[ 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.
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
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
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
©Copyright 2002, Times of India