Value-Based Education vs Academic Excellence
One day three scholars and their friend were walking through the forest when they found a dead lion on the way. It was a fresh corpse and the scholars said they could revive the lion with the knowledge and skill they had learnt. The fourth friend, who wasn’t a scholar, said reviving the lion wasn’t a good idea. It would kill them. Nevertheless, the three scholars went ahead while the fourth man climbed up a tree to save himself. As expected the lion regained his life and killed all the foolish scholars.
The story bears relevance because we’ve turned into scholars with no common sense and unfortunately, we impart the same education to our children. So we need to rise and recall that “education” is a revelation and realization of the truth that the big book of life tries to teach us. It’s a journey of transformation that makes better than the brute in terms of knowledge, purity, love, happiness, peace, bliss and power. It balances knowledge and wisdom. Without wisdom, knowledge will lead us to the fate the scholars met.
How does one then learn wisdom?
I believe value-based education is the key to knowledge, happiness and wisdom because it shows us what is relevant to life helps one explore oneself. It begins at home determines the personality.
Bertrand Russell in one of his essays “Knowledge and Wisdom” says the purpose of education should not be only making students acquire knowledge but should also help them to become more insightful. We need to understand that knowledge is not power. It’s in fact a burden if unutilized. It is like eating. How much you eat does not matter; what matters is how much you digest. Knowledge is only potential power; wisdom is real power. Education has always had two objectives: on the one hand to give skill, and on the other, to impart wisdom.
Although scientific skill is necessary, it is by no means sufficient. A dictatorship of men of science would very soon become horrible; skill without wisdom will be purely destructive. For this reason it is of great importance that those who receive a scientific education should not be merely scientific but should be insightful with wisdom. If we wish to secure adequate prosperity for the whole human race, science will tell you what we must do. But it will not tell us whether one of these ends is more desirable than another.
Nor will it give us that instinctive understanding of human beings. It cannot teach us patience, sympathy and a sense of human dignity. These things in so far as they can be taught in formal education are most likely to emerge from the learning of history and great literature.
Today, education has become so suppressive. The whole education system as it is right now could in many ways be totally destructive to human beings. Why dozens of children commit suicide? Because of their failure to get good grades? It is simply because of the way education is delivered. Some teachers have strong judgmental attitude and they discriminate against students on the ground of grades.
Similarly, parents’ continued pressure on their children to perform “better than others” constantly puts extra pressure on young minds, resulting in depression and low self-esteem. The most important thing to understand in this context is every child is special. It is the teachers’ duty to explore students’ subject of interest and encourage them to do best in that particular field. Parents then should work to brush up their children’s talent without exerting pressure on them.
We need to strive to make education life-relevant. According to Steven Muller, president, Johns Hopkins University, universities are turning out highly skilled barbarians because we don’t provide a framework of values to young people, who more and more are searching for it.
In a nutshell, educated persons are those who remain wise and courageous under all circumstances. If they choose between wisdom over foolishness, good over bad, virtue over vulgarity—regardless of the academic degrees they have—then they are educated. Value-based education influences the heart and intellectual education influences head. In fact, education that does not train the heart can be dangerous.
If we want to build character in our offices, home and society, we must have qualities like character, commitment, conviction, courtesy, courage, and most importantly positive attitude, because a person who is morally educated will be a lot better equipped to move up in life than a morally bankrupt person with an excellent qualification.