Address of Sri Vijoy Prakash on the occasion of the Book Release Function of the book EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY
His Excellency the Governor of Bihar Sri Raghunadan Lal Bhatia and dear friends,
I express my deep gratitude to His Excellency for having spared his valuable time to release our book Education for Democracy. This book was born out of the desire to see a democratic society based on the principles enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution of India. Sir, in last sixty years the shoots of democratic governance has spread and matured in our country but we wanted to see how much deeper has the roots of democracy gone into the soil. We understand that development of democratic values in citizens is the primary condition for the success of democracy in a country. As children are our future citizens, in 2004 we tried to study the orientation of democratic values in 1366 school going children in the age group of 11-18 years in the district of Patna and Samastipur.The result is with you in the form of the book Education For Democracy.
Sir, our experience has been mixed. On certain parameters we found certain postive trends. Almost all children showed their inclination in favour of female education. We have to convert this inclination into reality. On the other hand there are certain very disturbing trends. We found presence of tendencies of authoritarianism among children which does not decline with growth in education. May be this is at the root of growing expression of violence and separatism in the society. Curbing of authoritarian tendencies is the primary condtion for strenthening the fibre of democratic society.
Sir, we also found evidence of thoughts of untouchability in the tender minds of children. Obviously, there is lot to be done to evolve an inclusive society. There is also lack of awareness about the principles of democratic society and our symbols of democratic way of governance such as national flags and national songs. About 40% children donot know that they have to stand up at the time of singing national anthem. There is also lack of awareness about fundamental rights and duties. Dignity of labour is another area of great concern. A lot has to be done to ensure dignity of labour in society.
We also examined the perceived importance of the agents of socialisation. It was found that the perceived importance of agents of socialisation such as parents and teachers was extremely high, whereas the importance of Politicians, Judges and Police was not found to be that high.There is a need to enhance the image of these democratic institutions.
It was also found that present education system is not able to inculcate democtatic values among children to the desired level, which is detrimental to the growth of democracy in the country.
As education can be the best intervention for bringing change in human behaviour, we decided to work for Education for Democracy which can pave the way for a democratic society. EFD, as it is called has to be a holistic mix of formal, non-formal and informal education systems. It is aimed at empowering people for thinking independently, developing empathy, learning about interactive laws of daily life to secure justice and to develop creativity as the base for all human recognitions. As values take roots in our mind in early years of our life we ought to set up Family schools for teaching parents and other members of the family the lessons of democratic behaviour in family life situation. It also calls for setting up Social Science Laboratories in schools and colleges where the democratic values can be further nursed and developed. It calls for developing tolerance for food, language, vocation, culture and traditions for fostering an inclusive society.
Sir, Education for Democracy is not a book, it is the charter of a mission. It is a mission to kindle the light of democratic values and behaviour in each human being. It is a mission to make people love themseves and to start loving others. It is a mission to develop tolerance and sense of sacrifice for fostering fraternity and brotherhood. It is a mission to develop people to think independently, act fearlessly and maintain their high self- esteem irrespective of their language, culture, vocation, traditions, colour or sex. It is a mission to realise what Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore visualised about a century ago
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
This book is not only the product of the efforts of two authors only, it is the product of the efforts of the entire team who have worked relentlessly to make this study happen. I also express my deep gratitude to Commonwealh Education Fund and Action aid India especially Mr Vinoy Ohdar for their support to the project. I am grateful to APCL team members including its President Dr Ajay Kumar for their continuous support. Thanks are specially due to Dr Mridula Prakash, Principal, School of Creative Learning who worked as the programme coordinator to cordinate this stupendous task and also to Sri Himadri Mayank who helped us in the analysis of the voluminous data. I also express my heart felt thanks to the Principal and teachers of the 15 schools of Bihar and Jharkhand, who have become our partners of the mission by setting up Social Science Labs in their schools.
Sir, we hope to get your blessings and guidance in this noble mission. Your guidance from this temple of democracy would go a long way in motivating our volunteers. With these words I request His Excellency to kindly release the book Education for Democracy.