CHAPTER XXV – TOUCH POINTS OF VALUE EDUCATION
Our duty is not just to teach the subjects only but to build the character and life to the students through each lesson. In 1967 when the author inspected KV Calicut, he found a lady teacher (Just 22 years old, unmarried) teaching Science to class VII. She asked the students to lookout through the window and asked, “How do you find the Coconut tree?”. One Pupil (Girl) replied, “The Earth around the tree at the bottom has been washed off in last night’s rain, the small roots are visible. If it rains today also the tree may fall down”.
The teacher said, “Yes, correct. If the roots are not visible, then the trees will stand. If the roots become visible the trees will fall. The lady (mother) is the root of the family tree. If she becomes visible (outside the home ladies club etc.,) , then the family will go to ruin. If the lady is not visible, the family will stand solid. All of you (including me also) will get married. I want you to remember this.”
What a wonderful value education?
When the author visited the York Public School at York, U. K, the Headmaster told him, “We don’t have a separate Bible class. Everyday through each lesson, we teach our students moral education”.
In June 1962, the author was appointed Deputy Director Training (South Zone) of Ministry of Community Development Training Centre in Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore, by Sri.T.S.Avinashilingam ,Director without favouring his close relative. From this, the author learned that there is no place for favouritism or nepotism.
The tree starts rotting from the top. Person at the top should set the example. Employees bend or break ethics, if the leaders are blind to unethical behaviour or themselves indulge in it.
A teacher raised his hand to beat a student who said :
“ Don’t touch me. I have paid Rs. 20,000/- for admission. The teacher replied,
“So what, I have paid Rs. 50,000/- to get the job!
The skewed thinking of the Head and the incentive they create affect ethical behaviour. Setting a difficult task and announcing a reward may induce the staff to indulge in unethical behaviour.
Conflict of interest leads to unethical behaviour.
A Principal’s wife was a LIC agent. So, the Principal asked the probationers to take a policy if they wanted to be confirmed.
A Principal had the sports goods over invoiced and asked the P.E.T to accept them and enter into the stock book. The P.E.T had a dairy farm managed by his brother. The Principal had to buy milk from him for the school hostel at inflated rates.
A Doctor helped a Principal with free consultation and medicines for his family. At the end of the year, when the Doctor’s son did not do well in the papers. The Principal gave the student two answer books, write the answers at home and bring them. He was declared passed.
The Correspondent’s daughter was studying in the same school. In every competition, she was given a special prize even though she had not won any of the regular prizes.
When the Principal sees only what he wants to see and easily misses information when it is in his interest to remain ignorant he develops “Motivated blindness”. This leads him to unethical behaviour.
CHAPTER XXVI – BE A SHERLOCK HOLMES
If you ignore trivial mistakes, It will encourage staff to do bigger mistakes later. Better nip it in the bud. As Deputy Director, the author had to look into diaries of extension officers in the Community Development Block (Panchayat Samiti). One Agriculture Extension Officer had written in his work diary that 1000 saplings of tamarind tree has been planted on either side of the road leading from the main road to the village – 6 kilometres. The village Head man when asked said, “To my knowledge no trees were planted ”. When the Extension Officer was questioned, he said that they were planted in the afternoon when he was free and he asked the villagers to water it which they had failed to do. So, all samplings got dried up. Only when the author threatened him with a complaint to District Collector and Additional Development Commissioner, he did confess about raising false bills.
This experience helped the author to look into minor infraction. During inspection in one school, the postage expenditure seemed to be very high when the author compared the postage charge entered and the number of A4 sheets typed and put into the envelope. It was found that the dispatch assistant was consistently over stamping.
In another School, the author went for inspection a week after the Principal had returned after attending a week-long seminar. While looking into the cash book, there was a payment entry for Rupees 7000/- but when the Bank passbook was checked against that cheque, an amount of
Rupees 77000 had been debited. When the Head Clerk handed over all account registers to the author in the last period, he knew that he would discover the defalcation. So, next morning, he didn’t turn up at the school. When the peon went to his home he found the house locked. Later on, he was traced and action taken.
After getting the signature of the Principal on the cheque he had quietly added 7 before Rs. 77000/- and in figures also added seventy before seven thousand. He had left some space between Rs. and —- seven thousand. Very clever but he had left a clue. He did not, unfortunately, leave enough space to add these in the counterfoil in words and figures.
He had to reduce the size of ‘Seventy ‘and ‘7’. Every culprit leaves a clue. This is the basic axiom of investigation. Sherlock Holmes was an expert in this. Every Principal has to read all novels of Sherlock Holmes. The author found them very useful in his work.
One Principal had bribed a pharmacy sales boy to inform him what his staff purchased and for what medicines they were billed. This spying got unmasked one day when he requested a teacher to get some medicines for him. The boy asked him “Does the Principal really want these medicines or some other things and bill for those medicines as usual. He knows that you all are also doing like this”. Immediately, the teachers cornered the Principal and wrote a complaint against him to the Headquarters. A departmental enquiry was instituted against the principal.
In one school, in an excursion bus, the Principal’s son (studying in another school) also travelled. His expenses were included in the total bill and divided among all the students of this school. The excursion group leader found out that the expenses for the Principal’s son had not been deducted from the general bill. He declined to sign the expenditure statement!
In one private school, the Principal very diplomatically included a Junior teacher along with him as a member of the committee to purchase books for the library. The shop allowed a 15% discount on a purchase of Rs. 6000/-. The principal got some college books for his son out of 10 % percent discount and had 5% discount on in the bill. The junior teacher signed the bill with the Principal. After some months, the Secretary was surprised to find only 5% discount offered. On enquiry he found out the truth. Then, he dispensed with the services of both – the Principal and teacher.
Here too, the principal was the main culprit. Because a junior teacher had abetted the crimes, he also got the boot.
CHAPTER XXVIII – PREVENT VALUE ABERRATION
May H. Bazerman of Harvard Business school and Ann E. Tenb Runsel of the University of Notre Dame in their book, “Blind Spots-why we fail to do what is right and what to do about it” warn you to be aware, as a leader of your own blind spots which may permit or encourage the unethical behaviour which you are trying to stamp out.
Gnyn Sundhagul, CEO “Value Format, Reliance Retail’ has a basic slogan for his work.
“Aapki Khushi, Hamari Khushi” – “Your happiness is our happiness”
Every action of yours has to be tested on this anvil, If it will bring happiness to all – you and people working with you.
During his rounds, the author saw one primary teacher standing outside his class III A and calling out the teacher in the adjacent class III B and talking to her. The Supervisor when asked about this he said that this was a daily occurrence and she could not question him as he was the Association Unit Secretary. This was a value aberration – Failing in doing his duty and preventing others from doing her duty.
The author knew that the Supervisor was a good photographer. So, he asked her to take a long distance photo daily and write the date and time at the back. Then, he asked the Assistant Commissioner to pay a surprise visit to the Primary when she observed this drama. She silently passed by them without asking anything they saw her going silently. A couple of days later they were asked to explain their behaviour and two weeks later both were transferred.
Assistants talking in the office, nurses talking without attending to the patients, bank staff talking to each other without attending to customers, the dhobi not sticking to the time commitment, the plumber not arriving as promised, the carpenter doing a shoddy work, a tailor stitching for a difference size, a hotel server taking too much time to serve and replying rudely when asked about the delay.
All those value aberrations.
On the day the results were announced, an elderly teacher was found weeping in the staff room because only one student had failed in his class. He said, “After keeping him with me for one year, I could not make him pass”.
That is Value Consciousness!
Values are eternal and enduring. So, you will do well to draw the Value Profile of every staff. Ask them to draw a Value Profile for you and see how they perceive you. That will help you improve.
As a person desirous to uphold values, you will do well to map your fraud risks –low, medium and high level frauds that can happen. You may be aware of the petty frauds that can happen and think because of that they develop a false sense of security leading to a bigger fraud. The one who commits bigger frauds will be the people who have keenly observed you at close quarters for a long time, studied your weak points where you can be fooled.
Plot on a simple ‘Heat map’ – the possibility and importance of different types of frauds whose impact can be financial, regulatory or operational.
Toby F. Bishop and Frank E. Hydosky of the Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, Chicago, in an article in the Harvard Business Review have given a Heat Map structure.
Where values can disappear and frauds may happen in a school can be looked for in these areas:-
The other side of the Moon:-
Corruption, bribery, favouritism (preferred staff, students, parents), nepotism (favourite relatives, staff) embezzlement, defalcation, wrong account keeping, misappropriation etc., in respect of various areas such as,
- Promotion (Student/Staff )
- Recruitment, Contract staff
- Condemnation of articles
- Visits of guest lecturers. VIP, Audit and Academic inspection teams
- Conduct of camps(NCC, Scout, sports, exhibition)
- Playground and garden maintenance
- Use of special fees
- Disbursement of school scholarships
- PF loans
- LTC advances and bills
- TA bills
- Medical bills
- PF subscription
- Bank remittance
- Postal stationary
- Sale of old newspapers etc.,
- School transport
- Book store
- Uniform, badges, belts
- Noon Meals
People must know that any misdeed will be found out sooner or later. The importance of an investigation before an enquiry is its deterrent value more than the actual punishment that may follow.
Can you walk away from Tempe Temptation of any kind? The Saturn inside you always waiting to come out would you like to act in a manner you wouldn’t want anyone to know! Would you like to sweep the dust under the carpet and put on a nice flower vase on the corner shelf? Your reality shows up not by your hobnobbing with your boss but by your leading and motivating you colleagues and subordinates. Ask yourself, am I honest with my staff behind their back?
Nothing wrong as long as your mask doesn’t slip at the inopportune moment. The angel and the devil both are within you. Your leadership’s acid test is your ability to suppress the devil and let the angels shower her blessings on everyone around you.
Education confers humility, endows one with the authority to command, that will entitle one to affluence. With the help of charity and compassion this affluence can be made fruitful, and by this means, happiness in this world and peace in the next can be won.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba