Corporate professionals are the Heart and Conscience of the society. Being that so, a corporate professional has also been obligated to perform an onerous role and responsibility of Capacity Building of the citizen by imparting meaningful education to them. He is positioned as Change Agent, called upon to instil the attitudes and values, moral as well as ethical that will transform the society for greater good. Capacity Building through education, unquestionably, is the most critical component in the development of any society.
That is the basis of any well-functioning society. Social Development is, thus, the necessary concomitant to Education. Implicitly, a professional to continue to enjoy this privileged position is also enjoined with a responsibility to make a contribution to the society as an Academician. The United Nations has defined Capacity as ‘the ability of individuals, institutions, and societies to perform functions, solve problems and set and achieve objectives in a sustainable manner.’ (UNDP, 2008). Capacity building remains one of the most challenging functions of development. UN Academic Impact has defined Capacity Building as the “process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in a fast-changing world.
” (UN Academic Impact, 1994). The Academician propels the engine of social development by nurturing and optimising the capacities of the Learners and the Society as a whole. He bridges Knowledge Gaps to push the societal transformation that is generated and sustained over time from within; transformation of this kind goes beyond performing tasks to changing mindsets and attitudes. Indisputably, the actors of the global economy are gradually moving to a knowledge-based society, where Knowledge Capital is becoming increasingly a significant contributor to various economic benefits. It is creating an ecosystem built on mutual cooperation with responsibility-driven process system. Knowledge is replacing other resources as the main driver of economic growth, and education has become the foundation for individual prosperity and social mobility.Knowledge economies are stimulated and driven by creativity and ingenuity.
Teaching in the knowledge-based society thus, demands a higher level of domain expertise ingrained with high quality analytical skill-sets. It calls for superior level of personal and intellectual maturity. In short, the responsibility of an academician is very demanding and challenging in a knowledge-based society. The Management Guru Drucker has also said the basic economic resource of society is no longer capital or labour. Instead: ‘ … it is and will be knowledge … Value is now created by ‘productivity’ and ‘innovation’, both applications of knowledge to work. The leading groups of the knowledge society will be “knowledge workers” … The economic challenge … will therefore be the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker (Drucker, 1993:8). Dr ucker declared that increasing the productivity of knowledge workers was “the most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century.
” (Wartzman, 2014)Socrates has said, the purpose of education is to prepare citizens to participate in public affairs. Social Responsibility is a personal investment in the wellbeing of others and of the planet (Berman, 1990). Social responsibility of an academician is a process that transforms the community to the next generation appropriate values, moral and ethical, requisite skill sets intertwined with cultural norms. It promotes social relationships built on interconnection, empathy and vision for common good. It should not viewed as valued outcome; it must be instrumental in the acquisition of knowledge and the development of cognitive values of the learners.
Its edifice must be laid on social self-realisation as future generators of sustainable global economy.The notion of social responsibility is more conveniently associated with the corporate world – Corporate Social Responsibility. An Academician by imparting knowledge and necessary skill-sets earns ‘Private Profit’ from the Society. By optimising his private profit, the Academician guides the society how to perfect the instruments of knowledge and encourages them to practice it for their profit. There is implicitly a conflict of interest of an academician which in this competitive world, may disturb the balance of interest of the academician with the interest of the society. This underpins the growing significance of Social Responsibility of an Academician in the knowledge-driven highly competitive market-driven economy. “Apratyaksho mahadevah; sarveshamatma mayaya pratyaksho guru rupena vartate bhakthi sidhaye” (God originates as the teacher to save his people).
This proposition, no doubt, sounds mundane and banal to the reader. In an immensely competitive knowledge-driven market economy, the responsibilities of an Academician is shrouded by his private interest. If one were to assert that it creates scope for conflict of interest in resultant outcomes – the proposition generates enhanced interest of the reader.
The article is an endeavour to capture an account for this proposition in a single frame, validating the assertion of the proposition. It is proposed to be achieved in this article on the basis of theoretical insights from the theology, philosophy, and legal perspective.Social Responsibility of an Academician has been one of the focus area of societal development during the vedic era.
Therefore, the paper begins with discourses from vedas on the role of guru. The views of some of the leading philosophers are also discussed to highlight that social responsibility of guru or Teacher or Academician has been the dominant concern of leading social thinkers. To support our views, some of the leading judicial pronouncements wherein such philosophical ideologies have been emphasized, have also been referred in this paper. The deliberations on the social morality perspective of academician’s social responsibility, which the author considers critical give much deserved dimension to the paper. The discussion on this not-much talked-about topic would have been complete without considering views of conscientious keepers of the State, to say Judiciary. The paper deliberates on some of the leading judicial pronouncements on academician’s social responsibility. The paper draws conclusion on the emerging significance of an academician in a kKnowledge-driven society for sustainable development.
Vedic InvocationsVedas are the eternal inspirations. They inspire human beings to lead a value based moral and ethical lives. They provide us with a channel, a framework wherein the iIdealism is preached for welfare of the humanity at large. Some of the vedic Iinvocations that preach us of the values of Teaching for the welfare of the society (Sunishthananda, 2005) are as follows: ‘Om. May He protect us both. May Brahman bestow upon us both* the fruit of knowledge. May we both obtain energy to acquire knowledge.
May what we both study reveal the truth. May we cherish no evil feeling towards each other. Om Peace! Peace! Peace!’ Taittriya Aranyaka, 8.1.1.
‘Live with the enlightened sage who ennoble life. Live the life of an enlightened man, die not. Live with the spirit of elevated souls; come not into the clutches of death.’ Atharva Veda, 19.27.8’O God, keep away from me that wealth which degrades me, which entangles me from all directions and withers me like a parasitic plant that withers away the tree. O supreme Lord of wealth, thy hands are golden. Bless me with that wealth which gives me peace and joy.
‘ Atharva Veda, 7.115.2.’Earn with a hundred hand and distribute with a thousand.’ Atharva Veda, 3.24.5’Blessed are the hands that support the destitute.
‘ Rig Veda, 6.18.14’May not brother despise brother.’ Atharva Veda, 3.30.3’May your prayers be common; common be your fraternity; may your minds move with one accord; may your hearts work in harmony for one goal; may you be inspired by a common ideal; I offer for you a common oblation.
May you resolve with one accord, may your hearts beat in unison; may your thoughts be harmonious, so that you may live together in happiness.’ Rig Veda, 10.191.
2-4Philosophical perspective – A Good Teacher is like a Candle’A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others’, is an old saying on the virtues of a teacher. The great philosophers have also preached and advocated of the virtuous and social responsibilities of a Teacher. Swami Vivekananda has said, “‘Our work should be mainly education, both moral and intellectual. Educate and raise the masses, and thus alone a nation is possible. Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man.
” (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda by Swami Vivekananda, Volume 4, Writings: Prose)Sri Aurobindo has said, “He does not actually train the pupil’s mind, he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages him in the process. He does not impart knowledge to him, he shows him how to acquire knowledge for himself. The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use”. (Aurobindo). According to Dr. S Radhakrishnan, a teacher “must be a committed man, committed to faith in the future of man, in the future of humanity, in the future of the country and the world.” The profession of a teacher “should not be reduced to a trade; it is a calling, a vocation, a mission.
” (Radhakrishnan). Dr. Radhakrishnan said, ‘Education should be imparted with a view to the type of society that we wish to build. We are working for a modern democracy built on the values of human dignity and equality. These are only ideals: we should make them living forces. Our vision of future should include these great principles.’ He defines, education as the instrument for social, economic and cultural change.
For social and national integration, for increasing productively, education should be properly utilised. On social aims of education, Dr. Radhakirishnan said, that man must also realise that in a society where there is social injustice, gross inequality and lack of fraternity, individual liberty cannot be preserved. It must also be borne in mind that individual freedom entails social responsibility. Education, therefore, transforms the social order by promoting a healthy nationalism and the spirit of internationalism.The success of the educational process depends considerably on the teacher, for it is the teacher who has to implant aims, and to build the character of the students. According to Laski, at bottom of the education, the quality of a university is always in direct proportion to the quality of its teacher.
A good teacher is one who knows his subject, is enthusiastic about it and one who never ceases to learn. Communication with the students and sense of commitment to his work are necessary. A good teacher, therefore, according to Dr. Radhakrishnan, is one who is objective, just, humble and is open to correction. According to Whitehead, the teacher must be a self-confident learned personman. The teacher, therefore, is primary functionary to transmit the intellectual and ethical value to the young.
He should encourage the attitude of free enquiry and rational reflections. The teacher should try to remove the leaden weights of pride and prejudice, passion and desire which are likely to cloud a student’s vision. the devoted teacher is not only concerned with the child’s intellectual development but also has the obligation to attend to his moral, emotional and social growth as well.Mahatma Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation, has stated that “a teacher cannot be without character. If he lacks it, he will be like salt without its savour.
A teacher must touch the hearts of his students. Boys imbibe more from the teacher’s own life than they do from books. If teachers impart all the knowledge in the world to their students but do not inculcate truth and purity amongst them, they will have betrayed them.” Shri Aurobindo has stated that “it is the teacher’s province to hold aloft the torch, to insist at all times and at all places that this nation of ours was founded on idealism and that whatever may be the prevailing tendencies of the times, our children shall learn to live among the sun-lit peaks.” Dr. S. Radhakrishanan has said that “we in our country look upon teacher as gurus or, as acharyas. An Acharya is one whose achar or conduct is exemplary.
He must be an example of sSadachar or good conduct. He must inspire the pupils who are entrusted to his care with love of virtue and goodness. The ideal of a true teacher is andhakaraniridhata gurur itya bhidhiyate. Andhakar is not merely intellectual ignorance, but is also spiritual blindness.
He who is able to remove that kind of spiritual blindness is called a guru. Are we deserving the noble appellation of an acharya or a guru?” Swami Vivekananda had stated that “the student should live from his very boyhood with one whose character is a blazing fire and should have before him a living example of the highest teaching. In our country, the imparting of knowledge has always been through men of renunciation. The charge of imparting knowledge should again fall upon the shoulder of Tyagis.”The future of a learning society will be bright only when the teachers are intellectually and morally well-equipped and are dedicated to the welfare of the society. And the teacher, however qualified he or she may be, will be useful to the society only if he or she loves the vocation.
The words of Henry Van Dyke, eminent American writer, which express the significance of teachers and teaching in the society are relevant here — “Ah there you have the worst paid and the best rewarded of vocations. Do not enter it unless you love it. For the vast majority of men and women, it has no promise of wealth and fame, but they to whom it is dear for its own sake are among the nobility of mankind. I sing the praise of the unknown teacher, king of himself and leader of the mankind” (qtd. in Niranjan Singh, “The Role of Teacher in a School” Sri Sathya Sai Baba says believed that teachers have to cultivate in their own hearts, the spirit of sacrifice, the virtues of charity and the awareness of divinity. Then only do they become entitled to cultivate these in the hearts of their children (Sathya Sai Education in Human Values, p.
50).Academician’s Social MoralityThe word “ethics” is derived from the Greek “ethos” (meaning “custom” or “habit”). Ethics (or Moral Philosophy) is concerned with questions of how people ought to act.
Kant, the great moral philosopher said, “one a man should act in such a way that his maximum actions could be made the maximum of a general action.” Morality of duty embodies “the most obvious demands of social living” which means basic requirements of social living whereas morality of aspiration “is the morality of good life, of excellence, of fullest realization of human powers.” The author argues that an academician is regulated by the social morality of the society he is a part of. Stuart Mill (Stuart, 1859) says, Social Morality is a set of social-moral rules that require or prohibit action that we direct to each other to engage in, or refrain from certain lines of conduct.
Social Morality has its roots in the requirements of social life, argue Strawson and Kurt Baier. Kant says, a moral imperative is a strongly-felt principle that compels a person to act (Kant, 1875). Social Morality, as understood by Baier-Strawson, has its roots in social life which is founded on social interaction in a way that are beneficial to all and make social existence possible. It should, Baier-Strawson argued, promote “peaceable, sociable, and comfortable living”.
Each person must be guided by his or her own reasoning, called Self Regulating, about the demands of morality if all are to be respected as free and equal. An Academician as an integral part and beneficiary of the societal interconnection, is bounded by Social Morality. Judicial pronouncements The social responsibility of Academician has also been emphatically upheld by judiciary in their various pronouncements. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education v.
K.S. Ganghi and Ors after deliberating on the discourses of leading social thinkers on the role of teacher, said “it is in this backdrop, therefore, that the Indian society has elevated the teacher as `Guru Brahma, Gurur Vishnu Guru Devo Maheswaraha’. As Brahma, the teacher creates knowledge, learning, wisdom and also creates out of his students, men and women, equipped with ability and knowledge, discipline and intellectualism to enable them to face the challenges of their lives. As Vishnu, the teachers is the preserver of learning. As maheswara, he destroys ignorance.
Obviously, therefore, the teacher iswas placed on the pedestal below the parents. The State has taken care of service conditions of the teacher and he owes owed dual fundamental duties to himself and to the society. As a member of the noble teaching profession and a citizen of India he should always be willing, self-disciplined, dedicated with integrity to remain ever a learner of knowledge, intelligently to articulate and communicate and imbibe in his students, as social duty, to impart education, to bring them up with discipline, inculcate to abjure violence and to develop scientific temper with a spirit of enquiry and reform constantly to rise to higher levels in any walk of life nurturing Constitutional ideals enshrined in Article 51A so as to make the students responsible citizens of the country. Thus, the teacher either individually or collectively as a community of teachers, should regenerate this dedication with a bent of spiritualism in broader perspective of the Constitutionalism with secular ideologies enshrined in the Constitution as an arm of the State to establish egalitarian social order under the rule of law.
Therefore, when the society has given such a pedestal, the conduct, character, ability and disposition of a teacher should be to transform the student into a disciplined citizen, inquisitive to learn, intellectual to pursue in any walk of life with dedication, discipline and devotion with an inquiring mind but not with blind customary beliefs. The education that is imparted by the teacher determines the level of the student for the development, prosperity and welfare of the society. The quality, competence and character of the teacher are, therefore, most significant for the efficiency of the education system as pillar of built democratic institutions and to sustain them in their later years of life as a responsible citizen in different responsibilities.
Without a dedicated and disciplined teacher, even the best of education system is bound to fail. It is, therefore, the duty of the teacher to take such care of the pupils as a careful parent would take of its children and the ordinary principle of vicarious liability would apply where negligence is that of a teacher. The age of the pupil and the nature of the activity in which he takes part, are material factors determining the degree and supervision demanded by a teacher.Teacher occupies pride of place next below the parents as he/she imparts education and disciplines the students. On receiving salary from public exchequer he/she owes social responsibility and accountability to disciple the students by total dedication and sincere teaching.
“In another case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court again reiterated that “..it is for each teacher and collectively their body to stem the rot to sustain the faith of the society reposed in them”.The Kerala High Court in Mohanan M.E vs The University of Calicut held, “…. it is also to be noticed that the Teachers have a social responsibility and their status cannot be reduced to one for mere livelihood”.
Criticality of responsibility in Knowledge-based economyThe 21st Century has been heralded as the ‘Knowledge Age.’ The global economy has transformed itself into a ‘Knowledge Economy’. A Knowledge Economy (KE) is one that utilizes knowledge as the key engine of economic growth. It is an economy where knowledge is acquired, created, disseminated and used effectively to enhance economic development. One of the four pillars of a Knowledge Economy is ‘Eeducated and skilled workers who can continuously upgrade and adapt their skills to efficiently create and use knowledge. Education and appropriate training of the population are needed to make it capable of generating, sharing, and utilising knowledge.’ (Chen, Dahlman, 2006)It is in this context of radical transformation of economic ecosystem, the role and responsibilities of an academician has also undergone a change.
The management guru while endorsing this shift has prophesied that in a Knowledge based society, ‘the challenge is productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker’. The productive assets are Knowledge Assets – the IPRs. Thus, kKnowledge is the ‘vital tool for economic growth’.
The World Bank has noted that effective and efficient of kKnowledge based tools by India and China affirm this assertion. In a knowledge-driven ecosystem, Knowledge, Information and Innovative Ideas are the ‘pull’ factors. Knowledge is increasingly becoming more critical for societal development.
ItKnowledge has replaced replacing what? as the engine of economic development; and Knowledge has become the foundation of prosperity of the mankind and social mobility. Knowledge economy has a destructive force too – private goods. This relentless pursuit of knowledge by the academician is also shrouded by the cloud of self-interest and private profit. This dilutes the societal welfare. It is therefore, imperative for the academician to inform and equip; and also guard himself against the destructive compulsions of private good. He must endeavour to promote community involvement, cultivate the dispositions of empathy and sympathy for the community as a whole.
An Academician is the Pproducer and pProvider of Kknowledge. He or sheThe Academician facilitates and intensifies the reach of knowledge to the sSociety and citizens at large. They areHe is the harbinger of economic development of the sSociety – more particularly in a kKnowledge-based economy. Besides, the Academician is bound by the social morality – he or she owes a duty to the Society, and he has to rise above his conflicting private interest to best sub serve the cause of fellow members of Society. The preaching of vedic scriptures as well of illustrious philosophers further augment the moral and ethical obligation of an aAcademician to the sSociety.
The judiciary, the conscious gatekeeper of the sSociety, in many of their benchmark pronouncements have also in no uncertain terms, asserted that an academician also has a social responsibility.