Thursday, April 23, 2009

Teaching-Democracy-Secularism and We the People

This is very relevant today to talk about the way teaching is designed in schools, which is foundation of a nation. In India we have Hindu Schools, Muslim Schools, Christian Schools so on and so forth but constitutional mandate makes us secular! Do we relate ourselves with religious study? Religion has guided human beings for centuries and it preceded Rule of Law. Is to correct to advocate religious study? Is to puerile to counter secularism with religious study? Isn't rational, reason  religion part of the bag conscience ?

To me religion is Dharma and Dharma only ...Dharma is understanding / respecting all life and non life forms. Learning is incomplete without studying Dharma in this sense religion is the bedrock of a civilized society. Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission, in Eternal Values for a Changing Society: Education for Human Excellence, Vol. 3, has identified objectives, which should be achieved by education. If we focus on these objectives we may find what and how of education.

Some of the core points identified in the book are:

1. The training of our children to an appreciation of our nation’s cultural heritage and to equip them with the desire and the capacity to enhance the same and leave to posterity a richer legacy.

2. The training of our children in talents and capacities by which they become productive units of society and the source of its economic strength.

3. The equipment of our children with the qualities of courage and vision to protect our newly won national freedom, to preserve its democratic structure, function and liberties, and to carry the same to ever-wider fields and ever-higher levels.

4. The training of our children in virtues and graces that will make them emotionally stable individuals and enable them to live in peace, harmony and cooperation with their fellow citizens.

5. The training of our children in virtues and graces that will make them international in their outlook and sympathies, and enable them to live in peace, harmony and cooperation with the emerging world community.

6. The training of our children to an awareness of the spiritual and trans-social dimension of the human personality and to a converging life endeavour in the realization of this fact in and through life and action.

Why I am so concerned about it now? when I studied I never knew in my childhood what is secularism all about but I knew love, I knew religious mandates...not to lie, not to hate, fear god (value not to do wrong)and so on. Today when my child is learning I notice impact of surrounding..thus my opinion.

If we realize through educational system these values in our children, I think we may die in safe hands. The debate on education, religion and secularism shall go on but we need to harmonise our system for a better future.

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