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.

Posted on Mon, Jun 12, 2017

Sr. Elizabeth reflects on the importance of educators being role models to their students and why values and morality should be taught in schools.

to pupils, parents and teachers at end of the term gathering.

Morality is said to be system of rules that regulate the social interactions and social relationships of individual within societies and is based on concepts of welfare, trust, justice and rights.

Moral responsibility is referred to as the duty that individuals and groups have to act in accordance with moral principles that are 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 left with no guidance and with neighbors or house helps. How or who or when will they learn about moral responsibility?

In October 2016, a Professor of Construction Economics and Quantity Surveying here in Nigeria decried the level of moral decadence in pupils and young adults in schools. He called on schools and parents to work together and sustain moral education and behavior, which he said would 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 meant first for information and then formation, which will lead to the transformation of a person. Education is also meant to teach us proper behavior so that we can make clear distinctions between what is acceptable and what is not. I will be of the opinion that teaching of morals is a necessary part of education and students has a lot to benefit from it.

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 spent a longer part of their day in school with teachers whom they consider role models and are easily influenced by them. Teachers know the students beyond class learning. 

Sometimes students end up sharing their personal problems with their teachers than their parents whom they fear, respect or are worried of being snubbed. 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 nearly call the 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 show her what to do. She did not tell the mum because for her “teacher knows what to do and have answers to your problems”.

Since educators are responsible for teaching important virtues like honesty, right behavior, respect of one another and taking responsibility for one’s action, who else is better in passing moral formation to students if not the teachers? School curriculum has moral teaching built in it already, so school and no other place serve as a good avenue of passing this on. The classroom facilitates social interactions and social relationships that play a key role in the development of the child’s moral compass.

Effective teachers are not meant to teach alone or just to be source of knowledge and truth; they work to foster desirable characters in their students. For me I will say, as long as we continue to have schools, it will be involved in teaching moral responsibilities. If teachers and schools avoid this responsibility, there is going to be more deviant behavior problems in the society in future more than what we are seeing now. A child that listens and is ready to learn from the school and teachers will not be misled. 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 than schools should keep passing on the moral responsibility lessons?

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

Article Submitted by:

Sr. Babalola Tolulope Elizabeth, DHS

HESA Student at Chestnut Hill College, from Nigeria  

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