Role of Family, Society, Educational Inst. – values – UPSC Ethics

Is it unethical for educational institutions to associate with political parties and political institutions? Critically comment. (200 Words)

Educational institutions have an important role at hand- to impart education in an  objective manner without any prejudice or predilections. These prejudices may be in  terms of being chauvinistic towards a particular caste, religion, race, gender or favouring  a particular political party.
Political institutions include political parties, pressure groups and movements. If an  educational institution associates itself with a particular political party or other political  institutions, their ideology may pervade the educational institution systematically. This  will give rise to skewed syllabus and a methodology of teaching, and a structural   opposition to other views. Tolerance as a virtue may not be taught in such institutions  and in extreme circumstances bigotry of ideas may prevail.
However there is an advantage in associating with political institutions. Students get an  opportunity to participate in some political activity and politics of the country may be  able to get fresh blood. The movements going on in the country, examples being equal  rights for women, political decentralisation, can inculcate several required values in  young impressionable minds of students.
Therefore, by and large, attempt must be made to innoculate an educational institution  from a particular ideology. If that is done, students can be made to participate in political  activity or certain other political institution.


How is parenting in India different than it is being practised in the West. It is found that Indian parenting methods are perceived as abusive by few countries in the West. Critically comment on this issue. (200 Words)
It is a fact that parenting techniques in India are different from those practised in the West, where it is believed that Indian parenting techniques are harsh, if not abusive. The incident in Norway (2-3 years back) where an Indian couple’s child was taken into  protective custody by Norway authorities highlights this issue. This is because of following reasons-
  1. The obvious cultural differences that persist in East and West nations. The parents here tend to be more involved in the life decisions of their wards, unlike in the West.
  2. Compared to India, children enjoy relatively more leeway in decision making in the West. Parental involvement is thereby reduced.
  3. Unlike in the West, strict discipline is a part of many religious groups in India, which converts into harshness on parent’s part if their wards do not subscribe to such standards.
  4. Parents in India tend to be more protective of their wards, even if that means compromising on their ward’s career (like, not sending children to a different state). This deprives children from taking a stand in life.
  5. Due to the patriarchal system prevalent in India, male elders (father) are deemed to be authoritative figures and children are forbidden from challenging their viewpoint for most part of their lives.
The dissimilarities are largely because of cultural and societal differences. In India, communitarianism is highly respected and individualism often takes a back seat in  familial matters. Each decision is taken by consultation and in an event when conflict  occurs, voice of elders prevails. In practices of parenting as well, parents’ predilections as  well as decisions have a profound impact on a child. This ranges from his clothes to  sometimes his choice of career as well. In contrast, west respects individualism over  community life. So when Indian society is seen from western prism, some differences are  bound to occur. However one must keep in mind that each society is shaped by a host of  historical and cultural factors. Each society is a source of knowledge and therefore must  be respected.


Why ragging in school and colleges is considered as an issue of serious concern? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Ragging in educational institutions has been a matter of concern for everyone in the country. It is not a new phenomenon. Ragging is a notorious social interaction between seniors and juniors in schools and colleges, an interaction which can take very brutal, inhuman and anti-social form at times.
The practice of familiarising beginners with their seniors has now turned into a potent tool for ill-treating and punishing poor students if they fail to obey their seniors. Under the pretext of fun, a poor student is often assaulted, sometimes even stripped and  intimidated by his seniors and this ritualised torture leaves an indelible impression on his mind. The chilling incident continues to haunt him throughout his life, and he  unknowingly develops various psychological disorders.
After experiencing the evil of ragging, a student develops a feeling of revenge for his ‘unjustified harassment’ and derives pleasure in ragging his juniors on his turn. So the trend goes on and students continue to suffer. The situation sometimes turns so bad that it compels the ragging victim to commit suicide. Some victims tend to even lose their studies and career as such. Thus, Ragging is a systematized form of Human Rights abuse.
The incidents of ragging have increased over the past few years. Even some of the highly reputed colleges and institutions have a terrible history of ragging. Lack of moral values and discipline has been the main reasons for this spurt. Various regulatory bodies have spelled out measures to contain the menace of ragging in the educational institutions, and the Apex court of the country has also given guidelines for preventing this practice in the educational institutions. Following Supreme Court orders a National Anti-Ragging  Helpline was launched by the Indian Government.


In your opinion, what are the characteristics of an ideal teacher? Discuss with examples how important is the role of teachers in inculcating values in children. (200 Words)
A quintessential teacher has following attributes:
  1. A student himself: An ideal teacher always strives to learn and evolve his understanding of the subjects. Such a teacher is in a constant pursuit to be well versed in the subjects he teaches.
  2. Open to questions: Such a teacher appreciates the values of inquisitiveness in the society. He or she knows that curiosity should be appreciated and guided in right directions.
  3. Optimistic and lively personality: Such a teacher always tries to make his students remain hopeful and full of zeal. Dull and uninterested mind can never lead a nation to glory. A good teacher should inspire hope, ignite the minds and instill a love for learning.
  4. Creative: A teacher must try to make his students never lose interest in the subject. Such a teacher always connects the subjects with real life practical examples. For him a subject is much beyond the four walls of classroom.
After parents, teachers are a strongest contact of a student in his or her forming years. In words of APJ Kalam, there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher. They carry on their shoulders, a critical responsibility of shaping the future of mankind. By instilling values of compassion, empathy, responsibility, truthfulness through words and actions,  teachers can build up a strong foundation for a strong society. It is for this reason, in our prayers and scriptures, “guru” has been given a status equal god.


With suitable examples differentiate between hate speech and free speech. Do you think academic institutions should allow political and religious debates to take place among student groups in their campuses? Critically comment. (200 Words)
Free speech stands for freedom to express our own views without any fear of repression/subjugation whereas hate speech is an expression of our view which is deliberated against any other person or community and tries to insult or defame it, stereotypes are being developed and used to prove their point.
For example “I want to build Ram temple in Ayodhya” is free speech. But saying “we need to kill Islam in India and make India a Hindu nation” is a hate speech as it insults a particular community.
Political and religious debates among the students especially college going should be allowed as It motivates youth to debate issues of social and political importance and deepens the democracy. It develops new leaders who have to run the country in long run.
Only thing we need to take care is that there debates do not become critical on issues like caste and religion and contain themselves till finding solution for betterment of societal problems. So it is desired that a proper guidelines are laid as to what these organizations or debates are meant to, so that they can work in more effective manner.


The practice of accepting or giving dowry is prevalent in Indian society despite the spread of education and awareness. Some argue that if dowry is given as a goodwill gesture it is not unethical or immoral. Some justify taking dowry on the grounds that their son is well educated and settled thanks to the money they have spent on him and dowry is a means to get back that money; some even say that dowry is needed to look after their daughter-in-law as she would be staying either with them or with their son.
Do you consider the practice of dowry as unethical and immoral? Justify your answer. (200 Words)
Dowry is the manifestation of undignified status of Women in society. Giving dowry is unethical and immoral because-
  1. It equates the value of person with money. It treats money as instrumental in judging the worth of person. In this case dowry is provided so that bride can live at their home.
  2. Further it is Emotional coercion of the girl parents. Sometimes they have to sell their property and other valuable to arrange money. Even this is the cause behind perpetual poverty for some families.
  3. In today’s environment when India is on global pedestal and where girl are equal to men in all aspect, this is inhumane , archaic and undignified for the Image of women and  antithetical for entire Human society
  4. Moreover it is violation of constitutional provisions like Equality, liberty, fraternity assuring dignity of individual and Unity and integrity of nation.
  5. Further asking for dowry is a punishable offence under IPC section-498 A
  6. It gives rise to greediness which results in continuous demand of dowry even after marriage and can also result in incidents like domestic violence harassment to bride when her family fails to fulfil the demands.
  7. It is also one of the foremost reasons for problems like female foeticide, low sex ratio as girl is being treated as burden for the family owing to huge expenditure on her marriage, education etc.
  8. Many a times dowry is also reason for lower education in case of girls where parents opt of spending equivalent money on girl’s marriage rather than her education.
However some people try to justify dowry on following grounds:-
  1. They argue that their son is educated and settled as they have spent money on their son and dowry is a means to get back that money.
  2. Further they attempt to justify dowry on the grounds that it is needed to look after their daughter-in law
  3. There is an urgent need to eradicate this problem. Enhanced efforts of central and state governments in tandem in the directions of legislations and their strict enforcement along with awareness and changing the mindset of the society is the way forward to this problem.


These days some disturbing news such as molestation and rape of school children by teachers are being reported by media. In your opinion, what are the causes of such incidents? What measures will you suggest to stop such incidents in schools? Discuss. (200 Words)
Reasons for such incidents includes:-
  1. Erosion of moral values among teachers and society.
  2. Low Chances of getting caught and convicted: Loss of fear conviction owing to judicial delays along with teacher threatening the child of dire consequences like failing them in academics in case he/she reports such incident. Due to this many a times child prefers to keep quiet owing to fear of failure and academic pressure.
  3. Further many a times school administration also takes the side of the accused teacher who also puts pressure on the parents for a compromise in order to save the reputation of the school.
  4. Parents also at times try not to raise the issue owing to reputation of the family in the society especially in case of girls.
  5. Easy availability of pornography from various resources also give rise of such incidents to a certain extent as cited by many studies in the field.
Measures to stop such incidents:-
  1. Raising awareness and providing special education about the importance of teacher-student relationship. The importance of confidence that the students have on their teacher needs to be understood by the teachers which they should not break at any cost. (dignity of teachers position)
  2. Stringent action needs to be taken both by school administration and parents without thinking of their reputation and society respectively.
  3. Checking past history of the teachers before hiring them. An idea of character certificate can be initiated at the universal level.
  4. Social boycott to such teachers along with firing them from job.
  5. Installing CCTV camera in school premises wherever possible along with having a undercover team of vigilance in the school to report such incidents.
  6. Lastly self defence training can be provided to the students along with giving them directions how to act in various situations.
  7. Raising awareness of students. Parents should maintain friendly communication with children.


Now and then we keep reading in media about suicides committed by students not able to cope up with pressure of studies and competition. Do you think our education system is putting undue pressure on students and affecting their creativity? Critically comment and also examine the role of family and society in helping students manage pressures. (200 Words)
Suicide is a crude reality of Human Society and, a manifestation of loss of hope from everywhere including from oneself. Current state of educational system:
  1. Our education infrastructure is characterized by too few seats and too many candidates – leading to fierce competition.
  2. The current system of teaching and evaluation which is mechanistic and encourages rote-learning and discourages innovation and critical thinking.
  3. Indiscriminately high focus on formal education and neglect on developing other faculties of human life [are referred to as extra-curricular activities].
  4. Absence of counselors in educational institutes. Further, in today’s educational culture, discussing one’s problems is seen as stigma and sign of weakness.
However, not only our education system, but even our family in particular and society in general are also guilty:
  1. Viewing education only as an instrumental value in getting jobs rather than appreciating its inherent value and as a process of learning
  2. The fate of child is decided before he is born. He is supposed to choose from a very narrow set of conventional careers rather than pursuing his or her own interests.
  3. Creating a wedge between Science and Arts Subjects. While pursuing Science subjects are seen as sign of strength and high aptitude, Arts subjects are seen as sign of weakness and low aptitude. (Education as a means to earn living)
  4. Increasing comparison between students and increasing peer pressure to perform in examinations
Role of family and Society:
  1. Allowing individuals to pursue their own interests;
  2. Giving equal emphasis to all streams of education
  3. Facilitating an ambiance of openness and encouraging them to discuss their problems;
  4. Restraining from emphasizing too much on performance in exams Above all being receptive to failures as much as to success


“We are reducing the child into becoming fake copies of what we aspire for rather than helping the child become a master of his or her own soul.” In your opinion what an ideal education should constitute and aim for? Critically analyse. (200 Words)
Recent pictures of mass cheating in State board examination in Bihar on social, print & electronic media only reflect the decadal state of education in our country; Failure of our educational system has led to over-reliance on requisite certifications; manifesting into an enhanced pressure to perform well in examinations; leading to:
  1. Distorted focus: emphasis is on ends and not on means; promoting usage of unfair means; such early compromise on morals & ethics leads is reflected through widespread corruption in society.
  2. Hampers creative & original thinking: as stress is more on mugging up/cheating just to clear the exam and not on holistic understanding of subject matter.
  3. Inability to handle pressure: has led to growing instances of student suicides.
An ideal education system should:
  1. Inspires creative thinking: emphasis on utilizing one’s own mind to come up with solutions rather than mere copy pasting
  2. Embraces human values: including broader morals & ethics; learn
  3. ng to respect means more than ends; create citizens filled with self-confidence ready to take on the world not mere drones.
  4. Our education systems should aim to bring out the best in an individual by harmonizing his/her intellectual, moral & emotional self; focus should be on empowering the individual who can efficiently utilize the opportunities at hand to come up with meaningful solutions.


Has India come to accept violence as part of its societal feature? In the light of increasing violence against vulnerable sections of the society, critically comment. (200 Words)
Violence is a multidimensional phenomenon and it can take various forms ranging from Physical action to mental consumption. In Indian society ordained with baggage of colonial past violence is omnipresent.
Violence can be structural in form of discrimination on basis of caste, creed, colour, sex, ethnicity restricting vulnerable groups access to vital services like Education, Health and so on. Further Violence alternatively can take form of consumption by the onlookers as a routine affair aggravated by tabloid journalism and disproportionate sense of vigilantism in the Society. Society as a whole normalizes and naturalizes the violent behaviour. Thereby it suffers not because of violence of bad people but silence of good people.
Moreover the widespread inequity is seen as new normal by those who are not affected by it. For ex- Gender division of labour is seen as normal by some male member and found unquestionable acceptance in few women. This behaviour could partly be attributed to mentality of people and partly to overlooking of values of equality, fairness, justice, truth, beauty, happiness. However there needs to be a reorientation of societal attitude by leaders thereby reforming the human mind and save the entire society from frankstein of violence.


“The three key societal members who can make a difference are father, mother and teacher” -A P J Abdul Kalam.
What role does society at large play vis-à-vis these individuals in creating an ethical individual? (150 Words)
Culture is what we learn from our parents, family, friends, peers, and schools. It is shared, not biologically determined.
Home environment is important in developing the personality of the child. Father and mother (parents) play vital role in character development of child. They propagate value such as Belongingness, Flexibility, Respect, Honesty, Forgiveness, Generosity, curiosity, and Communication, these values expose child to set the course for their lives.
Same way teacher plays vital role, because education is necessarily a process of inculcating values to equip the learner to lead a life. – A kind of life that is satisfying to
the individual in accordance with the cherished values and ideals of the society.
Parents are primary agency for development and Teachers are secondary agency. These two agencies working in tandem gives person tertiary quality as Plato mentioned: ―The mark of an educated person is the willingness to use one‘s knowledge and skills to solve the problems of society



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