Morality and Education

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Students of the Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Girl's Secondary School in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. This project started in 2005 with two sisters and Sr. Celina Adegun, SSMA, an SLDI alumna who served as the school principal until 2015. Since inception three more SLDI alumnae served at the school; Sr. Marcelina Bamisaye, SSMA as Vice President, Sr. Agnes Ayedun, SSMA as Bursar, and Sr. Benedicta Tokede, SSMA as a classroom teacher.

Sr. Elizabeth reflects on the importance of educators as role models to their students and the importance of teaching values and morality in schools.

Morality regulates the social interactions and relationships of people in a society. It the concepts of welfare, trust, justice and rights.

Moral responsibility is the duty of individuals and groups to act under moral principles important to their social communities and to humanity at large. Looking at a lot of homes [in Nigeria], children hardly get any training. Many parents are absent from home trying to work and look for money. Children are home with no guidance, or left with neighbors and house helps. How, when or from whom will they learn about moral responsibility?

In October 2016, a Professor of Construction Economics and Quantity Surveying in Nigeria, criticized the level of moral standards in school-aged children. He called on schools and parents to work together to sustain moral education and behavior, to add value to the society.

If we look at the setting of a school, we will know that it is not meant for academic subjects alone. Education is first for information and then formation. This will lead to the transformation of a person. Learning proper behavior allows us to make clear distinctions between what is acceptable and what is not. Teaching of morals is a necessary part of education and is beneficial to students.

Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) when asked by a newspaper reporter whether he enjoyed lecturing replied

“...of course I enjoy lecturing. It is a great pleasure to drive the fiend of fear out of the hearts of men, women and children. It is a positive joy to put out the fires of hell.”

 It is on this note that I will say teachers are the best agents of teaching morality. Lots of parents forget that children spend a large part of their day in school with teachers. As role models, teachers have a great influence on their students. Teachers know the students beyond class learning.

Sometimes students end up sharing their personal problems with their teachers. I had an experience in my ministry; a girl of 12 years saw her first menstruation and kept it to herself. The following day, she ran after me to tell me she is sick. I was afraid and was going to call a driver to take her to the hospital, when she said I should follow her to the toilet. She confided in me, I took her to the convent and showed her what to do. She did not tell the mum because for her “the teacher knows what to do and has answers to your problems”.

Educators teach important virtues like honesty, respect, proper behavior and being responsible for one’s actions. An educator's curriculum has moral teaching built in it already. Social interactions and relationships in classrooms play a key role in developing a child’s moral compass. So, who else is better in passing moral formation to students if not the teachers?

Effective teachers are not meant to teach alone. They are not just a source of knowledge and truth. They work to foster desirable characters in their students. For me I will say teaching moral responsibilities in school will continue as long as we have schools. If teachers and schools avoid this responsibility, there will be more deviant behavior problems in future. Even more than what we see now. You cannot mislead a child that listens and is ready to learn. My principal in secondary school always says

“Pass through school and let the school pass through you”.

I am the product of good education with good moral upbringing and I benefit a lot. What else can we say other than schools should keep passing on moral responsibility lessons?

Jacoby, Susan. A New Birth of Reason: The American Scholar.
The Punch: Friday, October 21, 2016. Vol 40 No 21,293.

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Sr. Babalola Tolulope Elizabeth, DHS

Sr. Babalola Tolulope Elizabeth, DHS
HESA Alumna - Nigeria  

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