Moral Education Is High Priority: Pallam Raju
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Moral Education Is High Priority: Pallam Raju

Wednesday, 31 October 2012, 11:29 Hrs   |    3 Comments
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New Delhi: Reviving moral education is high on the list of priorities of new Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju, who took charge on Wednesday.

The minister took charge after a traditional puja ceremony, worshiping Tirupati Balaji, believed to be an incarnation of Hindu god Vishnu.

Raju said "heritage" was India's strength, and emphasised reinstating the "traditional value system" in the present generation.

"Our heritage is our strength. It is important that the value system in our heritage be revived and reintroduced to this generation, so it becomes an inherent part of the education system," Raju told reporters soon after he took charge.

The minister said the role of parents and the "guru" or teacher in a child's education is significant, and the traditional importance accorded to them has eroded. "We need to revive that," he said.

Raju said technology served as a distraction for students, but it could be used to nurture values in children.  "We don't want our kids to get disillusioned with the system. India is one of the most vibrant democracies," he said.

Asked if his comments implied revision in syllabi, the minister said: "Within the existing methodology and given a time frame, we will do whatever can be done."

Raju's father and former union minister M.S. Sanjeevi Rao was also present as he took charge of the ministry.

Raju said he would focus on consolidating the work done by his predecessor Kapil Sibal, and focus on improving the quality of education, to make it more industry- oriented.

"A recent survey found that only 17 percent of engineering graduates in India are employable; 30 percent are trainable. According to the report, there are 53 percent of graduates who cannot be employed at all. That is a great concern," the minister said, adding that there was need to strengthen industry-academic linkage.

Talking about pending education bills, Raju said he expected to get some of them passed during the coming winter session, after taking all parties on board.

Source: IANS
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Reader's comments(3)
1: Here are Gandhian views on Education which are even relevant today.

“The few articles that Gandhi has written in the simplest manner, and the views he expressed on education as a common man are of utmost importance. They provide us with a guideline to proceed towards value education. Not only this, if we apply them even in the modern perspective, they can definitely give a new dimension to our education system.
Gandhi once said: "Education means all-round drawing out of the best in child and man—body, mind, and spirit." As such, education becomes the basis of personality development in all dimensions—moral, mental, and emotional. Therefore we can say that in the long run education forms the foundations on which the castles of peace and prosperity can be built. Since ancient times, it is said "Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye," which means that with education we finally attain salvation. This small Sanskrit phrase essentially contains the thought and essence of Value Education that is relevant in all perspectives. This very concept, when applied to the simple but refined approach of Mahatma Gandhi, can provide us with a new dimension of educational development. As such, while analysing the views of Mahatma Gandhi, we can examine his views under two main heads: morality and ethics.
Moral and ethical knowledge is the first point on which Mahatma Gandhi's concept of value education is based. Any education system that lacks these two cannot be termed as good. The reason behind such a thought is that, without morality and without ethics, no student, in a real sense, can be considered to be healthy in mental and physical terms because, for it, self-control and good character are essential. A person who is not a moralist and who does not differentiate between right and wrong cannot rise to the essential level of a true student. The the attainment of spiritual growth that has been described by Mahatma Gandhi as an essential part of education can be gained only through morality and ethics. Seeing it through another viewpoint also proves the same thing, because when we consider education as a means of attaining salvation and also as a support on the pathway to liberation, we cannot differentiate it from spiritualism.
Mahatma Gandhi laid down some rules for students so as to ensure that morality and righteousness always be considered as an essential part of education so that every student shall gain in terms of knowledge and spirituality. He said that, on the one hand, where students should gain education under the strict regimen of high morals, self-control, and right thinking; on the other, they should also be expected to provide service to the society in general. This includes their respect towards parents, teachers and elders, love for children, following of social traditions and constant awareness towards their duties and responsibilities.
In order to strengthen morality and ethics in students, Mahatma Gandhi advocated the introduction of religious education. This kind of education brings the values of forbearance, tolerance, and reverence in one's character. And, in turn, these values are an indivisible part of ethics. Explaining the importance and need of religious education, Gandhi writes in Young India of 6 December 1923: "A curriculum of religious instructions should include a study of the tenets of faiths other than one's own. For this purpose the students should be trained to cultivate the habit of understanding and appreciating the doctrine of various great religions of the world in a spirit of reverence and broad¬minded tolerance."
Mahatma Gandhi calls upon all teachers to impart proper education of morality and ethics to students both at the school and at the college levels. In this regard while suggesting some guidelines for teachers, he says that it is the duty of teachers to develop high morals and strong character in their students. If teachers fail to do so, it means that they depart from their social and national responsibilities and, as such, they are also insincere towards their noble profession. He said that a teacher should lay an example to be followed before society and students. This can only be done when he himself leads his life with high standards of morality and strong character. An ideal teacher should be free from any addiction. He needs to be polite and should set an example of simple living and high thinking. He should also remember that wasting time is a sin; therefore, he should be aware of his duties towards students and society. Moreover, he should have a good reputation in society. Therefore it is the foremost duty of students, as well as of teachers, to make certain that moral and ethical knowledge continues to be an integral part of the educational process. By doing so, they can contribute to the development of value education.
Another important aspect of Mahatma Gandhi's value education is basic or technical education. The word buniyadi (or basic), which Mahatma Gandhi used in the third and the fourth decades of the twentieth century, meant knowledge or education that could help rural people in the promotion of village handicrafts or to establish cottage industries. The ultimate purpose behind his attempt was to make young men and women self-reliant in the economic field. Even in the modern perspective, his idea of buniyadi or basic education is applicable and it does not clash with the concept of today's job-oriented or technical education.
In fact, Mahatma Gandhi wanted the students to prepare themselves for technical knowledge right from the days of their primary level of education. In this regard, his logic is not only important but adaptable; it can prove to be a milestone in the direction of value education.
It is not that Mahatma Gandhi did not talk of all-round or complete education on different occasions. He definitely spoke of imparting education based on curriculum; he, more or less wrote about graduate and postgraduate levels of education. Not only this, as I have just discussed, he laid emphasis on moral and ethical knowledge, which is helpful for character building and for the physical and mental development of a student from the very beginning of his education. He clearly believed that without a healthy body; the mind could not be developed fully.
It is but obvious that when a child starts his formal education, he enters at the primary level and, step by step, at an age of twenty or twenty-two, he graduates from university. After so many years, if he does not find a goal or lacks a direction to begin his career, then what could be the use of such an education? What is the use of the degree that he has in his hand? After obtaining a degree, students should have a clear direction for their future; they should have no doubts towards their future goal and should be full of self confidence. Side by side, they should be self-dependent and capable of tackling unavoidable day-to-day problems. They must not be worried about a suitable job.
But, in reality, these days we see that our younger generation is directionless. Our youths are diverted and a feeling of helplessness and dejection is prevailing on them. According to a survey, there are millions of men and women who, even after completing their studies at graduation, post graduation, and doctorate levels, fail to seek an employment of their choice. Is it not a failure of our social and educational system? Even after spending the golden years of one's life in attaining higher education, our youths are not self-dependent. As such, how would they be able to get rid of their day-to-day problems and how would they contribute to the society and the nation? Therefore it is a challenge not only before the youths of this country but also before the educationists, scholars, and those in the government to solve this problem.
To tackle this problem, Mahatma Gandhi's views can be of great help. In this reference, he has said that there is a need of result-oriented education. He said that every child has some special qualities that can also be termed as inherited traits of personality; so at the primary level, a student's quality and worth should be identified by his teacher. A student should gain education according to a curriculum and moral guidance and as such also improve his physical strength. But the teacher should watch and identify his quality that could be of help in his later life.
For that purpose, it is necessary that after completing studies up to a certain level, he must, in addition to the three kinds of education—general (according to syllabi), moral, and physical—be provided facilities to gain technical knowledge in accordance with the special trait that has already been identified in his personality by his teacher. Since by nature he has interest in that knowledge, he will easily gain it; he will become adept in that. When he completes his study up to graduate level and with this extra knowledge comes out of a college or university, he would have a direction. As such, even if he does not get a private or government job, he would manage to get through some sort of self-employment on the basis of his technical knowledge. At least, then, his education would be considered as result-oriented (Source: Gandhian Institute Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal & Gandhi Research Foundation).

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
Posted by:Anumakonda - 03 Nov, 2012
2: EDUCATION-Change in Value System:
There is a great ferment in the country today. This is said to be due to the generation gap. This gap could be stated to be one of values. The values of older generation, who worked and fought for Indian Independence, were different from those who were born after independence and who as a result of developments since independence have developed their appreciation and judgment of things. Further, they have their own dreams and images of India of future. There are in every age, new errors to be rectified and new prejudices to be opposed. It is the task of the present generation, particularly in view of the fact that they are amongst those privileged few who had the benefit of education. Therefore, the question before Educated youth is” how t do they go about accomplishing what they wish to do?”

Change in the value system is one important factor today, leading to widespread discontent and frustration. It can be traced to several underlying causes such as social, political,economic and psychological factors. Youth is impatient, restless and disinterested in academics and eager for radical changes in the social and political order prevailing in the country.

Community Service - Part of Curriculum:

Students today are more alive and more articulate about contemporary issues than their elders. The values and mores of their elders have no relevance for them leading to an alienation of the establishment. If however, the volatile and dynamic element of the student community can be galvanized, channelized and directed to face the contemporary challenges and to constructive and productive purposes, instead of being exploited by political parties in the furtherance of their vested interests, education becomes meaningful. It would be a useful measure to include community service in the curriculum of every course in the University and to ensure that every student who graduates, leaves with a sense of self-reliance, competence, confidence and commitment or a feeling of social responsibility.

Manpower – an asset:
The incidence of unemployment among educated persons is also increasing over the last few years. Where to accommodate this influx of educated persons that stream out of Universities and Colleges all over the country is the problem facing us. If properly harnessed however, the manpower should prove to be an asset and not a liability.
Manpower is not only the most important resource for development but it is the objective of all development. The relationship between human resource and the behavior of economics can be moulded by social system and also by the pattern of education.

As an ancient saying goes: when planning for a year, sow corn; when planning for a decade, plant trees, when planning for life, then educate man”.
Work Experience – Part of Education:
If cognitive learning,i.e. intellectual mastery of information, method and theory, is tied to personal development, both learning and development would occur. An approach, where students spend more time either in farms or factories; professional or business organizations providing work experience, would have a considerable impact on the student to develop skills in the concreteness of actual situations rather than in the abstractness of a textbook. In this way, they can relate theory to skills and expertise and not merely accumulate inert data. It will also give them much more informed base on which to make their own occupational choice after graduation. It would be a good idea therefore to base all education on a simple conviction that learning is likely to be more effective if it grows out of that interests and learner rather than what interests the teacher. The emphasis should be shifted from teaching to learning where students become centres of industry and teachers become learners along with students.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
Posted by:Anumakonda - 03 Nov, 2012
3: My hearty congratulations M.M. Pallam Raju Garu on your assumption of office as Union Minister for Human Resources Development. You richly deserve this position for your vast experience as Member of Parliament, then as Minister of State and your excellent Engineering background from US and Norway..

Here are a few Issues for your consideration:

You rightly stressed the need for Moral Education . In our School days there used to be periods for Moral Education, Crafts, Scouts and Games. They are almost vanished,thanks to the proliferation of Corporate Schools in Urban Areas. There is the need to revive them.

The situation of Engineering Graduates on Employability is alarming:

“A PurpleLeap (an entry-level talent management company) Industry Readiness Index survey reveals that only one out of 10 students graduating from Tier 2, 3 and 4 engineering colleges is readily employable, implying that very few graduates with engineering degrees actually gain skills for employment.

These findings become even more alarming, given that only students who have done well academically, with over 60 per cent marks, were included in the survey.

Clearly, even those academically successful are underprepared for employment.

Assessing 34,000 final year engineering students with over 60 per cent marks across 198 colleges through the IRIX survey, PurpleLeap found that only 12 per cent of the students are employment ready. The survey also revealed that 52 per cent are trainable for employment, and that 36 per cent are non-trainable.

While there is some room for optimism knowing that over half can become employable with additional training, usually ranging from three to four months, the biggest source of concern is that such a large percent cannot be trained.

Contrary to popular belief that communication is the biggest barrier to employability, PurpleLeap found that analytical ability (a sub-set of generic ability, which measures logical and analytical reasoning) is the biggest gap area. This lack of adequate problem-solving skills is one of the biggest gaps leading students to settle for ‘non-technical’ roles after an engineering education.”

At present the Project work for Engineering Graduate Students is about 3 Months. In Three months what can Engineering student learn practically. The Project work should be for 6 months as was the case in the earlier 5 year B.E Course.

In Germany in the Post Graduate Course (M.Sc) the student has to work for a semester in an industry for PRACTICUM followed by THESIS for another SEMESTER in an Industry. The Industry pays to the Student during the above period. Thus there is practical and industrial experience for the Student(Incidentally my Children did their M.Sc in Germany and as I such I know the value)..

There is mushroom growth of Engineering Colleges in the country especially in Andhra Pradesh with over 700. There are colleges which do not have even minimum infrastructure facilities lacking qualified staff. Some College Principals are not even Doctorate Degree Holders leave away the Staff.

The curriculum of Engineering and Science Education need to be drastically changed bringing in more relevance to the changing needs of society. Engineering education - Learn more, Teach more and Do more.

Many engineering educators see service-learning as the solution to several prevalent problems in engineering education today. In the past, engineering curriculum has fluctuated between emphasizing engineering science to focusing more on practical aspects of engineering. Today, many engineering educators are concerned their students do not receive enough practical knowledge of engineering and its context. Some speculate that adding context to engineering help to motivate engineering students’ studies and thus improve retention and diversity in engineering schools. Others feel that the teaching styles do not match the learning styles of engineering students.
Many engineering faculty members believe the educational solution lies in taking a more constructivist approach, where students construct knowledge and connections between nodes of knowledge as opposed to passively absorbing knowledge. Educators see service-learning as a way to both implement a constructivism in engineering education as well as match the teaching styles to the learning styles of typical engineering students. As a result, many engineering schools have begun to integrate service-learning into their curricula. This needs to be accelerated and extended in all Engineering Colleges.

I am sure you will revamp the Education system in the country with innovative and far reaching reforms.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Posted by:Anumakonda - 01 Nov, 2012