Published On:30 June 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Realizing the importance of moral education

By Md. Abdullah Al Helal

Moral is defined as right conduct, not only in our immediate social relations, but also in our dealings with our fellow citizens and with the whole of human race. It is based upon the possession of clear ideals as to what actions are right and what are wrong and the determination of our conduct by a constant reference to those ideals. People with a strong sense of morality generally are considered good or thoughtful types of people, with moral knowledge already ingrained from an early age. Some people, depending on how they are brought up, don't have a strong moral compass, and have no problem hurting people physically or emotionally. People lacking morals may say or do things to people that are cruel, calculating and uncalled for.

Moral education is becoming an increasingly popular topic among the conscious people in the recent periods. Media reports of increased violent juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, and suicide have caused many to declare a moral crisis in our nation. To sketch an example, Jean Piaget is among the first psychologists whose work remains directly relevant to contemporary theories of moral development. In his writing, he focused specifically on the moral lives of children, studying the way children play games in order to learn more about children's beliefs about right and wrong. According to Piaget, all development emerges from action; that is to say, individuals construct and reconstruct their knowledge of the world as a result of interactions with the environment. Based on his observations of children's application of rules when playing, Piaget determined that morality, too, could be considered a developmental process.

In fact, we are now faced with such kind of students who are growing up with the Internet age, compared with students in the traditional sense their vision is broader and more extensive access to information. Schools and teachers are no longer their only source of information and sources of influence. As a new generation of young people, they are no longer blind obedience to the authority of teachers and parents only rather they are assertive and independent learners which pose a serious challenge for the present day teachers. In this perspective, imparting moral education to the present day learners gains ground.

Doubtedless, moral education is the essential building block of our character and nature and the sum total of our character and our nature is what we all are as human beings. They are the very basis of distinction between a human being and other creatures, and also it has lifted our species above its origin. Moral education gives us a sense of understanding things and enabling us to choose between what is right and what is wrong. A man without moral values is like a lost ball in the high weeds.

Moral education is extremely important for overall well-being of a man which is produced from religious value and consisted of honesty, compassion, courage, modesty and forgiveness.

Honesty makes respectable. Compassion makes sympathetic to others. Courage gives the bravery to overcome life’s challenges. Modesty keeps focused and humble. Forgiveness allows to be emotionally stable because you don’t hold onto anger and resentment. Along with, effective moral education helps people to understand and apply values such as care, doing your best, fair go, freedom, trustworthiness, integrity, respect, responsibility, understanding, tolerance etc.

Moral education enables children and young people to explore the world’s major religions and views which are independent of religious belief and to consider the challenges posed by these beliefs and values in one hand and supports them in developing and reflecting upon their values and their capacity for moral judgment on others. This awareness and appreciation will assist in countering prejudice and intolerance as children and young people consider issues such as sectarianism and discrimination more broadly. The experience and outcomes of moral education lead children and young people far beyond the local context to national and international contexts.

In addition, moral education plays a major role in developing our young people’s understanding of citizenship. Active participation in the life of their school and local community, through moral education courses, can enable them to experience a sense of personal responsibility for themselves and others. Engaging with the beliefs, values and traditions of the world’s religions and philosophies can challenge young people to think more deeply about their own beliefs and values. This is an aspect of learning which can be further developed through effective teaching in moral education. It provides a wide range of learning experiences which promote links with the home and family life.

Apart from these, moral education is needed to strengthen social harmony, to encourage cultural development, to instill democratic qualities and to combat social evils and injustice. Moral education can strengthen peoples' self esteem, optimism and commitment to personal fulfillment. It is needed to give direction to one's social, moral and spiritual development, thus to bring quality to life.

From the above the discussion, we can consider moral education as an umbrella term for two quite different tasks and approaches. The first, which might better be called moral “socialization” or “training,” is the task of nurturing in children those virtues and values that make them good people. Of course, good people can make bad judgments; it's often not easy to know what is morally right. The second task of moral education is to provide people with the intellectual resources that enable them to make informed and responsible judgments about difficult matters of moral importance.

The cruel reality is that, our present system of education is geared towards producing technocrats, scientists of the highest caliber. But the development of morality is receiving less attention. Every year hundreds of thousands of students are churning out from our schools, colleges and universities who are experts in the fields of science, art, commerce or technology, teaching but apart from moral character. Despite being higher educated, involvement is found with corruption, illegal business and numerous anti social activities. Not only the government officials, but all educated communities whether doctor, engineer, teacher or others who have opportunity to be involved in corruption or gaining interest beyond illegal way, do not hesitate to do so. It proves that our existing education system is absolutely failed to create morality in a person. The fundamental cause is absence of moral education. We give them materialistic education, not moral one. But until and unless moral education is imparted to the students the country cannot expect true service from them.

If we pay attention to past history, it shows that, during the British regime colonial education is treated as the era of molding moral education. The British government introduced their education system for their self interest in the Indian sub continent. After framing the education system

Lord Macaulay, founder of the English education system, quoted, “being educated through this education system a person will appear as Indian in blood but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellects”. We are still following the colonial heritage of education. However, after liberation war, governments of Bangladesh adopted several education policies in different times where moral education got less attention ever. Furthermore, a small fraction of moral education of the big curriculum is taught in a slapdash fashion where the quality of the instructors is questionable. For the reason, people are being educated in clothing and overt expression but not in mind and soul as education is the harmonious development of body, mind and soul.

A meaningful education should target the total development of learner's personality. But in the present system emphasis has given to transmission of knowledge and cultivation of occupational skills. This has created a moral vacuum in the life of the individual. Inculcation of desirable values in the upcoming generation is felt essential for finding out answers to so many problems that humanity face today.

In fine, the most important assets of a nation are the citizens themselves. If the citizens are healthy, patriotic, honest, and sincere, the nation will progress at a much faster pace. For this reason, it is very essential to have moral education in schools, colleges and higher educational institutions, where moral education and liberal education cannot be isolated in single courses but should be integrated into the curriculum as a whole. Last but not least, along with liberal education, special concentration has to be paid on moral education too in order to get an enlighten citizen who will ensure bright future of Bangladesh and will uphold its positive image in the world arena.

[Md. Abdullah Al Helal is a senior lecturer in Social Work, Centre for General Education, Northern University Bangladesh. He can be contacted at helalabdullah@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on June 30, 2013. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on June 30, 2013. Filed under , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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