Education simply must not mean obtaining a degree or passing a grade with good marks but it should also instill good moral values, ethics, and character. This is exactly what the newly established moral education system in the schools of the United Arab Emirates instills. The Moral Education curriculum will not only build character but also introduce ethical outlook, foster community, and teach culture.
Moral Education is based on these 4 pillars:
- Character and Morality
- The Individual and the Community
- Civic Studies
- Cultural Studies
Moral Education is an initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, that was first announced in 2016, piloted in January 2017, and has been implemented in grades 1-9 since September 2017. The first pilot was in 19 schools across the UAE. Schools in the UAE have started implementing moral education lessons within the curriculum and it is said to have been inspired by classes in Japanese schools where pupils are given a chance to think about how different scenarios will affect people around them.
According to Dr. Dsilva, (academician and education expert) moral education is important for today’s Hi-Tech Generation due to the many social influences. On a more international outlook the newly implemented program focuses on “developing student awareness of the shared human experience and making them messengers of the values they embody.” By focusing on a local viewpoint its aim is to “develop responsible, cultured, engaged adults ready for the wider globalized world.”
What are the benefits that come along with implementing a moral education curriculum?
-Humans are known to be social beings and moral education teaches them basic moral values, socializing skills, and good social habits like respecting elders, being honest, learning to share, and being kind. It fosters them into better people. Dr. Dsilva also shared that in the past in her culture children would be under the care of grandparents, uncles, and aunts living together in the same house. This gave them great opportunity to understand moral values such as respecting elders, honesty, truthfulness, caring, and helping each other. However, in today’s fast paced world where parents leave their families to migrate to find a better job or a higher standard of living, their children lose the chance to be with their elderly grandparents and therefore they may lack the chance to learn moral values such as caring for elders.
-Implementing such a system in school years allows students to practice good character with their fellow classmates and friends. Therefore, it is the need of the hour and every school must dedicate some time for imparting such moral values.
-It brings a more socially responsible generation and develops a sense of respect towards mankind. Moral education help to teach the young generation to be honest when there are wrong doings around them.
Dr. Dsilva was asked how she thought moral education would impact youth in the future. She replied that, “In the modern world of technology and artificial intelligence, the new generation at times is going away from values of kindness towards others and toward the environment. Having moral education sessions will invigorate an ecosystem around the youth to act responsibly towards others.”
KDSL Global Intern