Sat | Apr 20, 2019

Educate for service

Published:Monday | May 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

For several years, perhaps even decades, we have been witnessing a gradual decline in the moral fabric of society. At the same time, the emphasis of governments in response to the mandate of their constituents is to focus on improving the 'standard of living' rather than the 'manner of living'. This is not to suggest that the choice is mutually exclusive rather that a proper balance of both is essential if we are to derive harmony in society.

In the May 15 edition of The Gleaner, a call was made for the private sector to become more involved in solving crime and violence. This call should be extended to all organisations in civil society to combine as a collective voice is promoting positive change that will be lasting.

Having a greater security presence may be useful in addressing the symptoms of a problem that is more fundamental, namely the erosion of moral standards. The morals have not changed rather the accepted standard of morals has been allowed to fall, then gradually begin to be accepted as the 'new norm'.

The long-term solution is to transform how we teach our children in schools, while also pursuing short-term measures.

What is needed in our educational institutions, our schools, colleges and universities is not to establish them solely for the earning of degrees. The main purpose of these institutions should be to help students to cultivate self-knowledge and self-confidence, so that each one can learn self-sacrifice and earn self-realisation.

Teaching the curricula, preparing for examinations and awarding of degrees should only be the means employed for the end, namely spiritual uplift, self-discovery and social service through love and detachment. The vision is to realise students who will live a life as shining examples of spiritual awareness and its beneficial consequences for the individual and society.

The institutions should be run on higher principles. The emphasis should be on giving and forgiving, not on getting and forgetting those who gave and what was received. Service to the needy should also be encouraged, especially with the villages and communities surrounding these institutions.

I am, etc.,

LALU N. VASWANI

St Michael, Barbados