Values for the soul: Sri Aurobindo proposed an education system guided by the soul. As we celebrate his 131st birthday today, S V SABNIS highlights the need to incorporate Aurobindo’s doctrine in our education system Deccan Herald, Friday, August 15, 2003
No education system can be complete without value education. Unfortunately, a glaring lacuna in the NCERT documents on value education is the non-inclusion of the concept of dynamic spirituality, which transcends all religions, and is meant not for rejecting life but conquering it with the power of spirit. It is here that Sri Aurobindo’s doctrine on value education assumes significance. Sri Aurobindo, along with the Mother constituted a treatise on value education, which included Integral Education with Free Progress System. This education system is guided by the soul, as against the present education system that is guided by the mind. It propagates moral and dynamic spiritual values. In India, there are only two authenticated schools, one in Pondicherry and the other at Delhi that impart integral education with free progress system. The essential reason behind the limited popularity of this system is that it is not job-oriented, which is the only prerequisite seen as worthy of consideration today.Ever since 1949, various committees and commissions on education, headed by experts like Dr S Radhakrishnan, Dr V K R V Rao and Dr D S Kothari have furnished reports to the Union Ministry to inculcate universal human values of love, co-operation, democratic decision making, and so on. With this background, in 1986, the Parliament approved the National Policy on Education (NPE), which laid emphasis on value education for the cultivation of social and moral values. The NPE maintains that in our culturally plural society, education should foster universal and eternal values oriented towards the unity and integrity of people of all caste and class backgrounds. These values are in conformity with the fundamental duties of an Indian citizen enshrined in Article 51 A of the Indian Constitution.Despite these documentations on value education, the education departments at the Centre and State governments have not been fully successful in implementing these recommendations in their complete essence. Nor has it been possible for the Central Board of Secondary Education, so far guided by the NCERT and its NRCVE (National Research Centre on Value Education) to evolve and adopt a specific curricula and class-wise textbook syllabus on value education from Class I to Class X. The best move would be to introduce integral education with free progress system into the present education system through textbooks meant for Classes I to X, or XII. At a time when there is greater need to eliminate obscurantism, religious fanaticism, violence, superstition and fatalism from the society, Sri Aurobindo’s teachings would be ideal as the values in his system are secular and transcend religious considerations.