Inculcation of values among the students can play a very important role by shielding them from negative influences which may be caused by present-day gross consumerism and an aggressive rush for self-fulfilment. The need for values education in today’s context cannot be overemphasized.
In the Indian scenario, for example, we are gradually moving from a joint family system to a nuclear family system. Also, there is a high degree of stress, especially in the younger generation, owing to the fast-paced modern-day lifestyle. There is a proliferation of vast amounts of information because of the internet and media, and this may cause negative impacts, mainly in the more impressionable young minds, unless and until they have something robust to anchor upon. It is here that inculcation of values among the students can play a very important role by shielding them from all such influences.
Swami Vivekananda envisaged ‘man-making’ as the cornerstone for the all- round development of the people. He called for a holistic approach to give shape to human personality. His concept provides the key to developing socially responsible and able citizens. As societal challenges today are too crucial to be negotiated with only academics, it demands a lot more preparedness to live up to society’s expectations. One has to be physically, mentally, morally strong enough to fit into the world today. It is because of the dearth of these essentials that degeneration has long been seeping into the social fabric of our country.
If we are to build up a fairer society, in which opportunity is shared more widely and potentials are utilized in a balanced way, we must equip the young people with psycho-social ability and professional skill, regardless of their background. Education has to be made the prime mover of our society to enable people to face day-to-day challenges and inculcate the feeling of mutual help.
Value education & Character building is regarded as a “core business”, in all our institutions. Given equal status with other areas and embedded in policies and student welfare practices. To name the few key dimensions which demonstrated a continuous improvement as a result of the character-building education in our institutions are:
- Student academic diligence.
- Student and teacher relationship and wellbeing; and,
- To prepare the youth for citizenship
- To focus on character-building
- To help develop mental and moral resilience
- To help the parents and families to motivate the children to imbibe values for a healthy living.
Keeping those objectivities in sight we have started this project. VAP is an extension to Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa (GAP) so that the poor and needy children passing out of GAP can continue their education at least up to Higher Secondary level.
- The VAP is a composite programme having different activities for the physical, mental and intellectual development of young boys and girls,
- The age group is between 12–16 years.
- VAP is conducted only from Class VI/VII up to Class X.
- This programme is conducted daily for about 2 – 3 hours (about 25 days in a month), in the morning and/or evening.
- The maximum number of students per unit (i.e. from Class VI/VII up to Class X) shall be 50 and in any case, should not increase by 10 per class.
When values are explicitly endorsed, acknowledged and ‘valued’ within an institution’s culture, it is incumbent on institutions to see the change in both benefactors and recipients.
The VAP project provides an opportunity to hundreds of underprivileged children – irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion, etc., hailed from city slums and interior villages in different parts of India. The project created an immense impact on these children, their parents and localities.
The VAP was implemented in 2018 with financial assistance from the Lillian Benzinger Endowment Fund created by Mr. Benzinger in memory of his mother who was associated with the Vedanta Society of San Francisco.
To continue a total of about 6 VAP units, continual financial assistance is very much required. These VAP units cover about 300 underprivileged children – born in poverty-stricken families of city slums and interior villages. Such areas are surveyed before selecting the children, by our monks and volunteers. One VAP unit covers about 50 underprivileged children. Yearly about Rs. 3.0 Lakhs is required to provide the aforesaid moderate benefits to the children of one VAP unit.
Implementation through the branch centres: The said VAP units are run through our branch centres situated in different parts of India. Our monks and volunteers look after this project with service-mindedness. Their loving attention and care gradually unfold the potentialities of uncared-for children.
Role of the Headquarters: These VAP units are monitored and funded through our Headquarters from where the yearly required funds are disbursed to the implementing branch centres in instalments. Hence, to run the VAP units as a whole, the financial assistance of the service-minded individuals and philanthropic organisations is hereby sincerely sought.
The monitoring of the VAP is not only based on the reports and accounts sent by our centres from time to time. It is also done through direct information from the project sites. A team of monks from the Headquarters visits the VAP-implementing places to oversee the activities and to collect first-hand information. If required, the concerned persons are advised about the changes required in the project in respect of the VAP guidelines sent to them. Proper implementation of VAP is thus ensured.
The positive impact of the VAP project impels us to continue it. So, we would like to run the VAP in future as long as we get the required funds. The financial help of any individual and organisation to our Mission for the VAP Project may come in the form of Corpus Fund the interest of which will be utilized for running the VAP units.
The corporate houses may provide their CSR funds to our Mission in running as many VAP units as possible for some years, and it will be a great help in continuing this noble project. For any query regarding the GAP Project, please feel free to write to: [email protected]
Every education is, in a sense, values education. ‘Value less’ or ‘value neutral’ education is a contradiction in terms, given the meanings of ‘value’ and ‘education’. Education, in its aims, curriculum and methods, is inseparably linked with values. We, through our schools, colleges and institutions are trying to devote our energy and resources to promote character values and behaviours in our students. VAP is such an attempt. So, kindly help us sustain the VAP project.