AT THE heart of a value education course developed by Ramakrishna Mission as part of a tie-up with CBSE is the idea that “unrest”, whether it is related to IS or cow vigilantism, is “unrelated to religion” but has to do with “economic inequality”, said Swami Shantatmananda of the Mission, who has crafted the programme. The course, he said, offers a solution that isn’t purely academic but stresses on “self dignity”.
Last month, CBSE wrote to affiliated schools, stating that it had tied up with the Mission to impart value education to make students “awakened” citizens with values of “peace, harmony, humility and cooperation”.
Adding that the programmes for students of Classes VI-VII or Classes VII-IX were voluntary, it said the Mission’s “Awakened Citizen Programme for teachers and students” was created with the “objective to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation in promoting values education”.
Shantatmananda, head of the Mission in Delhi, said the course had been motivated by “ground reality” in the country today. “We talk about the youth of India and also its GDP. But the reality is that there is a deep divide between the rich and the poor. Earlier, an ordinary graduate would get an ordinary job. Now, one either gets an extraordinary job or no job at all”.
He argued that “social unrest issues” globally and in India had little to do with religion, but were a result of people “being deprived of the minimum necessities of life”.
“I would even say that movements like ISIS are not religious movements. Why would Muslims kill Muslims? It is again a question of the deprived community trying to assert themselves,” he added.
“This is the same case with cow vigilantism. I don’t think that they (cow vigilantes) are worried about Hindu sentiments. You organise a mob and the youth are ready to join. What’s the reason? Annually, crores graduate from schools, but only a fraction gets a chance to study further. So a large number of disgruntled youth, who are told they are educated but have nothing to look forward to, are let loose onto society.”
These youths, he said, are unwilling to “do jobs that had to do with physical labour” in spite of good financial prospects since they “have been called educated”.
The solution, he argued, lies in Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy of education being “the manifestation of perfection already in oneself”.
The value education course, he said, was based on the idea that if a student wasn’t good in academics, he might be good at something else.”