Role of teachers and educational institutions in value based higher education
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Purusharta, Volume 5, Number 1, p.97-109 (2012)
Greed is believed to be at the root of the current crisis. Modern education system's failure to impart ethical values is partly to blame. Spiritual principles of selfless service hold the promise of a solution. Teachers can play a crucial role. They have an opportunity to help shape the character of students. This paper examines the teaching - learning process from Indian spiritual perspectives, to try and find some potential solutions for the current moral crisis. We discuss teacher-student relationship in an institutional setting with the case study of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, a university founded and guided by the great spiritual and humanitarian leader Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. Amrita follows practices inspired by the exalted values of the rich Indian spiritual tradition like joint prayer by the teachers and students before starting the classes, teaching lofty human values through formal courses, inculcating values like service to the mother land, mankind and nature, with love, trust, tolerance and humility. We report on the methodologies adopted and the results achieved so far. We also cite other practices like "Stilling the Mind" taught by Prof. S K Chakraborty at IIM Calcutta and offer the authors' experience in following these practices. According to Mata Amritanandamayi, the Chancellor of Amrita University, the solution lies only in two words: "Love and Serve". In her message on the World Peace Day (September 21, 2004), she said, "Amma has a desire that everyone in the world should be able to sleep without fear, at least for one night. Everyone should be able to eat to his fill, at least for one day. There should be at least one day when hospitals see no one admitted due to violence. By doing selfless service for at least one day, everyone should help the poor and needy. It is Amma's prayer that at least this small dream be realized." We believe that such teachings from spiritual leaders have a lot to offer the modern world. Teachers can play a significant role by embracing these values. Finally, we look at global and national norms of teaching excellence, and relate them with the above thoughts.
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