While conversations on education have included new-age pedagogies and integration of technology, the pandemic brought forth another aspect critical to student development and growth: Value-based education. It made us realise the need to enable students to navigate challenges, cope with rejections, move forward in the face of adversity, care for their communities and the planet. The National Education Policy (NEP) also emphasises the need to integrate value-based education into a student-centric curriculum.
Prepare the youth
In a complex and constantly evolving world, values such as resilience, integrity, and humility are now more important in professionals and leaders across organisations. The aim of education must be more than just preparing the youth for the work ecosystem. It needs to equip them with the values to become responsible, compassionate citizens. We must enable students to want to work towards and contribute to a sustainable community, environment and planet. Portugal, for example, has a national strategy for citizenship education to put in place from lower secondary classes a set of activities that develop knowledge, values and attitude around good citizenship.
Scientific research has proven that value-based education creates a conducive environment that enhances academic learning and achievement, while developing social skills and relationship-building capabilities. Children who adopt values at an early age are more confident, competent and intelligent along with being effective learners and good citizens.
However, integrating values in the curriculum must not be restricted to specific classes. Teaching of values should form the backdrop of all academic and non-academic pursuits. Integrating learning modules that derive from real-life situations are important to instill values such as loyalty, kindness, integrity, compassion and selflessness in students. When they are able to link their learning experiences to the real-world, they get clearer sense of purpose and the teachings remain with them.
Whether one is teaching Maths, Science, or History, values can be inculcated while talking about themes within each subject. History can help students learn about equality, liberty, patriotism, secularism. The sciences can be a medium to instill compassion towards nature and a scientific temper. Geography, for instance, can teach how to respect other cultures and ethnicities.
Developing an education system with values at the core will create students who are good global citizens., who are compassionate and caring, who work collaboratively to solve problems and have the resilience to face any uncertainties life may bring.
The writer is Pro-Vice Chairperson of Delhi Public School, Sector-45, Gurugram, and DPS International, Gurugram