Value Education: Some priority areas

Living as we do in a country that is a mosaic of contradictions (modem and backward, very rich and very poor, democratic and feudal, socialist in slogans and capitalist in practice, steeped in religious traditions and notorious for corruption...) we need to challenge and revamp our values. What do we believe in? What values do we live by? What are our priorities? What should be our priorities?

Some areas requiring urgent attention are indicated below:

  1. Education for Peace
    • Communal harmony
    • Tolerance
    • National Integration
  2. Respect for life
  • Fundamental sacredness of life
  • Preventing loss of life.
  1. Justice
    • Direct involvement in the cause of justice
    • Becoming agents of social change
    • The debt owed by the educated to the majority (who are poor), on whose work our opportunities depend.
  1. Issues of Women
    • Change of attitudes towards women
    • Restoring their rightful place in society
  1. Job-Oriented Education
    • Education for self-employment
    • Employment that will generate jobs for others
  1. Faith in God
    • Strengthening the spirit of man
    • Counteracting materialism and consumerism
  1. Self-respect
    • Respect for the given work
    • Cleanliness of our person and surroundings
    • Taking pride in work well done
  1. Initiative and Creativity
    • Not resignation, slavishness and imitation
  1. Democracy
    • Equality of persons before the law
    • Involvement and direct action to get our rights
    • Holding the government accountable
  1. Ecology
    • Responsibility for our land, water, trees…
    • The danger of destroying ourselves
    • The hazards of industrial pollution
    • The ethics of business
  1. The Meaning of  "Success"
    • Is it merely scoring high marks?
    • Is it getting a good job, making money, getting ahead at all costs?
  1. Openness
    • Seeing people of other "groups" as persons like ourselves
  1. Noble Truths of all Religions
    • Being exposed to the teachings and great achievements of the various religions.
    • This diminishes prejudice and promotes respect.

These are some of the priority areas that should be given urgent attention in our value education programmes in the light of the situation of our country today, and the needs of the times.

Values have three anchor bases: First, they are anchored in the 'head'. I perceive, I see reasons why something is valuable, and is so intellectually convinced about the worth I prize so highly. Values have also an anchor base in the 'heart'. Not only the language of the head, but the language of the heart also tells me that something is worthwhile. Not only do I see it as worthwhile but I also feel it as such. When the mind and heart are involved, the whole person is involved, leading to the third anchor base, namely the 'hand' or in other words, values lead to decisions and actions.