Moral education may not mean much for many. Well, it is the lifeblood for the Baha'i Community's New Era Moral laurel

RAHUL CHANDAWARKAR

[ TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2002  2:11:41 AM ]

Moral education may not mean much for many. Well, it is the lifeblood for the Baha'i Community's New Era

Moral education may not mean much for many. Well, it is the lifeblood for the Baha'i Community's New Era

Development Institute (NEDI) in Panchgani. NEDI, which has been offering comprehensive teacher's training courses for many years, has been producing young teachers with a clear emphasis on moral education.

Any wonder then that the NEDI's latest offering in the field of education, is a set of six books titled, Educate these children . a guide for teachers in pre-primary schools, with the focus firmly on moral education.

Interestingly, the books that have been just released have been put together by NEDI in collaboration with educationists in Norway. The main areas covered in these books include teaching methods, co-operative learning and games, peace education, environmental education, character education, arts & crafts, music & drama, culture and nature. The prime motive and the central idea is to infuse good values in children through play and recreation.

According to Prashant Chinubhai, director, NEDI, the de-valuation of moral education in primary schools inspired NEDI to put together these books. "Moral education as a subject, is being scrapped in most schools. This is a shame. Moral education is the foundation on which we base our lives. We just decided to revive the interest," he informs.

It also helped that NORAD (a Norwegian development agency) and the Bahai's of Norway were willing to help. This six-book project, one of the offshoots of the Indo-Norwegian collaboration, has taken ten years in the making. In this time, the best methods of primary education were picked from across India and Norway. Before compiling the same, many of these methods were implemented in primary village schools around Panchgani.

Speaking to Pune Times, Liv and Michael Vitols, the Norwegian educationists who lent the finishing touches to the six books, stressed the need of moral science for little children. "If little children learn these early lessons, they will influence their parents, their friends and also grow up as responsible adults," they reason. The Vitols, who spent many days interacting with children from village schools near Panchgani expressed the hope that the books would be translated into many Indian languages.

Says Michael Vitol enthusiastically, "These books have the seed to change India for the better." The books are ready. Now what about the distribution? Chinubhai is optimistic. Says he, "We will send the books to schools across the country." He also hopes that NEDI will be able to make available these books, through important book stores in the near future.

NEDI is on a good wicket here. According to Ramnik Shah, former secretary general of the National Baha'i Assembly, New Delhi, NEDI could soon be chosen as a resource centre to train teachers in the field of moral education by the Government of India. So for now, it's IN to be moral!

rahulchandawarkar@indiatimes.com


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