Value Education

AVK is probably the only school in Mysore to have begun an unique programme to introduce children of VIIIth class to the many ethical, behavioural and spiritual values of Indian philosophy and thought.

The School believes that the curriculum for children should include metaphysical thought and experiment to the same degree as the physical.  These together with science and mathematics are the paths to logical thought. The programme is also based on the view that instilling values should best be done in the vital teenage years.

The experiment is called Dharmamananam. The attempt is to provide an objective perception of morals and ethics and not a relative and partial conception of life's goals. The idea is that these must be developed rationally in teenagers beginning with the eighth standard, as by this time, they would have acquired an adequate vocabulary, knowledge of mathematics, the sciences, geography, history, and language. Exposure to values at this stage would have served the primary purpose of education: to evolve good individual, familial and social behaviour.

The experiment uses the oral traditions of yore and the Upanishadic-cum-Socratic style of discussion, questions and answers. Students are encouraged to inquire and not just blindly accept what is taught, heard or read. The programme is led by two members: Sri. M. Krishnamurthy, faculty in the Physics department and the school's founder patron, Sri. V. Siddharthacharry, a retired, distinguished officer of the first batch (1947) of the Indian Foreign Service and former Indian ambassador in many countries. On ocassion, senior members of the public who believe in the spirit of the programme are invited to lead the discussions.

Teachers from different disciplines also act as panel members. The programme, begun in June 2007, is held every thursday. Each session is of 40 minutes duration. The sessions are being audio taped and the plan is also to produce video recordings so that these may be shared with other interested schools and individuals.

Concepts such as infinity, space and time; absolute and the relative; subjective and objective; maya and mirage vs. discrimination; Gnyana Chakshu; the Idea (of Plato); Tat Sat and Tat Tvam Asi of Vedanta; fullness or poornam; karma and kismet; nature and divinity (prakruthi and purusha); Primal Energy or shakti; paapa and punya; good and bad; shanti; nirvana and dharma - personal and social are dealt with. The basic values and principles of the seers from those of the Upanishads to the contemporary are dealt with in the higher classes.

Class teachers are requested to report noticeable behavioural and attitude changes in the students who participate in these sessions. The results have been encouraging. Girls appear to be fascinated by the concept of enlightenment. Boys have shown an appetite for analysis. Several boys whose minds were truant are reported as being able to better concentrate and appreciate analysis and subsequent synthesis. A more objective conclusion may be hopefully reached in the twelfth Standard.