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Saturday, April 4, 2015


 4TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 
ON 
HUMAN VALUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
GAEDDU COLLEGE OF BUSINESS STUDIES, 
ROYAL UNIVERSITY OF BHUTAN
27-29 MARCH 2015

Observations, Summary, and Recommendations

Preface
“This conference is not designed as a debate or paper presentations”.
It is not “about human values” – ingestion of theoretical garbage, but about understanding the nature of self, investigating into the self, becoming a better person, and living in harmony with nature and creating a society that is harmonious and sustainable.
What I shave sensed:
1. Motivation/Inspiration/the Wisdom behind??? – Sustainable wellbeing and happiness
2. What are the fundamental principles that guide/underpin UHVE experiments? - Universal, Rational, Verifiable, Leading to harmony, Humanistic (conducive to the good of humanity), and All encompassing (touching all aspects of human life)
3. What is the Goal??? - Building a humane society. A society is composed of families living in harmony and having a common goal: resolution, prosperity, fearlessness, and co-existence
4. What is the methodology??? - Holistic/comprehensive, grounded, bottom-up, empowering, process-oriented and impact-led. Self-exploratory … The lifestyle and institute culture reflects Value Based Living – right understanding and right feeling, behavior and work. Not about preaching – self exploration/investigation, developing “right understanding”.
5. What is the impact/evidence of change?? Visible on students, faculty members and their families, Deans, Vice Chancellors, members of the government, political leaders, and others members of the wider community……
6. Who are the change makers? - Passionate, inspired and committed human beings who have reflected deeply on as well as critically examined the nature of higher education today and how we could do education differently to create a humane society.
7. What about the sustainability of the initiative? The 7 models: i) the commercial model; ii) the amusement model; iii) the passive-course model; iv) the scholar-practice disconnect model; v) the researcher-practice disconnect model; vi) the silent-but-powerful model; vii) and the holistic/comprehensive/sustainable model and at minimum costs!!

This conference --
It is a gathering of distinguished individuals from 10 countries* working in various fields – academia, government, civil society, foundations, and many others. The participants include Chancellors, current Vice Chancellors, former Vice Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Heads of University Grants Commissions, Institute Directors, Champions and leaders of human values education, heads of government and non-government agencies, leaders in the justice system, professors, research scholars, thought leaders, students, and many others.

* Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Germany, Japan, Thiland, Norway
The dominant paradigm in higher education – information and skill, intellectual training, competition, profit, success … Current educational paradigm misses out on these:
Right understanding in the self of every child – is missing
The capacity to live in relationship with other human beings – is missing
The capacity to identify the need for physical facility – is missing

Hence, Anger, depression, despair, disillusionment, hopelessness, violence, aggression, psychological loneliness, sense of failure and hopelessness, violence, aggression, and suicide, are increasing.
An alternative higher educational model
Education models in South Asia can provide an alternative model to the world.
A society is composed of families living in harmony and having a common goal: resolution, prosperity, fearlessness, and co-existence – to build a humane society.


Summary and observations Day
Themes/Issues
Summary and observations


Day 1
Friday 27 Mar
The Inauguration
Her Majesty blessed the event and said that it was “significant” as coincides with Bhutan and the Bhutanese people’s quiet and calm observance of the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the 4th King, the person who pronounced that national development must be underpinned by the sustainable and wellbeing of the people. Her majesty endorsed GCBS’s initiative to promote human values. She said that we must “Do everything we can to propagate universal human values education” in higher education and that the motivation should be “Service to Others”, and “Greater Common Good”. The event all the people who’ve participated in the event are extremely fortunate indeed.

Transforming the way education is done – curricula, pedagogies, research, projects, community service, relationships
Role of leadership in higher education institutions: moral leadership; influence, not authority; modeling of values by leaders and promoting it among the staff. If it is to be sustainable and enduring, the approach should be bottom-up, not top down.
Start from the family for great impact on others; sharing within the family; improvement in the family spreads to the extended family and others in the community; “Equanimity, equality, sovereignty” (mindfulness, being in charge of the mind). Need for holistic approaches to human problems/ issues


Day 2

Sat 28 Mar
Implementing universal Human Values in Indian Universities: Outcomes, experiences, and challenges
Genesis: 2005 - 4 years of experimentation at IIIT gave other HE institutions the confidence to try it out at a larger scale; 2006 - IIT Kanpur; 2009 - UP Technical University (large sale experiment = + 580 Colleges); 2011 - Punjab Technical University; 2012: Himachal Pradesh Technical University, (HP); 2013: JNKVV, Jabalpur (MP); 2013: Collegiate Education, Andhra Pradesh; 2013: Galgotias University, Greater Noida; 2014: IIT (BHU), Varanasi
2014: Atmiya group of Institutions
Current status: 4000+ Colleges in 33 Universities in 6 states in India
The seminal books:
“Human Values and Professional Ethics”, and “Human Values and Professional Ethics” – the Teacher’s Manual” by Professor RR Gaur, Professor Rajeev Sanghal, and Professor GP Bagaria

The Bhutan experience
2013: The Royal University of Bhutan experiment – all colleges experimented within the overall framework of GNH
Inclusion of human values will be a reality in the Indian higher education system.
Panel: Extreme forms of wealth accumulation; lack of understanding of the need for balanced values for improving the quality of life is a concern; Technology can be used to destroy each other (e.g. cybercrime) ; engineering courses (compulsory or audit) should therefore be deeply imbued with human values)
Values can be taught – but who teaches is important as the teacher is the living embodiment of the values being taught in a higher education institutions.
Courses, refresher programmes, teacher development, workshops, social internships, socially relevant projects, development of nodal centres.
PTU: Impact on students – quit drugs, alcohol, started to read Rig Veda, Bhagavat Gita, secular values, etc. – Two revolutions – Green revolution, and Values Education. Newspapers wrote that the Punjab government was of the view that PTU Vice Chancellor was cutting down government revenues!!
Change in the university – Galgotias University.
PhD courses aimed to explore human values education more deeply and improve the process.

Implementing GNH value Education at the Royal University of Bhutan
Affirming what is valuable – whatever brings peace and harmony in self and others is valuable. The need to prioritize and do that which is ‘valuable’ at the right time, and postpone the superficial.
RUB Colleges: Lots of excitement initially but slower now. Students are able to things they hadn’t imagined previously. Students: Personal transformation is tangible – reduction in personal expenditures and minimizing the pressure on parents. Gaining more knowledge and greater self-knowledge and understanding clearly the purpose of life.
Even the faculty members demonstrate lots of enthusiasm initially but now the pace has slowed. Hence, the need to sustain the interest and the initiatives. Human values education as a course in engineering. Workshops are being run for the students. Stakeholders have found the students strong at team work. Students have reported that the human values course has helped them to understand their inner self. Relationships and disciplinary culture have improved in the colleges

The college environment is changing. Faculty staffs are also engaging in positive initiatives such as organic farming, waste management, community service. There is introspection, inner journeys and are in better control of themselves, of their own minds.
Faculty training is crucial. Once faculty staffs have internalized the values, then it is easier to teach it to the students.
Building a core group of people (champions) in each college is important will move the ideas forward as well as influence others and proliferate from institution to institution.

Orienting Higher Education for Balanced Societal Development with Personal and Family Development
It is important to resuscitate traditional and older ways of living, which are already there in the cultures of South Asian countries, instead of creating something new. Human values should be taught in universities since the graduates will be the agents of societal wellbeing on an international scale.
The world is facing hyper-complex problems because it doesn’t know what the consequences are going to be for the future; it is hyper-complex because of cultural complexities; it is so because of the need for transformation – personal, societal and political. The need to reorient education and research from science for society to science with society. In curricula, include four elements: Cultivate courage, creativity, and passion for life.
Higher education efforts should be to develop morally responsible human beings who are working for human wellbeing.
Human values education can promote professional ethics through developing knowledge, skills, attitude, communication, the psychological environment, and human relationships.
In the human values education programme, put students from different countries, cultures, religions, disciplines and engage them in experiential learning.

Human Education for a Human Society
Self Exploration – verify it on your own right on the basis of one’s natural acceptance. It is a process of dialogue.
The concept of development – the perception of development need to be clarified. Is development about ‘competition’, is it about accumulation of physical facility? So, there is accumulation of physical facilities in a few individuals and these few are considered important, others are not important.
Right understanding and human relationship are not identified as basic needs. Instead, gross misunderstanding today:
1. Money is everything – in every individual
2. Accumulation by any means – in few individuals
3. Domination, exploitation, fear – in society – terrorism, war
4. Mastery and exploitation – over nature – resource depletion, pollution. All these are lead to a 3 forms of madness:
Madness for consumption


6
Madness for profit
Madness for sensual pleasure

Universal human order:
Right understanding and right feelings - in every individual
Prosperity – in every family
Fearlessness – in society
Co-existence - in nature/existence

Day 3
Sunday 29 Mar
Implementing Universal Human Values at Indian Universities
There should be no disconnect between HE leadership (e.g. VCs and Deans) and people who develop curricula, teach HVE courses, run training programmmes, promote human values education, and do research on human values. Everybody engaged in this initiative should affirm its values, go through its process, and work as members of a team for a common good. Very visible impact on student – understanding of self and anger management, academic concentration, relationship with peers, family and community, “requirement analysis”, gratitude towards parents, personal consumptions
Conflict-centric approach to harmony-centric approach in higher education
Process and steps for Implementing Human Values in Higher Education
Integration of science, technology and human values is the most important challenge of our times!!
Core components of EHV: Self-exploration as the pedagogical process for EHV.
A comprehensive human values package:
Process of mentoring, self study, refreshing doses (workshops, conferences) -- advanced courses (short term strategy) -- revamp the whole education system (education is currently influenced by superficial aspects of life such as accumulation of physical facility, information and skill, competition).
Need for R&D in HVE experiments and creation of centres of excellence as well as nodal training centres for development of models, methodologies, and resources. But we need to approach research differently so that HVE initiatives are not owned through IP generation, copyright ownerships, commercialization. Research, if pursued, must be done with the aim to assess the process and impact on individuals, communities, institutions, and not for IP ownership and self-aggrandizement of talented researchers.
Commitments: Future plans for implementing Universal Human Values in Higher Education
Panelists have acknowledged the deep impact the conference has had on their own understandings of life. Values free of religious dogma and formulations inspired them to implement it in their own lives and in their own institutions. Personal commitments, institutional commitments in terms of continuing the discourse on UHVE, training staff, introducing human values education, seminar talks… use of social media, work at the grassroots level, introduction of UHVE into existing courses, promoting it among conferences and seminars, influencing university leaders, conducting research, etc