This refers to the article “Unlearning undemocratic values” (Dec.26). To envisage a change in constructive thinking requires the will of society. Gone are the days when parents could easily and strongly influence their children on moral values. The phenomenal impact of technology has influenced and even corrupted culture.
Socially divided campuses of higher education often serve as the nurseries of political parties, either in pulling the masses or garnering youth support. There is need for a strong political will to further educational reforms and backed by sensitisation programmes across all levels of education.
Lakshmi Swathi Gandham,
Higher education is not the right time to mould minds and hearts and sensitise them to socio-economic diversities. Civic education has to be imparted in the formative years of student life, between the ages of 10 and 15. During these critical years of personal growth, young impressionable minds are shaped and influenced by attitudes, prejudices and values of family and society. Once biases and stereotypical notions about other cultures, castes and religions get entrenched, later attempts to erase false perceptions will not succeed to the desired level. The middle classes have by and large deserted the government schools which now cater to the poorer sections of society. Revitalising government schools to attract students from all segments is the only way to ensure a harmonious integration of society.
Effective laws and policies are imperative for any civilised society. However, they alone cannot make society civilised. The writer, Sukhadeo Thorat, is right when he says “public policy can do little to influence informal learning...”. Laws and policies are capable of addressing the ends while the roots of the problem lie in the principles that we imbibe through society. These can be tackled only by ensuring value-based education at all levels.
When we were in primary school, a common uniform made us look like one with teachers telling us that “All are equal in the eyes of god.” In high school, we were taught about liberty, equality, and fraternity. We carried these ideals to university, later realising that reality is different. In the process of education, we have lost the purpose of education. Our higher educational institutions may be churning out engineers, scientists, bureaucrats, but have certainly failed to produce good citizens.
Keywords: higher education