24 June, 2019

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Schools Need Change: Teach & Practice Humanity

By Mithula Guganeshan

Mithula Guganeshan

Mithula Guganeshan

Schools need to play a major role in developing and creating better humans than merely producing students. We need to question the norm of “Getting excellent results Vs. Being an Excellent human being”. There needs to be a balance in terms of both gaining knowledge and being an excellent human being are equally important. As adults, we should help and direct the children, the future generation towards developing themselves as humans with humanity. If Mathematics, Science, and History are important as a subject, why don’t we emphasize the importance to include subjects on teaching and practicing empathy, kindness, compassion, values of life, helping each other, saving yourself and others from harm (physical/sexual abuse). What makes these topics any less important than Physics and History?

We spend enormous amount of our significant budding years at school just learning theories and histories, and not giving much or any importance to practicing humanity and appreciating the simple gifts of life. Humans should learn about the importance of manhood practicing humanity and living life with compassion from an early age and this must be made as a compulsory subject at schools.

Quite a number of issues prevailing in the world today could only be happening due to lack of empathy and compassion. Rapes, high usage of drugs, alcoholism, elders abandoned, racism, gender disparity, physical and emotional abuses are portraying lack of humanity. There are many organization and groups who are fighting against all these, with the hope to end this. But while we deal with these issues with adults, we need to set the right path for the youngsters, the future generation.

There is hype about introducing sex education in schools, yet most importantly we need to question if sex education is the only important additional subject needed today. Children from a young age need to learn to live a life with a purpose and compassion. Schools need to be responsible for producing excellent humans and the syllabus and the activities should be re-arranged in such a manner to educate appropriately. In my opinion, schools have failed mankind and the current school model could be improved further to a greater extend. Schools need to adapt and provide lessons and coaching for students to excel in both life and career.

Most importantly, the humanity subjects should only be allowed to be taught by eligible, specially trained and accredited teachers while it’s extremely important for the teacher to instill confidence and trust to solve the student’s problems. Currently, some public school teachers are allowed to beat the students for talking/shouting in class, forgetting to do homework or not bringing their note book. First of all, to teach humanity, we need to live and demonstrate humanity. This could be one of the reasons causing domestic violence, as we grow we begin to practice what we learned.

There has been less limelight focusing on providing the best for students due to many reasons. Primarily because children are vulnerable, they don’t know to demand or know what are the essential lessons and skills for a successful and happy life. As we have walked that path and clearly understood that the current model could be improved further to benefit through humanity. Therefore, we need to take the necessary steps immediately to correct the mistakes and improve the quality of education delivered to the hopeful lives.

Some may argue that religion as a subject teaches the importance of these skills mentioned However, we need to question whether it has worked? And how we can approach this topic in a practical way to suit the modern context

Different types of abuse and rapes are some of the common issues faced by the society today. For example cat calling, derogatory remarks at woman have been accepted as normality within the society. There needs to be a system in place, to educate the younger generation regarding the right and wrong doings. Life changing difference could have been made to millions of girls lives by teaching the difference between right and wrong touch and that they have right to complain to their teachers at school. Instead, today we have accepted this as normality in life and women are expected to accept this is exactly how men are made.

Alcoholism and drugs are also one of the ways to hide away from reality and yourself, we need to learn coping mechanisms of life’s difficulty at an early age.

Schools need to take responsibility to deliver the best for the time invested by the student’s to bring a change. As parents we need to enroll the children in schools which would provide the essential training to train the children to be humans with humanity, and then only excellent results follows.

Schooling is an essential part of every individual’s life and we need to emphasize and only include lessons to benefit the students and society. Moreover, if a baby could learn swimming, then humanity can be instilled into children’s hearts at an early age, easily. The key to make this change lies with the educators and schools as they play a significant role in shaping our lives to be better and in turn contributing to a happier society.

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    Please read Ravindra Ranasinha’s book ‘How Schools Abuse and Fail Children’ to see the calamity Sri Lankan children are facing.

    • 2
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      Dear Mithula Guganeshan

      RE:Schools Need Change: Teach & Practice Humanity

      “Schools need to play a major role in developing and creating better humans than merely producing students. We need to question the norm of “Getting excellent results Vs. Being an Excellent human being”. There needs to be a balance in terms of both gaining knowledge and being an excellent human being are equally important. As adults, we should help and direct the children, the future generation towards developing themselves as humans with humanity. If Mathematics, Science, and History are important as a subject, why don’t we emphasize the importance to include subjects on teaching and practicing empathy, kindness, compassion, values of life, helping each other, saving yourself and others from harm (physical/sexual abuse). What makes these topics any less important than Physics and History?”

      Thank you. Very good questions to ask.

      However, it is not only the schools, the parents and the community need to play an important role as well.

      To put in a nutshell,

      to be successful one MUST:

      1. Listen ( How many know how to listen)

      2. Communicate ( How many know how to communicate verbally and in written form)

      3. Have Empathy. ( How many have empathy for the other person, or other persons views, and needs).

      It is the third point you are trying to bring about.

      So, each person has to contribute based on his/her ability.

    • 3
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      Jayatissa; Schools are geared to teaching children to pass exams. Even the subject Buddhism, fails to teach the essence of the Dhamma. I do not know how the other Religions are taught in Schools.

      Sunday Dhamma Schools do not teach Social Skills and the Safeguarding of Environmental issues.

      They seem to Teach only the Recitation of Gathas and Suttas, not their relation to Real Everyday Life.

    • 1
      5

      To bring up better human beings teach Mahavamsa to students compulsorily in schools.

      • 6
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        Rajapaksa;

        “To bring up better human beings teach Mahavamsa to students compulsorily in schools.”

        The Mahavamsa has been the start of all Sri Lanka’s Problems, because it was written from the point of view of a Buddhist, who did not want to acknowledge the existence of other Religions and Cultures in Sri Lanka.

        It will not teach students to be better Human Beings, but to be bigoted Sinhala Buddhists.

      • 2
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        Mithula Guganeshan

        “To bring up better human beings teach Mahavamsa to students compulsorily in schools”.

        They taught Mahawansa for 1,500 years. What happened? The Sinhala became more and more Modayas, and Fools. Their IQ went down, the average is now 79. Those with IQ above Voted for Maitriplala Sirisena ( Average 93), and those with IQ below 79 ( Average 65) voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa.

        National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

        http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

        Sri Lanka IQ 79

        The Para- Sinhala people became modayas, fools to such as extent they began to believe they descended from Lions. The Para-Tamils picked up this stupidity, and called themselves Tigers and began to believe they descended from Tigers.

        In Mahawansa, there a few other jokes such as Buddha flying to the top of a mountain, Visiting the Land of Native Veddh Aethho Three times, and hovering above, and described in Dipawansa and Mahawansa.

        They were good stories in 500 BC, but not tiday even for the Sinhala Modayas and Tamil Mootals.

    • 1
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      Yes, you are right.In this book you find many incidents quoted regarding grave situations. It is the tip of the iceberg. But we are not alone – the author has given various insightful techniques to overcome many issues faced by children.

  • 1
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    This thought should be revolutionizing vi all social media…need of the hour…

  • 2
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    Fine Mithula.

    We need young people like you with Idealism.

    Plato directed his studies towards the question of Virtue and the formation of a noble character.
    Look,this question has come up again.

    • 3
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      Plato.

      “Plato directed his studies towards the question of Virtue and the formation of a noble character.”

      Good you have been living this long.

      Didn’t you say around 2,500 years ago, when people with Common Sense and Intelligence do not step forward, the Fools, the Mootals and Idiots will step forward and prevail?

      You were a visionary.

  • 6
    4

    You seem to be a small child who doesn’t understand the present wicked world. You may ask as to why sex education is not taught in schools. School is not a place to teach morality and humanity. It is an institution to teach children in academic education for their future life. Human behaviour, morality and good behaviour has to come from the society we live in and from home.
    The dirty and wicked incident that happened to that unfortunate girl was due to the society she lived with. The Tamil society in the North has become a rotten society due to the continued war and different factions among the Tamil youths. Everything has changed in the Tamil society. The past government has for its purposes, took advantage and created a monstrous division in the Tamil society. The war, the deaths of hundred of thousands of Tamil people, the change in the demography of the Northern Peninsula, the occupation of the Armed forces in the North, the Sinhala Policemen who are stationed in the North in vast numbers and who are influenced by immoral activities have destroyed the Tamil cultured society. The society we lived in the past is not going to come up again.

    • 4
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      Gang rapes occur in every part of the country not only in the North. Rapists do not have a race. They are from poor and rich homes and from all walks of life. Politicians have been accused recently in the South, one politician claimed that he had raped 100 virgin women. It is endemic and one reason that the portrayal of women in media, advertisements, history and culture. They are made objects. Men are taught to be aggressive and if they are not aggressive, they are said to feminine and are subject to group insults. Unless we change the traditional attitude, rapes will take place. There are lots of proverbs that allow men the sexual freedom.

    • 8
      1

      You are wrong Sellam. This young lady may seem a “small child” to you but she is wiser beyond her years and beyond yourself. Society does not just happen but is made to happen by the human beings making it up. Schools are the most important institutions in society to mould humans with good values, character, morality, behavior etc. and these have progressively decreased in society because of erosion in teaching of these values in schools. In the past, schools had some sort of curriculum to teach human values as well but with the increased focus on materialism this aspect had got neglected. Today schools give importance to teach just academic subjects so as to equip the students to get high qualifications, titles, name, fame and a good pay packet. These are necessary to earn a living but not to live life properly and compassionately. Of course homes are also important places to provide value education to children but in today’s life style where elders are themselves too busy making a name and earning a living, schools should play an even increased role to provide value based education. Most of the waking hours of a student are spent in schools. This lady’s article relates to importance of human value education in all societies, in general (in Sri Lanka and elsewhere) and I do not see the relevance here, of your rhetoric on Tamil society in the North, Sinhala policemen in North etc. All wars and lack of peace in societies the world over are because of parochial attitudes of humans, both individually and in groups, as a result of focus on materialistically directed education, today.

      • 1
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        Sammy,
        you have a view and I have a different view on the relevant subject as to why a girl was raped and murdered ruthlessly by 12 men probably from the same area. You can have your opinion and I of mine but there is no need for comparison.
        The article written by Mithula Guganeshan was in reference to the rape and murder. Why was that unfortunate girl raped and murdered by twelve men of the same area? Was it due to the lack of moral education in schools or was it the society’s immoral behaviour because they were not educated in schools as such.

        The teachers do not teach their students in their classes as to how a good moral society should exist in a village. It is the whole community in the village who has a duty to set up a moral community. In this instance it was friction, hatred, revenge and politics that culminated in the crime. Do not blame the teachers, blame the politicians, the government and its institutions for this crime and racial divide.

        • 0
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          Sellam,
          Sure, opinions and points of view can differ and I do not wish to make any further comments on this other than to clarify certain matters. I do not see anything in Mithula’s article per se, making any reference to the dastardly act of rape and murder committed by the 12 sub-humans (in my opinion) on the innocent girl, which happened recently in the North and my comments too have no relevance to this incident. Whilst vehemently condemning it, I reserve my further comments on this disgusting incident, because of its irrelevance. Furthermore, no one is blaming teachers as they too are victims of the education system that is in place (not just in Sri Lanka but all over) to mass produce only technically skilled persons.
          Kudos to Mithula for highlighting the importance and urgent need of value based education in the present context, to make the world a better place. It is such awareness and activism that is the need of times and may future generations benefit from this. How nice it would be if the general societal system and the education system in particular supports a situation where, for instance, the maths, language, physics, economics teachers etc. are able to teach with more compassion and spare a little time to inculcate values to the students during every class and thereby produce citizens having more values.

    • 2
      1

      Ayiyoo Sinna Chellam,

      please Start to go to school from now on.
      then you can become a grown up man!!!!!!!!.

  • 2
    3

    Yes it is because of the planned cultural genocide of Inhabitants by the occupiers!!

  • 6
    1

    Schools, INGOs UN children organizations, churches and Temples are involved in prayers, value education, child friendly classrooms and many such programs. But it is all just mouthing prayers, telling and memorising values like the chalk and talk teaching that is in many schools.

    It is best to incorporate the values in practices through activities. It can also be incorporated in science, Tamil, English and other subjects. Instead of After School activitie for an hour a day such as volunteer work in the community and other humanitarian work, and playing team games and learning value of rules and cooperation and friendship, students and teachers run to Tutories when the bell rings at 2pm. Most students in Primary and Secondary are in Tutories cramming in overcrowded benches in sheds that are not even suitable for animals. Strangely in a Free Education system, parents pay for tutories for a chance to be in the 50% who pass the OL or the AL. Corporal punishment is the norm that principals, teachers and even Prefects practice to maintain discipline.

    Psychosocial approaches are learned by teachers but seldom practiced. For more of what the Northern Province School System is like, check the website:

    http://www.edudept.np.gov.lk Chapter 3 on “Psychosocial Wellbeing of Students and Teachers” has recommendations made by medical and educational psyschologists and specialists. It was published in July 2014. It is yet to be implemented by the Education Department. The study was done and published by the NP Ministry of Education and distributed to all schools in the North. But many teachers and principals say they have not seen it. May be next year.

  • 2
    0

    Very well presented your noble ideas, Mithula. If I was asked to named single point of failure which caused all problems in SL, I call it education system. Again all the solutions to SL issues lies in the education as well. Even in year 2000, main focus of education is to prepare children for Uni education, that is the dream of parents too. In my era, only 1% went to Uni, now a days I believe it is 5%. Rest, 95% of kids feel they are failures. Main focus should be preparing children to be responsible and productive citizens with sound understanding of ethical and moral values.
    I saw comments saying it is parents responsibility to teach their children good ethical and moral values. In cities, both parents could be busy with their jobs. In villages, farther may have become “Ranawiruwa” and stationed far from home or mothers could in ME saving money… What about these kids?

  • 3
    0

    “Children from a young age need to learn to live a life with a purpose and compassion. Schools need to be responsible for producing excellent humans and the syllabus and the activities should be re-arranged in such a manner to educate appropriately. “

    This is indeed true. How many of us have been taught in school not to cause suffering to another person? Schools are strict about late coming and not doing homework. How about harassing other students on buses?

    Especially the boys of all ages should get the message : harasssing a girl is not acceptable, at school, at home on the bus or whereaver. Violence against women is not acceptable. Schoolboys must be told – when you one day get married you cannot hit your wife. This is a serious offence punishable by law.

    I don’t think this message is getting out.

  • 3
    0

    Thank You for value adding to this article.

    Schools are briefly described as an institution for “educating children” and education is not just limited to learning facts. But based on the current situation we are in danger of being a fragmented and unstable society.

    Thank you again for making such valuable contributions

  • 3
    0

    Thank You Ms Guganeshan for writing on a subject that should be the concern of all our citizens.

    In SL, we are growing in materiality but we sadly lag behind in social graces. We still have grown men groping women and girls in buses and crowds, pissing in the streets, spitting everywhere, etc etc. The rest of us look the other way and ‘mind our own business’ and even the forces of law and order turn a blind eye. The miscreants may be in the ‘minority’ but they have the capacity to determine the way we live. The fear of molestation (or worse) determines the way our mothers, sisters and daughters organise their lives. They are increasingly dependent on males to chaperone them as they go about their normal business. There still is a stigma for our womenfolk to be seen alone outside home after dark.

    When our politicians go about behaving the way many of them do, it is hardly surprising that ordinary, impressionable people are led to believe that their abominations are normal. Many of us can still remember a leading politician pissing into a public swimming pool. Only last week a senior politician repeatedly used a personally derogatory term in a debate in Parliament, while school children listened from the gallery.

    It is up to EVERYONE of us to change these things. Teachers, parents, religious leaders, elders, and ofcourse political and public figures, ALL have their part to play; and most importantly by personal example.

    Let us all resolve to set an example, and to show our displeasure and disapproval when we see transgressions.

  • 4
    0

    Dear Mithula,

    Thanks for the excellent areticle and those who have contributed towards supporting this.
    Sai Baba says ‘ Education is not to teach children to earn a living but to form Charecter’
    There are many likeminde people around the world who are in small ways contributing towards ‘Value Education’
    In the UK Carol Alderman started ‘Sathyasai Education in Human values’ as a 1 week school holiday scheme for the wider community. The change that happened in the children when they returned to school term was very positive. The 5 values were Love, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-Violence. These values were explored through silent sitting, story telling, group work, games and songs.
    In Thailand Dr Art Jumsai has started a school for destitute children based on Human Values and the outcome is positive. There is also the miracle school of Sathya Sai Baba in Zambia which supported street children with great results.
    I agree with the concept that everybody has to practice Values in their life. Children need good role models not just in schools but in the family, and the community.
    Religion alone is not sufficient unless people combine spirituality with it. Rituals might teach discipline, but what is the point of these it it is dry, without the basic human values?
    Sai Baba says that teachers and parents have to
    1ST BE
    Then DO
    Finally TELL

    It is encouraging to see youngsters with fresh ideas coming forward. Don’t give up. My generation has messed up the world and the least we can do, is to support these youngsters.
    Check about the 3 months course in Thailand under Dr Art Jumsai.

  • 0
    0

    My question: Do our children now attend schools or “Tuition Classes”?. In my opinion, the days and years the children attended schools have long gone and replaced with the “Tuition Shops” from the 5th Grade to the University entry level. With that “Innovative Initiative” of “Tuition Shop”, the “Teacher” who once hailed as a “Champion of Education” who “produced” the “civic” citizens have converted themselves to be the “Tuition Barons” and chosen a “Life of Plenty” and no more. This is our much glorified “Education System”. Can anyone dare change it? NO. How can it be, when even the “Tuition Barons” become Ministers of Education. This is a “LOST BATTLE”.

  • 0
    0

    Well,for starters most schools do teach these things and practice them.The responsibility lies with homes.It is adults who needs to change their perspective on society.

  • 1
    0

    Some good thoughts.

    <> As far as I know, the subject religion, in my case – Saivaism, was a mere memory tester. I remember that I had to memorize father’s and mother’s names, places of births, how singing ‘thevarams’ opened and closed door of temples, etc, etc. And the teachers who taught them mostly didn’t have any clue of what they were teaching and were just reading out passages from the textbook like parrots.

  • 4
    0

    Mithula,

    All the readers agree with your statement “Schools need to play a major role in developing and creating better humans than merely producing students.” Louis Blaze embodied this when he founded Kingswood College, when he modelled the school with the concept that the purpose of Kingswood is to produce Gentleman and not bookworms. Every morning he commenced the school assembly by greeting the school boys as Good Morning Gentleman and the boys responded in unison – Good Morning Sir. This tradition still prevails at Kingswood.

    Similarly at Richmond College the big match with Mahinda College was commenced with the tradition that it is a match between two very friendly schools, where the staff, prefects & the old boys visit each others tents to the cheers of the boys. The speaker Chamal Rajapakse who completed his education at Richmond continues to be respected by both sides of the House because he practices what he learnt outside the classroom in the Parliament. Vasudeva was a firebrand in school as well as during his entire life. I am happy that he apologised to the Prime Minister for his un-parliamentary language.

    All the old established schools are built on such humanistic traditions and there is a clamour to enter them. We need Ministers of Education who understand the purpose of Education in a globalised world and not tuition masters.

    • 2
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      Did Vasu apologise? Are you sure?

      Sengodan. M

  • 2
    0

    Knowledge of human values should become part of the school curriculum. It hardly finds a place in any of the places of religious studies. This may take a long time to show positive results in the society but it will be fully worth the effort in the long run. A good article and the author needs to be congratulated for same!

    Sengodan. M

  • 0
    0

    Reading from the scriptures won’t make them good rather a cane may discipline them. Bullying is a disturbing thing in schools well fed boys abuse emaciated out of fear and shame they won’t complain, it is uncontrollable without corporal punishment. Free education for alcoholic and drug addicts is useless and waste of time energy and money. They should be sent to reformative schools lest they turn criminals.

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