When most persons talk about a school curriculum, they think about math, science, social studies, and language courses. Hardly will you hear moral values as being part of the curriculum. The problem is that the neglect of teaching moral values in schools is hurting our students and causing problems in society. If a person has never learned any moral values, how is she or he able to discern the difference between right and wrong? That is basically the essence of moral values education.
Education in general is aimed at not just acquisition of knowledge, but its application in solving problems and bringing about innovative ideas. However, a child who has received the right education in all its quality yet lacks a good sense of morals poses a huge threat to the society where he or she was supposed to add value to. Moral values are what matter to us. They are what motivate our behavior. They ground our judgments about what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable.
The fact is, there is a rise in moral decadence. It is becoming commonplace to see the things we hitherto saw as vile and cringed at the thought or mention of them becoming the same things we blink away like they matter not. Hence, the need for moral education goes beyond the rubrics of shouting it out at kids when they do wrong. Rather, it calls for a complete inclusion in the entire curricular of schools at all levels, especially in the formative years.
Today’s society is characterized by parents who have little or no time to help their children grow and become well rounded individuals. The pressures of survival has weighed down parents so much now that the family, the first school of any child has crumpled under the heavy burden and now fails in its role. If all parents were teaching their children moral values in the home, it would not be necessary for the schools to do this work, however, the sad fact is that a lot of kids are not learning from their parents the difference between right and wrong. This is because most mothers and fathers in their busy work days spend only a few hours with their children.
Therefore, since children spend a greater aspect of their time in school, greater regard should also be paid to their moral growth too especially as there is a lacuna in the home front.
As parents and educators, we should all advocate the teaching of moral values in our schools. Knowledge gained in school is only one goal of education. The overall goal of education should be enabling students to gain knowledge and moral values as the children will need both in preparing themselves to be good parents and citizens in society.
In our societies today, there are few role models for kids to follow, it’s so unfortunate that many of the supposed role models are setting bad examples. These bad examples range from sexual promiscuity, degrading of women, advocacy of violence, and the condoning of dishonesty in order to succeed.
Every day students are exposed to violence, dishonesty, and other social problems in the media and the real world. How many times have we heard about school shootings? What about other times when students are caught cheating in exams? Then, too, we read about bullying in school and fights between gangs. If moral values were taught in schools, we would have fewer of these problems.
While we can go on to list out the holes dug by the near absence of moral education in our curricular, we must also talk about why it is so. A major problem of the Nigerian educational system is that of examination malpractice, a trend no body bats an eyelid at again. A sad fact today remains that education has been grossly commercialized at the expense of the children’s future. School owners, parents and teachers are angling to promote their own interest and do not care if their actions are morally acceptable or not. Or, why else would we see schools become centres for examination malpractice, pushing children to run ahead when their age demands they walk at a slow learning pace, all in a bid not to lose business? Why would parents withdraw their children from schools that will not ‘help’ their kids to pass in WAEC and JAMB?
The aforementioned therefore places a huge responsibility on everybody who has a stake in education- parents, teachers and school owners. We must understand that children are very photographic at their tender years. What they see adults do is what sticks and influences what they eventually do. So if the adults whose roles are to mold them in the right fashion flaunts wrong in their faces, what do we think the result will be? When we get our morals right, everything gets right.
To promote a healthy society, we must start from where the whole process sprouts from – the school. Beyond hammering on Math and English and other core subjects in which children are performing badly at, we must hammer on morals too. Some subject teach moral values like Literature, social studies, yet, we must do more. Schools can create fun activities that teach moral values as part of the extra-curricular activities such as leadership clubs, intra-school/intra –house drama, debate and other kinds of fun competitions within the school. Teachers should be careful what they say or do and how they say or do things while keeping an eye on the kids to ensure they are not deviants.
Core morals such as unconditional live, forgiveness, hard work, honesty, compassion, and respect for others among other moral values should be taught children directly and indirectly. Let us keep in mind that the knowledge they get from the subjects they are taught in school may in a long time coming be forgotten, but the moral values they are instilled, can never be lost.