By P. I. Devraj & Shyamala K.
The importance of providing value education is felt necessary today because the present system of education cannot contribute much to the individual and social development. Value-oriented education does not mean preaching of mere moral sciences or propagating particular religious tenets, but it is imparting knowledge of values considered functional for both individual as well as society.
Gandhi's philosophical, religious, economic and social approach and a number of contemporary Gandhian perspectives are relevant to an understanding of human values and social change today. By Gandhian ideals in the education policy, we will be able to inspire the whole world by his ideas of truth, nonviolence, peace and love.
Gandhi frequently asserted that mass illiteracy is a curse that hampers the development of a nation. He wrote: " I am a firm believer in the principle of free and compulsory primary education for India". Gandhi felt that education should not only increase knowledge but also develop culture in heart and hand. Another of Gandhi's interests lay in character building. Education without character building was not education according to him. He considered a strong character as the basic of a good citizen. So the issues of character building through value-based education on the one hand and that of integrating science and technology on the other hand have to go together.
So we, in the contemporary situation, have to draw a balanced evaluation of science because its progress has a great role to play in determining the directions of value education.
In order to bring about social change we have to channelize human values through education. Truth and nonviolence can generate human values. Declaring the importance of nonviolence, he said: "Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my reed."1 He further added: "Without Ahimsa it is not possible to seek and find truth, Ahimsa and truth are so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disintegrate and separate them. They are like the two sides of the same coin."2
Development of peace and security through cooperation seems to be essential for the modern society's progress and prosperity. This is possible because values and improvement are intertwined.
Value education in the sense of gaining knowledge of values is not enough but have to be realized and loved by selecting the values which are relevant and best suited to the needs of our country. Gandhi infused in us a hope through his ideals of love, tolerance, truth, nonviolence and service of mankind which are even more relevant today than they were in his own time and they will continue to exercise a lasting influence in our society.
It may be said that the foundations of an ideal civilization as conceived by Gandhi was based on Truth and Nonviolence as the integrally related means and ends. They are values central to any society because all human relations in the social, political as well as economic spheres are influenced by them in one way or the other. They are to be the standards and goals of our society. These can also become the foundations of a more peaceful and happy world order which is very much the need of mankind today.