Role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values

If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher. – APJ Abdul Kalam

As goes the family, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live – Pope John Paul II


Parents are the primary educators of children who are responsible for providing primary moral education. The parental influences on the psyche of children’s’ moral development play a huge role. Let us understand the process of value inculcation through parental influences;

  • Induction (Initial Experience) – Philosophers often argue that the behaviour of parents is what shapes up the behaviour of children. Thus, parents need to practice what they preach and then preach what they practice.
  •  Nurturing and support – Authoritative Parenting is essential in order to foster self-awareness, respect and social sensitivity along with authority and respect for rules.
  •  Modelling – This requires the parents to teach their kids by setting an example. For instance, respecting the kids is essential to teach them respect.
  • Enforcement Mechanism – Good behaviour of the child must be rewarded but only with intangible things such as Hugging, Appreciation etc. This will keep him motivated and will help him stick to being at his best behaviour always.
  • Democratic parenting – It helps in the development of cognitive reasoning in the child so he could make reasonable choices at present or in future.
  • Moral lessons – It has long lasting impact on children psyche and also helps in the development of moral reasoning thereby one could differentiate between morally appropriate and inappropriate behaviours. For example, telling stories from Mahabharata, Ramayana etc.
  • Family structure and social influence – In joint family gatherings, child learns the basic family values such as courtesy, respect, mutual care and affection etc.
  • Traditional values – Practice of traditional values by family member is learned by children through observational learning. For example, Honourable treatment given to female members of family inculcates the value of treating women fairly in the child.



  • Source of regressive values – Family, being an informal institution is largely a source of regressive values. For examples, In India, Parents teach their kids to be in the company of similar identity (Religion, caste etc.)
  • Conflicting values – Different moral lessons by various family members may lead to conflict in formation of value system. For instance, orthodox in a family will take conservative values whereas democratic will preach liberal values.
  • Pretending Parents – Parents due to various reasons fail to adhere to teaching themselves that they imparted to their kids. Children easily recognizes this hypocrisy and lose faith in the preaching imparted by parents. For example, Parents teach the value of love and care but they themselves fight with their relatives over petty issues.
  • Decline in joint family – Change in Family structure is weakening the process of value inculcation through family. Parents spend very less time with their kids, in addition, rise of technology has significantly decreased the interaction between parent and child.
  • Lack of emotional and spiritual values – In todays’ world, parents are imparting value of meritocracy in brute sense while neglecting emotional and spiritual aspects of human development. This has causing unbalanced human development.
  • Lack of Democratic Parenting – Lack of autonomy granted to children due to prevalence of authoritative parenting impacts the process of value inculcation. This leads to only external acceptance of values but not internalized process which leads to the development of weak value framework.

“Intelligence plus character that is the true goal of education.”– Martin Luther King

Kothari commission has rightly mentioned that “Destiny of nation is being shaped in her classroom”. What we learn in the class room that should be reflected through our behaviour in the society. Some of ways through which value inculcation among students can be done by educational institutions;

  • Curriculum and discipline of Moral Philosophy – School curriculums must have lessons on moral issues and a subject of moral philosophy. This will impart theoretical knowledge on moral philosophy to students so they can practice them in personal life. For examples, Gandhi Seven Sins, lessons on Indian and western philosophical traditions will be helpful in order to unleash moral faculty of students.
  • Observation learning and peer influence – Student generally observes their peer group, teachers etc. in school and learn from their behaviour. For example, one who gets into the company of bad boys may start learning in appropriate behaviours.
  • Visual Perception – Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment by processing different information such as symbols, images, drawings, charts etc. It is also powerful tools for communication of attitudes and values among the students.
  • Anecdotes – Anecdotes are the real life experiences which portray genuine human feelings and expressions. This may create a lasting impression on a student’s mind. For examples, sharing anecdotes from the lives of Gandhi, Lincoln etc. may inspire children to live virtuous life.
  • Group activity – Group activity includes role playing, games, group discussion, group projects etc. Through these activities, students learn the value of team spirit, co-operation etc.
  • Dialectical style – Socrates was the founder of this style which helps in negative hypothesis elimination. For example, discussion and debate among peer groups help in improve moral faculty of the students.
  • Social control – Schools are responsible for teaching values such as discipline, respect, obedience etc. Schools teach conformity by encouraging young people to be good students, hardworking future workers, and law-abiding citizens.
  • Cultural Innovation – Educational institutions create and transmit cultural values. The teacher does not transmit the same knowledge but by adding his experience he transmits updated values.
  • Social Integration – Educational institution moulds a diverse population into a unified society. It creates social organization in the society by harmonizing the attitudes, ideas, customs and sentiments of the people which is quite important in nations with social diversity like India.
  • Social Placement – Educational institution enhances meritocracy by rewarding ability and effort regardless of social background and provides a path to upward social mobility
  • Enforcement mechanism – Schools, being the formal place of socialization have strong enforcement mechanism wherein students are rewarded for pro-moral behaviours and punished strictly for immoral behaviours. For example, Cheating in examination is heavily punished by schools and those who top the examination are rewarded in front of everyone.


  • Lack of value education – Most of the school curriculums aimed towards imparting technical skills while the moral teachings are largely ignored. For example, Focus is more towards teaching applications of Artificial intelligence, genetic editing technologies etc. but moral concerns associated with it, is largely ignored.
  • Religious Educational institutions – Such as Madarsa and Right wing schools are alleged to impart improper values among students. For example, various Madrassa are found to inculcate ‘Jihadist tendencies’ among students.
  • Politicization of curriculums – Recent debates surrounding changes of curriculum or alleged attempt of rewriting the history. For example, controversy surrounding accounts on Veer Savarkar and Tipu Sultan in history books are seen as an attempt to communalise school curriculums.
  • Methodology of teaching – Learning through observation, activity and experiences are largely ignored. This causes only the cognitive development of students instead of moral and spiritual development.
  • Educational institutions as industrial hubs – In the Market society as Michael Sandel points out, even basic necessities are put on scale. Even Education institutions are working as industrial establishments working solely with money mindedness. This is causing decline in the quality of education, in addition, there is rising inequality in terms of accessibility and affordability of quality education.
  • Conflicting values – Institutions such as family and society may have an overriding effect what a child learns in school. For example, Children are taught value of secularism in schools but at home their parents may preach them communal values.
  • Culture and Religion – Religion and culture are more or less interlinked and their codes are most influential factor in value inculcation through societal channels. For instance, Indian value of Tolerance and Mutual acceptance is heavily drawn from Hindu texts.
  • Tradition and customs – These are the basic essence of any societal setup. Some of the underlying values behind tradition and custom are loyalty (Raksha-bandhan), Belongingness (Holi) etc.
  • Political setup – This may be either Democratic or autocratic, based on the nature of political state, suitable values are transmitted among citizens. Though sometimes, Politics of other state can influence our values towards incumbent setup. For example, Recent protests in Hongkong for democratic rights despite being an autonomous region of China.
  • Economy – Economic setup of the society too influences values of members of the society. For instance, socialist economy promotes the value of equity whereas market economy inculcates values of creativity and competition.
  • Mass Media – In the digital age, this assumes higher significance. Recent controversy surrounding social media companies leaking data to private firms in order to analyse the behaviour of voters for Political benefits (Cambridge Analytica case). This is a double edge sword where one can learn the value of togetherness, belongingness etc. (#Metoo movement) or can spread hate and communal feelings (Recent Islamophobic twitter trends).
  • Civil society – Civil society mobilize people based on a common cause and promote their cause using media, demonstrations etc. and thus, influence people’s values. For instance, MKSS movement which led to RTI Act, 2005 in India inculcated the value of openness and transparency in public life.
  • Leadership – Leaders mould people’s attitudes through persuasion or demonstration effect. For example, celebrities affect people’s values in terms of their dressing, eating, behaviour etc.



  •  Diversity of values – In a multi-cultural society like India, there are tons of diverging values across cultures. For instance, Jainism advocates strict vegetarianism whereas other religions doesn’t prohibit eating non-veg foods.
  • Societal morality – Mostly driven by traditions and customs. Several of its tenets are against the liberal sentiments and constitutional morality. For instance, Institution of Khap Panchyat in North Indian states punishes those adults who engages in love marriage or inter-caste marriages.
  • Role models – Socio-Religious institutions and leaders are losing credibility due to involvement in immoral activities. Either people don’t trust them or some blind followers goes any extent to defend the immorality. For instance, various religious leaders are accused of sexual harassment of minor girls.
  • Vested interest – Social institutions are often driven by varied form of socio-economic-political interest. They promote those values that are status-quoist in nature since slight amount of deviation may bring radical changes in society and these institutions may lose their bread and butter. For instance, many right wing organisations advocate that women should only do caring work and should not join workforce.
  • Social boycott – Social institutions apply highly irrational enforcement mechanism to punish those who deviate from social norms. Most of the time, it turns out be counter-productive. For instance, growth of Naxalism movement may be considered as a reaction by lower caste people to the atrocities committed by Upper-caste people on them. Thus, social boycott doesn’t help in the process of socialization but causes instability in social dynamics.