Education & Loss of Values: Ideals & Reality
Category : Education
Author : Ayesha Syed

Freedom to think and do, has been the biggest casualty of our education system today. Ideally claimed as the cornerstone of education but it remains stereotyped sloganeering only. As a result, the educated products are the best executors and planners of their system but have no capacity to create an alternative system.

Literally, education includes activities that impart knowledge or skills through learning and instructions. It is a gradual process mainly when seen from an institutional perspective. However, it is naïve to confine education to the institutional system alone. The social and natural environment, observation and freedom of thinking and drawing conclusions are very important tools of education that can operate and function more fruitfully in institutions. Still, for them to flourish and become exercisable, institutes are not an absolute necessity. Even in informal settings education can be imparted and skills can be developed.

Since our system gives recognition to institution-based education only, it is necessary to examine the very system both in terms of the objective and achievements. This exercise leads us to the topic of ideals and the reality of our education system.

Ideally, the education system is meant to create human resources catering to the needs of the state of which we are citizens. This makes the creation of good citizens one objective of the education system. The idea of a good citizen entails loyalty and care for the state and its resources, love for the people and society and knowledge and skills to make the country strong and safe and thereby add to its dignity among nations. In this perspective, along with knowledge and skills development, inculcation of values becomes an integral part of an educational system. Interestingly, the basic source of values is either a religion or the tradition of a culture. In today’s world, however, religion is considered outdated as a source of values and the culture has undergone a big change at the hands of evolutionary forces. Profession is seen as the only source of values. The professional values serve the needs of the profession and thus strengthen the system of which these professions are a part. The overall result is that the values which aim at the individual’s interest survive and flourish benefitting only the system and those who it. Values that promote sacrifice for others, commitment to the principles, care and love for humans. Nature and natural environment, etc. are side-lined because such values are apparently not beneficial to the individual or the system. This situation manifests most in the growth and development of Science and Technology, the healthcare system, pharmaceutical research, etc. The education institutes have gradually turned into manpower production centres for the sponsors. Individual talents do find opportunities to flourish but only in the domains serving the interest of the system or the sponsors

Freedom to think and do, has been the biggest casualty of our education system today. Ideally claimed as the cornerstone of education but it remains stereotyped sloganeering only. As a result, the educated products are the best executors and planners of their system but have no capacity to create an alternative system.

This is one plane that shows that reality has become very different from the ideal in our education system. Interestingly, there is another plane that shows deterioration in the operational values in the educational institution. In this plane, the individual’s degenerative and decadent behaviour impacts his or her educational activities. Improper teaching, not teaching at all, different sorts of biases, dishonesty, carelessness and unpreparedness while teaching and discouraging students’ ability to raise questions and think are so common in our system that it has become difficult to visualise the ideals that were set in the beginning.

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