“In order to lead a meaningful life, you need to cherish others, pay attention to human values and try to cultivate inner peace.”― Dalai Lama
Human values are the features that guide people to take into account the human element when one interacts with other human. They have many positive characters that create bonds of humanity between people and thus have value for all human beings. They are strong positive feelings for the human essence of the other. These human values have the effect of bonding, comforting, reassuring and procuring serenity. Human values are the basis for any practical life within society. They build space for a drive, a movement towards one another, which leads to peace. In simple term, human values are described as universal and are shared by all human beings, whatever their religion, their nationality, their culture, and their personal history. By nature, they persuade consideration for others. Common human values are: Brotherhood, friendship, empathy, compassion, love, openness, listening, welcoming, acceptance, recognition, appreciation, honesty, fairness, loyalty, sharing, and solidarity, civility, respect, and consideration. Values are regarded enviable, imperative and are apprehended with high esteem by a particular society in which a person lives. Values give meaning and strength to an individual’s character by occupying a central place in his/her life. They reflect one’s personal attitude and judgments, decisions and choices, behaviour and relationships, dreams and vision. These values influence our thoughts, feelings & actions and guide us to do the right things. Values are the guiding principles of life that contribute to the all round development of an individual. They give a direction to life and thus bring joy, satisfaction and peace. Values add quality to life. Thus, one might say that any human activity, thought or idea, feeling, sentiment or emotion, which promotes self development of an individual, constitutes a value.
Role of educational institutions in inculcating values: Value education is important to help everyone in improving the value system that he/she holds and puts it to use. Once, one has understood his/ her values in life he/she can examine and control the various choices he/she makes in his/ her life. In school, children are affiliates of a small society that exerts a great influence on their moral development. Teachers serve as role model to students in school. They play a major role in inculcating their ethical behaviour. In ancient India, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Epics manifested and upheld the values of Indian society. More importance was given to morality, honesty, duty, truth, friendship, brotherhood, etc. They were the themes of Indian culture and society. Imparting value education and reforming the society were the only aims and objectives of the teachers of ancient age. But in the present scenario, due to manifold changes in various aspects of our civilization such as population explosion, advancement in science and technology, knowledge expansion, rapid industrialization, urbanization, mobilization, IT revolution, liberalization, privatization & globalization as well as the influence of western culture, present society has become highly dynamic. Modernization process is accompanied with multifold problems, anxieties and worries to human life, endangering its original simple nature. Growing global poverty, pollution, hunger, disease, unemployment, unsociability, caste system, child labour, gender inequality, ill-treatment of women, violence, disability, exploitation of natural resources and many such evils have caused value- crisis on the globe, adversely affecting the core human values such as honesty, sincerity, morality and humanity and, as such, there is a great transition in human society.
To overcome the problems of the present era, inculcation of values among individuals and promotion of values in educational system, as well as society, is highly essential. The prime concern of education is to evolve the good, the true and the divine in man so as to establish a moral life in the world. It should essentially make a man pious, perfect and truthful. The welfare of humanity lies neither in scientific or technological advancements nor in acquisition of material comforts. The main function of education is to enrich the character. What we need today more than anything else is moral leadership founded on courage, intellectual integrity and a sense of values. Since education is a powerful instrument of social change and human progress, it is also a powerful tool to cultivate values in an individual. Therefore all the educational institutes have greater responsibility to impart learning and cultivation of values through education.
(The author is Incharge Abhedananda Home, Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-abled Children, Solina, Srinagar,Kashmir. Views are his own )