Ancient education of India was based on guru sishya (pupil) culture emanating from high values evident in flourishing and enriching Gurukul system where Guru (teacher or Principal) stood for high moral and values and sishya (pupils) follows those values in high respect and solidarity.
Once India was regarded epicenter of knowledge art and spiritualism and students from all corners visited here for knowledge and values.
With the gradual invasion of foreign powers India witnessed various phenomenal changes in social, political, religious and cultural spectrum and education once flourishing was now subject to foreign influence.
The transformation of basic education took place in British era especially Macaulay education had changed the basics of elementary education system. The anglicized form of education had apparently some advantage but completely different on ethical front.
Ever-growing issue of values and ethics in education community is the ultimate dividend of new education system.
Unlike Gurukul system where two constituents were present (Guru and Pupil) the new school education system in India has three main constituents- Students, teachers and parents (have excluded the role of school management as teachers are more or less mouth piece of school administration).
In order to understand the issues of ethics, morals and values it is necessary to define each of them.
Values stand for rules set by individuals to take personal decision in judging what is right or wrong and good or bad. Values tend to direct individual to choose the important and leave the less important matters.
Morals are thick and broader sets of rules which helps individual to judge other as good or bad which we call instinct in general.
Ethics are predefined sets of rules that define a particular group of people like medicals, journalism etc. More specifically ethics are self imposed rather judge or impose on others.
While assessing the position of each constituent of education with regard to their exposure to ethical issues we find that teacher holds number one position in handling dilemmas and ethics.
At the one hand Teachers are expected to uphold high values and embrace ethics of teaching on the other hand they face most dilemmas like whether to help students beyond classroom or if answer is yes then to what extent? In case teacher is more co-operative and dedicated and open to teach his students beyond class hours then repeated request for same query make him or her think again. Another dilemma is teacher -student relationship as friendly or formal like guru sishya culture. Even become too friendly may create problem at some stage (issues of discipline may come up).
Should teacher resort for private tuition or strict in giving tuition to students not from his school? Even the strict behavior of teacher attracts sharp reaction from parents.
Should teacher let a failing 9th grade student matriculate knowing she or he is held back or drop out?
Should a Principal approves of inflated grades and accept admission of students not worthy of merit.
Never ending dilemma and ethical crisis is part of teaching profession and it completely depends on the person how he or she handles it with dignity.
In the issue of ethical crisis and compromise on values students are ultimately the worst sufferers.
The first scenario is double edge of values and morality where one side is sharpened by parents at home and other in school. And students get confused as to whom to follow. For example Students are taught in school to worship parents and always obey their wishes or order even mother’s and father’s days are organized in school to develop such values in students. However it seen in many houses that the student experiences a very different situation at home. His parents have disowned his grand mother or father for living in old age home. What should student do here and whom to follow? The conflict is unavoidable. There are numerous examples where students find it difficult to handle ethical crisis.
The conflict of values, ideology and thought create cloud of confusion in young mind.
Parents are at receiving end of such conflict and confusions at ethical front. Should parents give more time to his or her ward to develop sense of high values and morals and help him or her understand the ethical values taught in school?
There is no end to ethical issues in education community but one thing is certain that if all constituents understand their roles and play it responsibly future conflict and crisis of values and ethics be avoided for greater good of students and society at large.