Great Aristotle once stated, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all!" That illustrates how important the value education is. The objective of education is enlightenment. Enlightenment could be achieved only by educating both the mind and the heart. According to Aristotle, educating humans goes much beyond the cognitive aspect of learning. To ensure inclusive and holistic development, our education should be backed by values like sympathy, rationality, etc. Values such as humanity, responsibility, integrity, confidence, and valour must be imparted as a part of education.
Education is not just limited to a defined set of syllabi, knowledge of certain fields, or having degrees and diplomas. A person can be highly versed in many subjects and still come up very short in integrity and character. A truly educated person understands the purpose of creation. He works with intelligence for the benefit of every person. Educating the heart means imparting moral values that produce integrity, virtue, and character. It makes a person capable of decision-making in tune with the values, culture, morals, compassion, ethics, and needs of society. True education, which comes with an educated heart and educated mind, helps us to get rid of our prejudices, superstitions, etc. and to be rational human beings. It not only enables us to take in information but also helps us understand its worth. Being educated means exposing oneself to several aspects of life.
A value-neutral education system produces morally bankrupt societies whose individuals lead unethical practices in every field. When education solely emphasizes academic achievement and neglects the development of ethical principles, it can lead to a culture that lacks empathy, compassion, and a sense of responsibility towards others and the environment. Education without values creates clever, pessimistic, selfish, and materialistic devils that harm more and benefit less from society. Educating the mind means we can develop only cognition. But educating the heart signifies developing empathy, compassion, respect for diversity and human dignity, love and respect for the law of the land, etc. Developing cognition will lead, at best, to making human machines, not human beings. Educating the mind and heart helps bring wisdom and enlightenment to people.
The perfect example is Prophet Mohammad (SAW), whose teachings on the importance of value education continue to inspire humanity. His teachings were centered on fostering a strong ethical and moral framework and promoting justice, compassion, and respect for others. Great personalities like Aristotle, Plato, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and Nelson Mandela also propagated education with values. Hitler and his followers were and are educated, but without the education of values, which is thus dangerous for humanity. We must bring together knowledge, compassion, and mindfulness synergistically so that we will develop a more accurate understanding of the world around us. We must listen to our hearts, re-learn what we think we know, and encourage people around us to think and behave differently and to behave compassionately.
The focus of education nowadays is essentially on teaching students predetermined information. The ideal principles that an educated person would want to uphold are wholly absent, and this is seen in acts of terrorism, hate crimes, violence against the weakest segments of society, etc. The utilitarian approach, which views education as having only one purpose—obtaining a job, etc.—should be eliminated from the educational system. A person who receives an education that encompasses both mental and emotional learning becomes both socially and academically successful.
The current education environment is very technical, competitive, and textbook-oriented, in which education of the heart is largely disregarded. Education of the mind sharpens our academic performances, while education of the heart helps us in holistic development. Thus, educating the heart, which means values, is as necessary as educating the mind.
(Author is P.G, B.Ed from University of Kashmir, Srinagar. Feedback:firstname.lastname@example.org)