VALUE EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY*
Value Education is once again selected as a theme of study at an educational arena such as this august assembly. It is a favorite preoccupation of many an educator who believes in the character formation of youth through practice and the improvement of life and mind through the cultivation of proper virtues.
There is a close connection between the aims of education and value education. Suppose a student ware to inquire whether he should aim at excellence in his studies or in athletics. One ready response might be that it depends on some intermediate aim such as a career aim. If the student is a good enough athlete to consider a career in professional sport, he might very well concentrate on sports and relegate his studies to second place and vice versa. The choice is contingent on aims or values lying outside or beyond the two between which the student is trying to establish a priority.
If all values are relative to individual taste, what is to become of social stability? What will happen to moral education if there is no settled curriculum of what is right and what is wrong? In other words, what is learned in schools may not be worthwhile if the curriculum contents do not include value education.
Before we proceed any further, it may be well to ask a question :
What is a "VALUE"? **
Today the word "value" is, in every sense, a current term, though first used in a technical sense in political economy, it was gradually incorporated into our contemporary philosophical language, where in many cases it stands for what our ancestors called "the Good".
Towards the end of the 19th century (see Nietzsche’s Magnum Opus, "The Will to Power, a Revaluation of Values"), German, English, American and French philosophers developed a variety of sometimes conflicting value theories or "axiologies". So, the term "value" is used in our contemporary culture with widespread confusion and obfuscation.
Three Definitions of "Value"
a) Subjectively, a value is the character attributed to things in so far as they are esteemed or desired by a subject or, more usually, by a given group (e.g. water has a utility value; a diamond has an exchange value, etc.) Value, thus, means the worth of something and when we know the estimate of its worth we say we have its "valuation."
b) Objectively, and categorically, it is the character attributed to things in so far as they deserve to be esteemed. The value
of things is not a fact.
c) Objectively, but hypothetically, a value is the character attributed to thins in so far as they fulfill a certain end (e.g. the
documentary value of a work of art).
Value: a Mobile Concept
The significance or meaning of "Value" is difficult to define rigorously because the word usually conveys a mobile concept, a transition from fact to principle, from the desired to the desirable, generally through the intermediary of what is commonly desired.
To this first level of judgment one can add a new judgment, equally of a critical nature, which either approves or disapproves of the commonly held opinion. This second judgment can be normative, in varying degrees, and can vary in relation to the domains envisaged.
Value and Norm
The norm, in both the concrete and the abstract sense, is the equivalent of an ideal, a rule, an aim or a model. Though rarely used in former days, the term has now become current. The three basic types of norms are respectively related to the idea of the true, the good, and the beautiful.
The ideas of the true, the good and the beautiful are philosophical foundations underlying the curriculum. While we might grant at once that a curriculum composed of the true, the good, and the beautiful is well proportioned, we are aware of the difficulties which divide men on the nature of the true, the good, and the beautiful. At the same time, we also are aware of the fact that the curriculum can be viewed either from the angle of knowledge or from the angle of value.
Here we shall confine our investigation to the role of values in the curriculum only. Furthermore, in the context of the XI th PAPE Congress, the priority of values under study will be "Education for Social Responsibility"
Education for Social Responsibility at the national level.
In 1982, the National Education Commission outlined some basic concepts and directions for the development of youth and education in social responsibility they are :
*The XI the PAPE Congress, November 28-30, 1989 (A country paper: Thailand).