More than once, the Minister of Education, Dr Omar Razzaz, stressed the importance of instilling the values of integrity among students and youth.
He spoke extensively about the vitality of reinforcing these values in school curriculum, books, and various school activities.
His most recent reiteration of this fact was during the signing of the Memo of Understanding with the Chairman of the anti-graft commission, Mohammad Allaf, on inter-departmental cooperation.
The point of the memo is to bring the two departments to work together on raising awareness on the issues of corruption and the value of integrity, which is a step in the right direction.
As plausible as it is, the minister needs to take it beyond just combatting corruption to addressing the issues of morality all together, and the cultural values of our society.
We need to device a more comprehensive approach to addressing our morality in crisis.
Obviously, our moral and cultural constructs are deteriorating on multiple tiers, from the individual’s relationship with themselves, to their relationship with their families, and even the state!
Revisiting our curriculums and books in a way that would address this issue is crucial, and it is no less a priority than everything else, from the economy to technical education.
In fact, it may be even more important, as socio-cultural values pillar the base for a strong society, enabling communities to overcome the toughest of challenges and crises.
To arrive at this goal, our approach to morality must be both critical and comprehensive. Our only chance for a bright future is to give rise to a new different generation, with a different mentality, and the ability to lead our nation down a different path, towards a different future.
Does this sound like fantasy?!
Well, let me share this story with you.
A friend of mine just transferred his child from a prominent private school in Jordan, to another primary school in Canada.
Months into the move, he and his wife paid the school a visit, worried that their son is not doing homework, claiming he doesn’t have any.
More so, he wasn’t being taught any of the sciences and courses he learnt in Jordan.
So, as any concerned parent would, they went to the school hoping to figure out what’s wrong.
To their surprise, the school principal told them to their face that their son, indeed, does not study any of the sciences he did in Jordan, because at his age, the school would rather focus is on morality and values!
When you think about it, you realise how unbalanced our curriculum is, on so many levels.
How much attention did we really give the questions of morality, which is far more important than anything else?!
Mindfully, morality is far deeper than our judgemental take on the issue. It spurs from the individual’s relationship with themselves, propagating the values of honesty, respecting hard work, respect of timeliness, believe in cleanliness and order, condemnation of manipulation and dishonesty, respecting society and state, and refusing all kinds of cheating and theft!
Those are core aspects of our daily lives and our children’s that we must address.
Had we given it real attention and taught it our students over the decades, we would not find this overwhelming submissiveness to the unhealthy conditions at schools, toilets for instance. We would not accept this at our tourism sites or our government departments.
You wouldn’t see someone driving a car worth over a hundred thousand dinars, tossing trash out of the window, shamelessly!
Had we taught our children morality over the decades, we would not find parents teaching their children how to cheat in schools, or people openly bribing public servants.
More so, morality lies in the heart of the question of human rights!
I say this as we embark on an endeavour to revisit our curriculums and school books, and I am a member of the higher board on curriculums.
Hopes are that I can encourage my colleagues at the board, and the elite selected to partake in this most noble effort, to take into consideration the importance of morality.
Our school books on national education go mostly for historical information, next to a variety of other political and legal topics.
While all this is important, undoubtedly, the core of national education is the instilment of values and morality, as the seed of citizenship, governing the state-citizen relationship!
This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.