Vande Mataram

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Moral Education - More pressure on Students?

Everyone is lamenting about lack of moral education in schools and lack of care by parents when news broke out that a teenager school student stabbed his teacher to death, because she complained about his poor performance to his parents. Moral Instruction was included in the timetable when I was in school, but our teachers proudly said that moral stories won't fetch marks in exams and concentrated on Mathematics and Science during those hours.  I was an average student in those subjects, so hated the pressure put by the teachers who wanted me to understand what they taught instead of teaching me in a way I understood. (Thank fully one of our family friends was a maths teacher and he taught me in private in a way I understood and I got decent marks in mathematics.) Science? If everybody becomes a scientist who will manage the world? So, I studied commerce and management. 

Coming back to the teacher stabbing crime, that was definitely due to of  lack of moral education. What moral education does? Does it makes one a super human and hence omnipotent? Nope. It makes everyone realize that they are not super humans and hence not omnipotent, so it is okay to have a lag in something. The Macaulay system of qualification designed to churn out qualified clerks to assist British administration was accepted by the Free Indian Government as an eduction system. Every child was asked to excel in two or three languages, along with Mathematics, Science, History (predominantly European) and Geography. If I'm an average student, pressure is put on me to score high marks in all subjects so that I stay afloat in competition, if not ahead of it.

My grandpa did not qualify with 'high' marks in school but yet he is respected in my home town. He stood on strong moral grounds. When faced with a problem he would simply say, "I trust in my God and he is testing me with this. Can lamenting reduce the trouble? No. He will find a way out for me if I can't. Let me try my best to solve this problem". This is the gift moral education gives a human being. Stay calm when you face problems. Think a way out of it. Leave the rest to God. He didn't attend special moral sessions by any spiritual leader. This teaching was part of life. Taught by parents to children throughout every hereditary.

Now we have a lot of organizations offering moral education. I was speaking with one of the Gurus in our locality of such a Child development program from one famous spiritual organizations. She gave a lecture on discipline, on orderliness and then showed me a checklist they give to their students. My first reaction was "Ah @#$%. Another checklist!!" Then when I took a look at it, I realized it was wonderful. It just had some key daily activities like:
  • Rise with the Sun.
  • Say your prayers.
  • Study for a while.
  • Help parents in household chores.
  • Get ready for your school.
  • Be on time to school.
  • Help one fellow human daily.
  • Don't waste food. 
  • If in excess, share it.
The list went on, but was worth. I asked her whether the students follow all the items in the checklist. She said the students will bring their check list to her every Sunday afternoon (the moral lessons class happens then) and she will verify it. 

What if someone didn't comply with all the items?, I asked.

He/She will lose marks, she replied.

Where? In School? (impossible!)

"No. No. We have our own grading and valuing system and exams. We teach Indian culture and train students in our tradition and conduct exams on those subjects. They have to score good marks in that theory part also along with the practicals (which is following the checklist)", said the proud Guru. 

Hell with your system... was my reaction.

If the moral education puts more pressure on students to run faster in a parallel race, what is the point of claiming it to be different one than the clerk churning school system? 

When I spoke with one of the kids there he said he is attending a French class, Sanskrit class, Hindi class and this moral lessons session on Saturdays and Sundays. On weekdays he goes to private tuition for his school subjects. 

When does he play? 

During the games hour in school. 

He is studying for the moral school exams, French exams, Hindi exams, Sanskrit exams and obviously for school exams. When spoke with him in Hindi he could not respond. He said spoken Hindi was not taught to him. Same story with Sanskrit. When I tried a couple of sentences in broken French he was exclaiming that I know all these languages and wanted to speak like me. What is the point of having these language classes when one cannot converse in those languages?

Who will tell this kid to stop comparing himself with others and do what he best does? The moral sessions meant for bring out the best in the kids have taken another form of race pressurizing these kids to run faster on the cultural and moral grounds. God save our nation by saving the kids from running races for satisfying their parents' ego.

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