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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 February 27 - March 5  > Top-down moral education is ineffective
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2013 February 27 - March 5 [EDUCATION]

Top-down moral education is ineffective

February 28, 2013
A government council on education reform on February 26 submitted to the prime minister a proposal for measures to stop bullying in schools.

As a fundamental solution to the school bullying issue, the Education Rebuilding Council set up under the Abe Cabinet in its proposal puts the highest priority on teaching morality as a required subject.

The proposal strongly reflects Prime Minister Abe’s pet theory that a thorough study of ethics and morality will prevent children from engaging in problem behavior.

According to the proposal, teachers will be required to teach moral lessons properly in accordance with the curriculum guideline, and children will be evaluated based on their performance in moral class. The council aims to standardize moral education in a top-down manner.

To provide particular ethical education based on state guidelines should be prohibited in any democratic society as a mechanism for state control and indoctrination. Moreover, if learning assessments are introduced in moral education, the very effectiveness of education will become questionable because those who are favorably assessed will be most likely to behave as taught.

The issue of bullying in schools is deeply linked to the actual situation of the society. In the current society which is focusing on the principle of competition and test scores, children are suffering from severe stress associated with the achievement gap between schools and having to do well on entrance examinations.

In order to prevent school bullying, it is necessary to change schools to places where children can feel that their dignity is respected, their voices are listened to carefully, and their full participation is ensured. This makes schools a truly ethical place. Moral education controlling and grading children is ineffective in improving their morality.
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