Goa Education Development Corporation chairman Shripad Patnekar has announced the GEDC would introduce yoga training and value education in at least 20 primary schools from the 2016-17 academic year. The yoga syllabus would follow Patanjali Yogpeeth’s. The idea of moral and value education is not new in the country as several education commissions recommended it. Several educational institutions teach value education in their own way but not as a subject. Given the fact a moral decay has set in our society there is need of value education. Value-based education should impart teaching on integrity, character, spirituality and other issues and it could be used to build qualities of humility and honesty in a person. Pupils could be taught to become better citizens and make their life better and work hard to make others happy.
Value education can be used to give right direction to the lives of the future generations of Goans and prevent them from going astray. Value education should start right from home; societal ethics and values need to be imbibed by the young first from the parents before the children are sent to school. Since the values inculcated among young generations would remain with them permanently it should be the motto of the parents as well as teachers to inculcate moral values among the young at the primary level and the process should continue till they reach high school. Since most of the teaching is done by the teachers they have to play a major and a decisive role in giving this lesson by precept as well as by example so as to mould and develop the child’s personality as a good human being. The children should be taught lessons in universal brotherhood, respect for all religions and a sense of pride in being a good citizen of India.
The yoga programme has been sought to be implemented by the GEDC in collaboration with the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs. Since it has been announced that schools with high enrolment would be selected for implementation of the programme, it remains to be seen what criteria would be adopted in selection of schools as there would be several minority community-run schools that might qualify for the programme. Whether their managements would easily accept the GEDC programme would only be known in the days ahead. Given the fact that there were just over two months for the new academic year to begin the GEDC ought to take immediate steps not only to prepare the syllabus but also to ensure that the teachers were trained well in advance so that well-directed teaching begins from the start of the academic year. The authorities could also derive some points in the syllabus from Science of Living, which is a detailed programme that complements the current educational approach with spiritual and value based learning.
The corporation also has to take the approval of the government before implementing the programme and it should not rush with the syllabus just to ensure that the programme was implemented in time. Besides, the teachers, who would be on summer vacation in about a month from now, have to be trained first it remains to be whether they would be called from their vacation.
While yoga education could find easy acceptability among the people it remains to be seen whether the parents and other stakeholders would easily accept value education syllabus. It has to be noted that value education is a complex and controversial area and has met with resistance in the past wherever it was sought to be implemented and the authorities need to be careful in handling the situation. Any attempt to push the syllabus without express approval of the stakeholders could meet with strong opposition defeating the very purpose for which it is sought to be implemented. The GEDC should ensure that stakeholders were taken on board before the syllabus was finalised. Rather than trying to rush through the yoga and moral education parts of the syllabus, the GEDC should evolve a consensus among the people belonging to various faiths on the syllabus for value education so as to ensure nobody cries hoarse later on. In a plural society it is rather difficult to easily take everybody on board and it could take some time before all the stakeholders come to consensus on the issue of value education. In view of this the authorities should have started the process much earlier to build up a consensus. In case there were differences of opinion on the content and delivery from different sections it would be better in the interest of all that the programme was postponed till an agreement was reached.