We Need to Instil Universal Values for the Universal Good, Say Leading K-12 Educators

The first day of ASMA India’s Inspiring Teachers' Summit & Awards 2021 witnessed exciting deliberations on the crucial role teachers play in instilling compassion and values in students

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ASMA India’s Admission Hunt 2021 came to a glorious close on the 29th and 30th of June with India’s Inspiring Teachers’ Summit & Awards 2021.

The first day of the ASMA India’s Inspiring Teachers’ Summit & Awards 2021 was a riveting event that aimed to celebrate and the hard work and dedication of teachers who have remained a constant guiding light to students, particularly during the pandemic.

The virtual event also witnessed absorbing panel discussions by respected education leaders, who deliberated on a host of topics such as the need for compassionate teachers in today’s prevailing education scenario and the role value education plays in shaping leaders of tomorrow.

In addition to the panel discussions, the event also witnessed a rousing keynote address by Ramachandran Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of InnoServ Group. Gopalakrishnan emphasised the important role that teachers play in inspiring students to achieve their full potential. He said, “Responsibility and empathy of teachers are important, not because it is talking about something different, but because the moment the teacher becomes an empathetic person towards the student, boundaries break. At that point, the three components of empathy come into play: the cognitive, the emotional and the compassionate”.

The first-panel discussion was moderated by Anantha Krishnan B, CEO Operations, Kalorex Group, and comprised Seema Saini, CEO & Principal, NL Dalmia Education Society and Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Educational Society, Hyderabad, Kavitha Jain, CEO, MDN Edify Education.

The panel explored the topic ‘Responsibility and Empathy: Compassionate Educators, the Need of The Hour’. Beginning the sessions, moderator Anantha Krishnan B, CEO Operations, Kalorex Group remarked, “The emphasis on education and learning during the pandemic has inculcated a feeling of alienation in the children and teachers. Hybrid learning has taken people away from each other. In this, the role of the teacher has increased manifold to inculcate compassion and to be educators of the hour. Therapeutic practices and activities are needed to comfort students”.

Seema Saini, CEO & Principal, NL Dalmia Education Society, pointed out, “The very purpose of education is first to develop good human beings. The most important thing is shaping humane people, and this is the primary responsibility of schools because the maximum time educators get with students is during the school years”.

Speaking about the resolve and dedication teachers have shown during the pandemic, Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Educational Society, Hyderabad said, “This year we were able to see strength in teachers; the ability to understand parents and students was far more superior. Human beings are adaptable, last year was about survival, and this year we have shown how we can adapt and move forward”.

She continued, “Right now we are talking about a lot of expectations from the teachers. But are we talking about healing our teachers first? So first I would say, instead of expecting so much from the teachers, we have to look into the wellbeing and healing of our teachers”.

Adding to the discussion, Dr Kavitha Jain, CEO, MDN Edify Education opined, “With online learning, while the pressure of learning is still there, the other components are missing. Empathy towards students and teachers is much needed. When students feel care from teachers, their learning opens up. Empathy begins with the ability to understand what the child is going through. Unless a mind is happy, expecting the mind to perform cognitive tasks is unrealistic and unreasonable”.

The second session of the day explored the importance of promoting value education post-pandemic and fostering the spirit of socially responsible students.

The panel was moderated by Dr Seema Negi, Director Principal, Sanjeevani World School, Mumbai and comprised Dr Usha Reddy, CEO, Meridian Schools, Dr Chandrashekar DP, CEO, Jain Group of Schools and Dr Kavita Bajpai, Director & Co-Founder, The International School of Thrissur.

The incredibly engaging discussion opened with moderator Dr Seema Negi, Director Principal, Sanjeevani World School, Mumbai remarked, “It is often said that we need to treat people the way we want to be treated. You need to live with integrity, honesty, equality, kindness, compassion; we need to be empathetic and practise gratitude, and especially during this pandemic we are understanding these words even better. Values system is like the compass that guides you in right and wrong. The ecosystems we create around our learners play a major role”.

Dr Usha Reddy, CEO, Meridian Schools added, “Whether post-pandemic, during the pandemic or in the pre-pandemic days; values are values and must be inculcated because as educators this is as important, or more important than the academic deliverables of our organisations. Values are ‘caught’ and not necessarily ‘taught’ and I believe we need to begin with our teachers. As schools, as organisations and as a society, we need to be very clear that our worth and our success will only be meaningful if we have the right values behind us”.

Adding to this, Dr Chandrashekar DP, CEO, Jain Group of Schools said, “All of us are results of our values. Values have their value in our lives and we all need to recognise this. As children, if they are able to recognise this faster, the better. We need to understand to whom we are trying to impart values. We need to clarify values. Today children do not have a shortage of values, but sometimes there is a conflict of values. We need to give children the exposure and a platform to clarify values because we have realised over time that the values that work for ourselves, may not work for others”.

Dr Kavita Bajpai, Director & Co-Founder, The International School of Thrissur explained, “Value education is not just the responsibility of the school; it is the responsibility of the entire society – the family, the universities, the community, everyone. Value education is a process that is trying to instil moral standards to create more civil and democratic societies. Value education is about promoting tolerance and understanding and these go beyond our demographic and geographic boundaries”.

Dr Reddy also remarked, “To instil the right values in children, we need to accept them as they are because that is the starting point where we are getting them to understand and make it a belief system for the rest of their lives”.

The summit concluded with a motivating Valedictory Address by Dr AK Sen Gupta, Founder and Convener, Higher Education Forum. He said, “We are actually in the midst of an extremely important transition period for the next 10-15 years. The pandemic has taught us to migrate from the offline mode of teaching to the online mode of teaching and that will be the future of education”.

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