Welcome to the Human Values Cell
Today's technical education, in its widely prevalent form, is not able to adequately empower students to think independently. Consequently, being driven by peer pressure, it is leading to a blind race for jobs that are intellectually and mentally unful?lling, and wealth that breeds chaos in family and in society. However, education is not just about learning skills (how to) but also about developing the ability to decide on what (what to do?) and why (why to do?). It should lead to the development of critical ability in students towards distinguishing between essence and form, or between what is of value and what is super?cial, in life. It should develop their understanding which is a prerequisite for a movement from rule based society to a relationship based society. In this paper, we discuss our experiment of introducing a compulsory course on Human Values in the undergraduate core curriculum in a technical university. Rather than aiming at 'teaching' values, the course is structured to encourage students to discover what are of value for them and for the society. Thus the aim of the course is to enable students to discriminate between the valuable and the super?cial in real situations in their life.
The course is conducted through discussions in small groups each mentored by a faculty member. There are no formal lectures in the course. During every class the faculty mentor introduces a topic and initiates the discussion. While analysing and discussing the topic, the faculty mentor's role is in pointing to essential elements to help in sorting them out from the surface elements. In other words, help the students understand the important or critical ele- ments. For the above topics, scenarios are used to initiate discussion. Depending on the nature of topics, worksheets, home assignment and/or activities are included. What makes it challeng- ing is the fact that the ability is to be developed not for a narrow area or ?eld of study, but for everyday situations in life. Therefore, one week long intense workshop on Jeevan Vidya is conducted which allows students to reflect on questions pertaining to life.