Teaching Children That Dishonesty Is Ok?

In their misplaced ambition, are Indian parents teaching children that dishonesty is ok?

“One thousand students, between the ages of 13 and 18, were surveyed. The psychological profile that emerges is both worrying and encouraging”.

This is what Samar Khurshid has to say on a survey conducted by the Hindustan Times and reported in the 29th July 2012 edition of the news paper. The article explored different aspects but I must say that I was rather disturbed on learning that 70% of our youngsters consider it alright to resort to dishonesty to succeed in life. An old fashioned grandmother like me would not be able to accept the truth staring at our face. What are we teaching our youngsters?

The survey says that today’s youth come across as confident and self assured. Why then is the suicide rate among youngsters on the rise? Something is seriously wrong I feel. I really would like to believe that I am over reacting. May be I am. And why not? What I see around me is not very encouraging.

Take the example of my house maid’s son. He failed his X boards but told his mother that he had passed. She had hoped that he would work as a peon in a bank, Government College or some such well paying organization that promised job security. She caught hold of someone working in LIC who offered to take his application and ask her senior to have a look at it. If his resume was satisfactory he could recommend his name for a temporary job in the organization. If he showed promise he could be given a permanent assignment later. It was only when the mother pestered him to at least meet the person concerned with his mark sheet that the boy revealed that he had failed his exam. My maid was shattered but refrained from saying anything to him fearing that he may run away from home or fall into a river and commit suicide. I wonder if this kind of fear among parents actually encourages children to think that they can be dishonest and get away with it.

At a seminar in our college an eminent educationist from a B. Ed. college addressed the audience as the plenary speaker. He spoke of introducing online class rooms and training teachers to be techno savvy but the emphasis on ethics and morals and value education seemed to have gone amiss in his presentation. When the session was opened for questions from the audience I wanted to know if teachers ought not to be trained to impart values to their students. I quoted the example of teachers who helped children who went to them for private tuitions in a subject not only gave them questions that they had set for an examination but also procured question papers from other teachers for the purpose. Students being smart passed on these questions to their friends. When schools prohibited teachers from coaching students from their own schools they got in touch with teachers from other schools and a link for exchanging question papers was established.

I insisted that I had received first hand information from a parent whose son had been thus obliged. The speaker thought for a moment and asked me what I would do if my son came to me with such an offer. I had to admit that my son would not have the courage to even suggest that he wished to take tuitions for the purpose and I would not mind if he was in the middle order but would rather see to it that he worked hard for the grades that he obtained.

The speaker then explained that misplaced ambition among parents who want their wards to shine at the cost of resorting to dishonest means were the root cause for their children’s perception that it was alright to be dishonest to attain their goal. As for teachers he felt that they too were part of a society that has learnt to justify corruption. This when coupled with a general lack of values in their families led to the acceptance of corrupt practices.
I must admit that I could not argue against the logic in his words. The seminar took place three months before the article was published but I was surprised the survey threw up the result that was discussed in the seminar following my question. Society is what we make it. It is up to us whether we wish to make it or break it.


About the Author

Hip Grandma

The Hip Grandma lives in a small industrial town called Jamshedpur and despite all its shortcomings, she would rather not shift anywhere! She began her career at a local women’s college for two reasons: read more...

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