There was a man down the south in a small village in Tamil Nadu. He was living good life with all the family members in harmony. He was compassionate towards the other family members irrespective of age and gender. One day, he witnessed that his wife was suffering from pain during her menstrual cycle. He observed that his wife was wearing dirty clothes during the menstruation period. It forced him to think about it since it was not affordable enough to buy menstrual pads from the market.
However, the man started making hygienic menstrual pads at home using cloth and cotton. It was affordable to him as well. This message started circulating and helped many women access these pads at Rs 1 only. The man was none other than Arunachalam Muruganantham, popularly known as Padman of India.
What do we infer from this above story? There are some values that remain with us even if we forget what we learned in school. In the case of Arunachalam, he was compassionate about the concerns faced by his wife. Therefore, compassion, fortitude, attitude, ethical values, dedication, integrity, etc. remains in our conscience even if we forget the aptitude learned in school. Now there can be one question – How is it different from formal education?
Formal education is provided by educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities. It is a structured and organized process designed to impart knowledge, and skills to students. It follows a prescribed curriculum, conducts examinations, and awards grades to students. However, education is also attained outside the school that remains in our conscience even if forget what we learned in school – attitude, behavior, socialization, etc. Its primary goal is to promote personal development, intellectual growth, and the ability to engage effectively in society. However, Indian history also witnessed the footprints of such valued education.
When we peep into Ancient Indian History, we witness the role of the value system that remains in people’s consciences even after aptitude is forgotten. For instance, during ancient days, women were getting high respect in society. Sabha and Samiti allowed them to participate in the early Vedic age. Similarly, foreign travelers noted that child marriage, the sati system, etc. were absent. It was so because people have stayed with the proper education i.e. based on value rather than merely dependent on the school based aptitude skills like geometry, logic, etc..
On the same line, In Medieval India, people were witnessing a decline in the value system, Superstitions, child marriage, evidence of sati, and not allowing widow remarriage were prominent. These things inspired the people in medieval times to stand and speak for reforms. It has led to the Bhakti Movement in India. It happened because education remains in people even if they forget aptitude. They had the education of courage, dedication, and compassion to fight against evil practices and played a role in human emancipation.
Subsequently, In Modern India, our freedom fighters were fighting against British imperialism. Some people were educated in Western education and some in Indian education. In spite of differences in the learning process, both shared the same value when participating in the Gandhian movement i.e. non-violence. This value remains with people irrespective of the fact that what one has learned or what one has forgotten.
As we have seen the role of values from ancient, medieval, and modern times, its footprints can be seen in contemporary times as well. There are some values that are education in a real sense in the individual sphere. For instance, there is a case where there is no vehicle roaming at the red light, What should one do?- cross the red light or wait for it to become green? If a man stays with rules even if there is no policeman and no vehicle roaming at the traffic lights, it shows the education that has remained even if one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
A similar example we witnessed during the FIFA World Cup when people were celebrating the victory of Japan on the road. When the street light became red people waited till the light became green to celebrate their victory. It shows the education that was gained by the people of Japan outside their school.
On a similar line, in the societal sphere, there are various stances where people have given preferences to values irrespective of what one has learned or forgotten in school things. For instance, the role of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, in protecting the childhood of children shows that his dedication and compassion toward children remains irrespective of what values and aptitude he learned or forgotten in school. Similarly, the role of Bezwada Wilson in societal contribution remains with him even after the aptitude that he has forgotten. Therefore, value education has the inner manifestation of value which remains with the person.
On the same line, at the National level, Govt. of India has shown the value of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ (the whole world as a family) and compassion toward poor states during the COVID-19 pandemic. India supplied vaccines to poor countries at free of cost. It also provided HCQ tablets at free of cost to African countries to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. It happened because the real education of India remains with her i.e. compassion, dedication, and brotherhood even outside formal education.
Similarly, in the international sphere, education of the global society remains with them in containing climate change. It forces them to reach at Paris deal that promises to limit temperature by 1.5 degrees centigrade from the pre-industrial level. Apart from this, global society is dedicated to ending terrorism, violence, and environmental protection. All these happen because of the values ingrained i.e. non-violence, protection of the environment, containing climate change, etc. It shows that the education of global governance remains irrespective of what one has learned or forgotten.
As we have seen from a historical lens as well as a contemporary prism in individual, societal, national, and international that value remains with the people even if a man has forgotten aptitude learnt in school. That is termed as education. But aptitude has also a role in education.
Aptitude has its own potential in shaping education. For instance, it is true that Aptitude without ethics has no value, but ethics without aptitude also does not sound well. For Example, A.Q. Khan, the nuclear man of Pakistan had aptitude but no ethics because his perspective on developing nuclear weapons was narrow. It had an element of self-interest like monetary benefits. But a man having ethics without aptitude is of least efficiency.
Altitudinal skill helps in decision-making, stress management, competence at work, etc. For instance, a person in school learns time management and stress management through exams. It plays a very important role in his/her life. It is also a part of education that helps in shaping human capital. However, there should be a complementary relationship between values and aptitude in the transformation of human capital.
It is undoubtedly a vital foundation for the personal and intellectual growth of an individual. It equips individuals with essential skills, knowledge, and the ability of critical thinking. Subjects such as mathematics, science, literature, and history provide the necessary tools for understanding the world around us. Understanding science and mathematics reduces human efforts. For instance, science has developed elevator and wheelchair that reduces the pain of a disabled person.
Therefore, it encapsulates the idea that the true essence of education lies in its enduring impact on an individual’s life, rather than the temporary knowledge acquired within the classroom. As Nelson Mandela has rightly said education is the most powerful weapon in the world, holistic education i.e. the intersection of values and aptitude would make the whole community prosperous in Amrit Kaal.
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