Rayees Ahmad Kumar
It is widely accepted that a teacher’s role is to educate and facilitate learning. But the impact of our schools and educators in shaping the morals in our younger generation should never be discounted nor overlooked. The institution of ‘school’ encompasses teachers, administrators, ancillary staff, parents and students and hence the influence of school on a nation is profound. Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education”. His advice helps us to understand what a complete education should look like. Dr King also compared education without morals to a “Ship without a compass”.
The home is the first place to influence the moral behaviour of children and to instill values. Values are those forces that govern one’s behaviour and are present at the core of the personality. Morals are formed as a result of values. The school is the second important place that impacts morale. It therefore means that the family and the school must forge a partnership for the betterment of children. Education is a significant force in the inculcation of values by teaching what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. Teachers may actually be the first adults, apart from parents, with whom children spend extensive periods of time. The variations present in family structure in our society means that the teacher has to possess coping skills, empathy and compassion. Teaching is not only about knowledge transmission, but also altruistic service. It therefore follows that moral development is an important and critical dimension of education and should not be overlooked. In fact, more attention needs to be given to this element of educating our youths. Teachers must be cognizant of the fact that students are observing and are sensitive to the qualities of their teachers. It is very sad here to mention that present day teachers in valley instead of training morality among their students are themselves found involved in immoral activities and irony is that sometimes with their own students. What kind of character building will be expected from such people? Do they deserve this job and be called teachers. It is the profession of prophets. A teacher must be a role model in the society. He must be free from antisocial and inhuman characteristics. A number of times were the teachers booked from various corners of the valley after being involved in gruesome acts. Valley is the last resting place of hundreds of God fearing saints who whatever they possessed in their domicile places like property, family, culture and language sacrificed everything for the noble cause of preaching the noble teaching of Allah and his messenger (PBUH) to the locals of Kashmir. It is because of this that it is called ‘pir waer’. Today’s viral news about three teachers being involved in rape incident of a twenty years old girl not only has put an ugly stain on the working of the entire teachers guild of valley but this news was circulated among social networking sites like forest fire.
It is the teacher who needs to learn morality and build good character in himself first then only will he make nation of good values. My hope is that stakeholders in our schools and education system will appreciate moral education as a significant factor not only influencing academics, but also having far-reaching effects on our society as a whole and that steps will be taken to address this issue.
Realizing the gravity of the incident Zonal Education Officer DH Pora Kulgam immediately put all the three teachers under suspension allegedly involved in the crime. Suspension only is not the solution nor can such incidents minimised with mere suspension, but strong legislations must be made to overthrow the teacher if found guilty in such crimes. There is no dearth of dedicated, good character and hardworking teachers who work tirelessly not only to impart knowledge among students but also build good character and morality among their students. It is time that teachers recognise that it is not enough to merely say “do what I say” but that the teacher is a major example and so it must be ‘do as I do’. Consequently, teachers must take their position as role model very seriously. Studies show that there is a link between the moral behaviour of the teacher and the moral development of students. So it is the teacher who needs to learn morality and build good character in himself first then only will he make nation of good values. My hope is that stakeholders in our schools and education system will appreciate moral education as a significant factor not only influencing academics, but also having far-reaching effects on our society as a whole and that steps will be taken to address this issue.
(Author teaches at Govt BHS Anderwan Ganderbal and writes regularly for “ Kashmir Horizon”. Views are his own) [email protected]