An increasing body of research calls for a fundamental redefinition of education. The question of what constitutes quality education; the meaning and purpose of education; the content of education; the process for the development of capabilities in learners for a life of service to the common good are driving this burgeoning discourse further ahead.
In this process, it is essential to critically analyse the current approach to education and to introduce radical changes commensurate with the needs of the age. One can learn from the lessons of the past and at the same time be open to new ideas. There is a great wealth of knowledge available on the importance of youth empowerment, character education and integrated learning for bringing about a change in character, mind-set and attitudes of children, adolescents and youth.
The proposed conference on Character Education and Future Impact aims at achieving the following learning outcomes:
The conference aims to bring the centrality of character education to the whole discourse on quality education. It wants to reiterate that character education cannot be treated as tangential to the process of the empowerment of children and youth for the betterment of the world.
including legislators and policymakers, school educators, principals, media, university professors, social networking sites, Faith-based organizations, as well as parents in imparting character education and empowering children, adolescents and youth to make responsible choices. Every adult can be an educator of the future generation.
This involves exploring the elements of an evolving conceptual framework that would serve as the guidelines for this dynamic discourse on education.
Date: 2-3 February 2019
Venue: World Unity Convention Centre, City Montessori School, Kanpur Road, Lucknow, India
It gives us immense pleasure in extending an invitation to you to participate in this process of joint exploration and learning. Enclosed is the concept note of the conference highlighting some of the questions that the conference would address. An affirmative response from you will be greatly appreciated. We will be happy to provide accommodation to facilitate your participation at this conference.
With warm regards
Prof. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon , President and Chief Operating Officer, CMS
Educators and stakeholders in children’s education often take antipodal positions on character education: from character being immutable, determined by ‘nature’ (innate and genetic factors), to the view that ‘nurture’ matters, i.e. that character can be shaped by education in the home, school, and society. The topic cannot be ignored – there is too much at stake.
Anti-social behavior among the youth today has devastating results in the classroom and in the wider community, and has implications for societal disintegration as the youth grow into adulthood. Some teachers bemoan that so much time is spent dealing with behavioural issues, they can barely teach and that they feel more like the police than educators. The deteriorating trend seems to have been exacerbated by complex societal factors, including the advent of social media. Despite positive aspects, social media has provided children with uncensored access to objectionable and often morally degrading material, fake news, propaganda and seductive advertising, without children having been ethically equipped to make sense of the confusing and often age-inappropriate content, and without the maturity and mental frameworks that can guide them to distinguish right from wrong. Without deliberate assistance from parents/teachers in discovering and developing their values and standards, young people also fall easy prey to ideological brainwashing and manipulation by extremist viewpoints that wish to recruit them for nefarious causes.
The above challenges would seem to provide strong justification for character education, yet most schools are inconfident about how to deliver this, or what its content could be. While Indian schools typically have some time-tabled ‘moral education’ periods, these lessons are usually not taken seriously by the teachers themselves and are frequently utilized for completing the syllabus of other seemingly more important subjects. There is a kind of fatalism that character cannot be taught.
Against this background, City Montessori School warmly welcomes you to the conference to discuss a range of important issues. In this age of machine intelligence, AI and Big Data, is it more needed than before to help young people discover their identities and their values? Can character be taught? Even if it can, is teaching it inevitably prescriptive, indoctrinating and authoritarian, and therefore best avoided? How can we do effective character education? Would it be correct to believe that if children are taught to look at the world from multiple perspectives, they will inevitably learn pro-social attitudes without having to separately teach/do ‘character education’? What is the role of social action/service in character education? Are there rigorous evaluations of the impact of different character education models that can guide schools towards particular programmes within their social contexts?
Your presence at the conference will enrich dialogue on these important topics, and I look forward greatly to welcoming you to Lucknow and to City Montessori School.
Dr Jagdish Gandhi, Founder-Manager & Dr Bharti Gandhi, Founder-Director
City Montessori School believes that education given to children must be three-fold aiming at Material, Human and Divine Education. Whatever progress nations achieve, whether technical or scientific, their survivability depends on the extent to which they preserve their noble values and principles on the path towards building their present and glorious future. Although teaching morals is a common responsibility, schools play the most important role. International Conference on Character Education and Future Impact organized by the Department of Character Education & Youth Empowerment, City Montessori School, is an event to explore the important role that character education play in improving school culture and academic achievement.
It is of great importance to teach our students the values of tolerance, initiative and dialogue, and also how to practice such values in everyday life. Lack of quality education, which includes youth empowerment, character education, moral education, global understanding, integrated learning, service, is polluting young minds with extremism, racism and hate ideologies. This has made it easy for the forces of violence to find their way into numerous minds. Such young minds lack a sense of responsibility. This is what the conference on Character Education & Future Impact attempts to address.
We believe that through various sessions of this conference, participants will interact with like-minded people to share and learn why such a conference is very important in today’s world and strategies on how to engage their students and help them develop into ethical citizens. One should not forget that every child is potentially the light of the world and each one of us can be an educator of the future generation in our own little ways.
We extend our heartiest congratulations to the Convener of the conference and Head of the Department, Mrs. Farida Vahedi and her staff for organizing an event of such a capacity and catalyzing our efforts for establishing a peaceful and just world order.
Prof. Geeta Kingdon, President & Chief Operating Officer CMS, Lucknow
Mr Roshan Gandhi Forouhi, Director of Strategy, City Montessori School
If the purpose of education is to prepare young people for their adult and working life, then there is no question that it is essential for schools to give major attention to the overall character development of children. There is indeed little point in achieving the greatest heights in academics if one is not also a well-rounded person who knows how to manage their human interactions and how to behave in society with a grounded moral compass.
Schools also have a public duty to engage meaningfully with character education, for the poor development of people’s characters is a major cause of many of society’s problems today - including, for example, the prevalence of corruption and the high rate of violence against women. The underlying fabric of a well-functioning society depends fundamentally on trust - for which character education is of course essential.
With these thoughts in mind, I am delighted that CMS is organising this Conference on Character Education and Future Impact, bringing together eminent thought leaders in the field to share learning and reach conclusions from which all schools can benefit in their endeavour to impart quality character education. I extend a hearty congratulations to Mrs Farida Vahedi and her team at the CMS Character Education and Youth Empowerment Department for organising this valuable event.
Ms Susmita Basu,
Head, Quality Assurance &
Innovations Department and Superior Principal
“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives not only the power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”- Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
The erosion of human values in our societies today has become a phenomenon. This alarming decline in the moral values of the younger generation is a matter of deep concern for parents as well as educators. In a society that is torn asunder with violence, terrorism, child abuse, molestations and murders where influence such as media and internet constantly barrage children with nefarious messages, it has become more important than ever to provide guidance and balance both at home and in the classroom in the form of character education, that will enable the child to wade through life with his virtues and values intact.
Apart from disseminating academic instructions and helping children to score well in examination, a school’s responsibility definitely espouses producing upright human beings possessing a moral compass and good habits basic to sound character which will help them to develop into ethical, responsible citizens of tomorrow.
Therefore in the recent years, there has been a lot of emphasis on the character building from primary schools all the way, up to further education and beyond, to ensure that the students succeed in achieving the ‘goals of true education’.
The International Conference on Character Education and Future Impact strives to examine the role of school educators as well as parents in imparting character education and empowering adolescent and youth to become the catalysts for change.
I take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Farida Vahedi and her team of dedicated and zealous staff for their efforts to organize this event. I am sure that this endeavor to usher a change in the mindset of adolescents and youth will forge their moral and intellectual growth paving way for the construction of a peaceful society.
Mrs Farida Vahedi, Convenor, International Conference on Character Education & Future Impact and Head, Department of Character Education and Youth Empowerment, CMS
“Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future.” They are living treasure-houses of potentialities which the present generation cannot yet dream of. They are mines “rich in gems of inestimable value”. A mine cannot draw out its own riches, rather “education can alone cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” Therefore education must be viewed as an organic process in which one generation strives with all its capacity to bring out even greater capabilities in the next generation, far greater than what it was able to reveal itself. The civilization may thus advance infinitely into the future.
It is the right of all children (0-18 years), girls and boys, to have access to equitable, quality education. Quality education, in addition to imparting knowledge and information, nurtures the right attitudes, qualities, skills and abilities for fulfilling a two-fold moral purpose — to transform oneself and to contribute to the transformation of society. In order to achieve such a profound goal, it is important to redefine education, the curriculum of education should integrate spiritual and moral concepts in all subjects — concepts that will empower individuals to understand their inherent nobility, their power and potentials to change reality, to investigate all things with the eye of justice, to make responsible choices, and to harmonize with others in collective action.
Spiritual and moral education of children and junior youth or adolescents will lay the surest foundation for bringing about fundamental changes in mindset and attitudes which will ensure the internalization of the concept of world citizenship and unity of mankind within home, the community and in larger society. A society in which “violence” will become an alien word. A task of such great magnitude calls for the Leadership of the state in fulfilling its responsibility, and for all the other stakeholders to join as partners in unified action. Meaningful participation entails open consultation at all levels, from policy making and planning to implementation, monitoring and periodic evaluation. The role of the educational institutions cannot be over emphasized. We hope that this conference on Character Education and Future Impact will set the ball rolling for series of seminars and consultations in all parts of India in order to generate the critical mass necessary for bringing about a fundamental rethinking in the field of education.