I, as a teacher of senior classes in a Government Aided School in Delhi have noticed a steady decline in the regard for moral values in students. Somehow it seems as if the concept of commercialisation has pervaded the social fabric of the society to the effect that students along with their parents believe that they get what they pay for. Unfortunately, it is difficult to impress upon my students, that there are times when money cannot buy the love of another person, nor can it bring back a beloved from the land of the dead! Impatience in students is more often than not ruled by the expectation of being served because one has paid for it.
It goes without saying that Education is ruled by commercialisation and this is reflected in the mad rush of students for tuitions and coaching. Those who can afford a good tutor stand a better chance of qualifying in an entrance exam for an engineering course, or a course in medicine! Unfortunately it is from this assumption that students today believe that money can buy everything! Our system of education has failed miserably in nurturing the timeless values of respect for others, honesty, sincerity, and dedication. What, after all, is the importance of such values when you are taught that money can buy you everything!
What we are doing today is teach our children that the goal of our life is to earn money, when in fact it should be the other way round! Money is not an end, rather it is a means to an end! That “end” might be a comfortable life, a life of contentment or a life of satiety. Thus, today, if a student wants to take science, then it is because his parents want him to be an engineer, or a doctor. This is not because of a desire to see children as healers or builders of railway tracks or roads or bridges, rather it is because of the perks of being an engineer, or a doctor! Thus, it is assumed that a doctor, or an engineer will earn more than, say, a teacher!
Don’t be irked if you notice that your students pay less attention to subjects like languages. After all, what is the point of learning English? It is considered to be a subject which might not help you get through that engineering test. And anyway, students don’t want to learn English, or Sanskrit or Hindi because then they would become teacher! Who wants to be a teacher today? It is just not lucrative enough! Unfortunately, there are a large number of students who take up the science stream although they don’t have an aptitude for science. They might be very intelligent students, but, they just don’t have a taste for science. It is just that they are forced to take up science (since it is more lucrative) out of social or parental pressure! The more wise parents change their minds when their children are not able to get through, and they go for a change of stream. Those who are stubborn however persist with the result that the student wastes two years when he fails a second time in the eleventh class.
I often wonder whether all this restlessness, stress, and violence in students might not after all be the result of the effects of commercialisation in our society! When a student is forced to take up a particular stream by his parents which he is not very much interested in, then he will not pay attention in class! Frustration and symptoms of stress might be more evident in students who are not able to relate to the subjects they have been forced to take up because they seem to be more financially rewarding!
Commercial considerations, thus govern the choice of streams among students in India today. There is a belief that you command more respect in the society if you are an engineer, or a doctor, or a chartered accountant. How do you impress upon a student that you don’t have to be an engineer or a doctor to command respect in the society? Your talents and abilities will take you to great heights even if you are a teacher or a social worker! My students are incredulous when I tell them that they don’t have to be engineers or doctors (with due respect) to achieve success and fame in the society! When I tell them that I studied science till class twelfth and then took up Humanities at the graduate and at the post-graduate level, they are astounded! I tell them that I passed science with 85% marks and the took up humanities, they are shocked! I don’t have any grudge against the science stream because I myself was a very successful science student. I only tell them that the commercial consideration never swayed my mind, and I only followed my heart so I could gain the best of both, the Science stream and the Humanities stream. Judge for yourself and tell me if I am I am not successful in life? Have I not received respect in life? I was a science student who took up Humanities and I have no regrets! I don’t have to be commercially viable to be successful in life. I need to do what I like to do, and that’s the secret of success!