something that needs to be innate!

Nevertheless, I concur that we must need them administered from the shelf, given changing times and people!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chief,

I am happy to read the nice blog on a topic close to my heart.

I am happy that finally the B schools have taken the initiative and hope that they can fine tune the inputs to enhance effectiveness of imbibing the values.

Keep writing . . . .

Best regards,

Pravin Kumar

Betty said...

Great post! You are exactly right...values should be taught at home. Parents should be responsible for instilling these in their kids. This reminds me of a book my kids and I just read called The Thanksgiving Coat (author Elizabeth A. Hoadley). It sensitizes kids to sharing, homelessness and hunger...teaching them values. My kids had a lot of good questions at the end of the book. We had a really valuable conversation!

Rhapsody B. said...

Truth, honest, intergrity, accountability and responsibility. Teach those things and everything else will fall in place.

AS said...

What is ethics? Its some values, defined by the society as right and wrong. With time ethics change. Its a perception.
One should be true to oneself and in todays world that is the best ethic. Comparativeness of values and ethics is not possible. It depends on both the time and place.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your thought that values can’t be taught by books or adding it in curriculum. It should be started at home and from the childhood. As educated professional is involved in various scams and they are getting punished by authority, I would like to ask one question suppose someone made ethical mistake by any reason and later he realized what he did was wrong and asking to forgive mistake as good society or corporate we should give him a opportunity to follow the values or not? Or should we believe that person cant follow the right value if he made a mistake once in his life?

Vishwanath Seshadri said...

That is an interesting quetion posed by Anonymous. I would like to thank this person for triggering this discussion.

My own view is that every one of us makes mistakes (wittingly or unwittingly) and our lives are all about evolving towards perfection. Each one should be given a chance (time and again) to course correct and become better. No one can be written off as a "gone case" or as someone who will never improve. In fact, there should be active measures taken to help people improve by counselling etc.

At the same time, people who realise their mistakes and want a chance to improve should also be honest to admit guilt and accept the consequences of the same.



Nilesh Buddha said...

Good and relevant article. We all understand need for it. The question is "which method is effective scientifically?".

From the scientific-studies and many countries' experience, it is known that Effective Moral Education can be achieved through "Dilemma Discussion Method" in an open, democratic, trustable and supportive environment. There is a strong need to encourage such "Debate Festival" or "Charcha-Parva" at all levels in schools, universities, workplaces and homes/communities. Social, political, moral and contemporary issues need to be discussed thoroughly, with respect to all different opinions. The truth will come-out. And the truth will make sense. It would be realized that if one is interested in a good life (everyone is), following path of core values is a must.

It will build morally conscious society, nation and world.

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