By Macdonald Ogu
Well-meaning citizens of our country today, seem to be in agreement that there is a general trend of moral laxity in our society. In order to show proof that the society is tilting towards that direction, it may be necessary to reinstate that social ills like armed robbery, prostitution, car snatching baby factory, exam malpractice, kidnapping and the likes have been the challenges confronted by your security agencies. This is a true picture of the behaviour of our society.
No doubt, these incidents highlight the dangerous trends of the society’s behaviour which could have been avoided to a very large extent had moral education been taken seriously in our school. From the foregoing, the need for moral education in our school is now imperative to every citizen of this country. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Nigeria. Some uniformed Nigerians argue that moral education should be left to the family and the church along. These misguided citizens misunderstand the meaning of education. They forget that true education has three aspects, namely, intellectual education, physical education and moral education. For education to be complete, it must include each of these three aspects. If a child is wanting in any of these aspects, his development is not complete thus he becomes a defective citizen.
Our schools are intended to cater for the all-round development of our children. A lot of effort is made to provide for the intellectual aspect by seeing that our schools have qualified teachers. Much energy is spent to ensure physical education in our schools but when it comes to moral education, people say: Leave it to the church and the family. Does this make for proper education of our children?
The school unlike the family and the church has all that is needed to impart moral education. Our children who start school at very tender age these days can readily absorb moral principles which will guide them throughout life. Each day, the child is in school at least from 8.00am to about 2.00p.m.
In boarding schools the child is virtually in school for twenty four hours each day. All this time he is being educated in one way or the other. It is therefore, obvious that the school is one of the best places for teaching morals. All that exist behave according to their natures and education should not be an exception. If education as we know is to bring up, then it means to lead a child out from the darkness of error to the light of true knowledge. It is to bring him up in such a way that he will be useful to the society in which he lives; he cannot be useful to himself or to society if he is morally defective.
Here again, the teacher, as a pedagogue, is one charged with the responsibility of guiding the child to the source of true knowledge, of protecting the child so that no harm comes to him in anyway, including moral harm. All this goes to show that education without morality is bogus. The moral principles of fraternity, equality and freedom were the slogans of the French Revolution. Fraternity requires you to love everybody as your brother or sister and threat him or her as such.
Equality requires you to treat every human being as your equal while freedom for all demands that you allow to others what you allow yourself.
The principles of morality put forth by Prof. R.S. Domie are “Respect for persons”. It is to respect every person, just because he is a human being. Emmanuel Kent teaches the principles of “Good Will” which encourages every person to have goodwill towards God and men so as to run away from evil.
Our educational institutions more especially primary and secondary schools in the country should serve as veritable tools in the fight against immorality in our society in order to raise morally sound children in the country.