Empowering Students For All Round Excellence Mrs. Tina Olyai Director, L.A.H.S Gwalior - India.
<ul><li>In these days of deteriorating moral standards, a value based concept should be fruitfully adapted by schools to infuse a spirit of ‘Excellence’ in students. </li></ul><ul><li>The seeds of Quality have to be implanted today if we are to succeed in creating a world of Quality tomorrow ….. </li></ul>
It commences from the womb and ends in the tomb. It is better to remain unborn than to remain uneducated. Our world has transisted from one millennium into another, right from the stage of primitive man, who struggled for survival, up to this new millennium of the ultra modern world. It is here that we realize that education is in essence a critical input in the process of change in human affairs. It has brought to one’s doorstep promises and prospects for unimaginable changes, which could usher in a Golden Age. Education Never Ends...
But … alas ….. !! What we witnessed on September 11, 2001? One man’s brain malfunction augured hazards and threats for an undreamt catastrophe. A satanically devised but meticulously calculated and culpable mass homicide ….!! Just imagine, This most wanted terrorist of all times. If he had used his brain power towards mitigating problems of poverty, disease, famines, floods or planned for improvement in the field of education, irrigation, electricity & power production. what all achievements could have been done ?????
“ Education is the essence of excellence and excellence lies in being competent.” A competent person looks only for possibility of development prepared to take the advantage of the changing scenario. The system of education has witnessed a magnitude of changes since the time of ‘gurukuls’ and ‘maharishis’ where princes and Brahmins got their education and not the ‘Eklavyas’ . In last 150 years we have witnessed tremendous emancipation ever since humanity stepped into the Age of Light.” Excellence Competency
Schools, Colleges and Universities should be a center of complex activities and help in empowering students for all-round excellence. They should not merely take pride in issuing degrees and declaring results. Rather .. each recipient of the degrees should be guided in the right path.
Baha’u’llah , the Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, revealed in sacrosanct word: - “Schools must first train the children in principles of religion, so that the Promise and Threat recorded in the Books of God may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the Commandments..”
Now let us take the example of a plant.. If it is carefully nurtured by a gardener, it will become good, and produce better fruit. Similarly children must be given good training from infancy. They must be given a systematic training which will further their development from day to day …..
Students must become the shining candles of moral precepts and spiritual ideals and be the means of illumination to others . Humility Charity Kindness Service Sanctity Wisdom Trustworthiness Distinction Obedience Truthfulness
As a potter moulds pots of different shapes, clay has the inherent quality to be ‘moulded’ similarly, each human soul, from its early childhood, has the capacity to be trained and moulded in a particular direction. Capacity and receptivity differ from person to person and the basic challenge is to identify it. A teacher does not "create" but "moulds"
The keynote lies in “providing the students multifarious options to choose from…” The best educator is the one who does not “impose” choices on the children but “encourages them to choose” from a set of best combinations. In that case the child chooses only what he opts for and yet what is beneficial for him. How to empower students with “All-round Excellence” ? LET’S ENCOURAGE THE PROCESS OF SELF-DEVELOPMENT
Excellence comes from perfection and perfection cannot be achieved only by stressing on superficial knowledge. This is what today’s competitive age wants from our children. They learn a lot, they know a lot, but when it is time to apply their knowledge which could help them and others, they stand at a loss. Let’s recall the story about a parrot that lived in a saint’s cottage. We Want Humans Not Parrots
Each morning the saint made his parrot repeat these lines : “THE BIRD-CATCHER WILL COME, HE WILL SPREAD HIS NET AND PUT GRAINS ALL OVER IT, DON’T BE GREEDY AND DON’T GO TO THE NET.” The parrot repeated this sentence several times a day. One day the saint was out and the parrot was alone. A bird-catcher came, spread his net with grains in front of the saint’s hut, and sat silently at some distance.
The parrot kept singing: “THE BIRD-CATCHER WILL COME, HE WILL SPREAD HIS NET AND PUT GRAINS ALL OVER IT, DON’T BE GREEDY AND DON’T GO TO THE NET.” but still went pecking at the grains . The bird-catcher pulled the net and now the parrot understood that he was in a trap. Ironically, this is the tragedy of our modern education.
Since there is no motivation, no inner realization of the basic truths of life, our graduates enter the practical world totally helpless. If knowledge and information alone were adequate to solve the problems of the world, our world of today would have been a true paradise.
Children must strain every nerve to acquire both inner and outer perfections….. It is not desirable that a child be left without knowledge or skills, for he is then but a barren tree. Ye must deck the tree of being with fruits such as knowledge, wisdom, spiritual perception and eloquent speech. Baha’u’llah
THREE KINDS OF EDUCATION Excellence and perfection cannot be achieved by “half education” that most of our schools are providing nowadays. It is time for us to appreciate that education is of three kinds: MATERIAL, HUMAN, SPIRITUAL.
HUMAN EDUCATION: signifies civilization and progress --- science, arts, inventions etc which are the activities essential to man. SPIRITUAL EDUCATION: is that of the Kingdom of God: it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education. MATERIAL EDUCATION : is concerned with the progress and development of man to gain material comfort and ease.
Religion is the most powerful force guiding our activities and needs to be given priority even in the field of education because ‘immortal values’ are contained only in religion and not in sciences, arts and technologies. It speaks to us the “mind of God” Who is the beginning and end of all knowledge.
There is a beautiful poem by noted Bengali poet Vishnu Dey. Here the poet describes the events at a marriage ceremony. The House is being decorated with flowers, guests are arriving, ladies are singing traditional songs, sweets being prepared, lingering fragrance fills the air, everyone is busy and their faces smiling, and the bride’s eyes reflect the happiest dreams she could have. But in the end Vishnu Dey writes There is only one thing missing…. THE GROOM IS LOST WE ARE MISSING SOMETHING...
Unfortunately, the same plight exists in the entire world. There is knowledge but sense of service is missing. There are offices but dedicated workers are missing. There are politicians but among them a true champion is missing. The country has resources but selfless planners are missing. It is sad to know that in such a knowledgeable world the ‘Quality of Excellence’ is missing … Does it not mean that it is time for us to re-evaluate our whole educative process and make it more oriented for empowering the students with all-round excellence?
The first thing which is essentially required is to set a UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTABLE GOAL FOR EDUCATION . What is the goal of education? Why are we teaching? Why are we running so many schools, colleges and universities? What is the purpose? Today, different educationalists have different answers for this. A most common conception is that we are doing all this to impart knowledge because knowledge is important. Our purpose must be higher and one such widely acceptable purpose can be: Service to humankind . IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE
“ Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being, and are conducive to its exaltation. Knowledge is as wings to man's life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone…”
V o c a t i o n a l C o m p o n e n t Work is important for the progress of human civilization. But as we have given many things a pure material meaning, this very word ‘work’, more popularly known as “employment” has lost its spiritual connotation.
Unemployment is a growing problem not only in India but also even in many other countries. If we want to empower our students with all-round excellence, this aspect cannot be overlooked. Lord Krishna says: “ Work is more excellent than idleness.”
Lord Jesus says: “Let more work be laid upon men, that they may labour ; and not regard vain words.” In the words of Baha’u’llah : “Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship ....”
Children need to be accustomed to the hardships of life and made brave enough to tread on the paths of realities. They should be possessed with deep insight about all the things we meet in our everyday life.
Knowledge Without Travel Is Like A Boat On Dry Land An important aspect of practical learning is covered by taking the students to educational excursions. They learn a lot by visiting cities, spending time around rocks and rivers, talking to nature and identifying themselves in a world so vast and varied. That is why it is rightly said…
Pool of Activities Further important point is that schools should develop as a big “pool of activities” where diversified talents find their shelter and are lovingly fostered. If we are not able to give the students multiple options, they will choose whatever they find.
Each child has some specific areas of interest. A good school needs to provide outlet to all such diversified talents. “ The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become different - to realize whatever unique potential of mind, body, and spirit he or she possesses.” ~ John Fischer
EXCELLENCE is an inherent quality of mankind There is an imperative need that schools must take up a new religion ‘The Religion Of Quality’. If educational institutions want to fulfil the obligations of equipping their students with the right attitude and skills required to successfully meet the challenges of tomorrow, they have no choice but to adopt the QC approach. They must train their students in the art of Kodo, Kagne and Kaizen – the Japanese philosophy of thinking, acting and improving continuously. Only then shall our educational system be in tune with the needs of the time…
Empowerment is not an event, it is a process … a continuous process. And Excellence is not a fixed point in human life …