Christina Hoff Sommers thinks that schools should teach moral values while Joel Turtel believes that schools in America are not teaching moral education correctly. Turtel’s opinion on the moral education programmes and what they are turning young generations to is very extreme. Though I disagree with Turtel that teaching young people that “a value is good if it ‘works’ for a particular child at a particular time” is not the best solution and that this will cause children to be “turned into amoral creatures who will do anything to satisfy their momentary desires”.
By allowing children to access if a certain moral right holds for a particular situation, they will not just merely follow what has been taught to them. For example, hitting your parents is taught to be morally incorrect, but what if it’s in a case of self-defence? Will it still be considered as morally wrong? Hence I think that the young people in Singapore should be taught the underlying rationale of the ‘moral rights’ so that they can learn to access each situation and apply what they have learnt correctly.
In Singapore, Civics and Moral Education (CME) is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools. I think that such a decision made by the Singapore government is a right one as children in Singapore spend most of their adolescence in school. Furthermore, it is inarguable that children are easily influenced by their friends and by the people they spend the most time with. In addition, how sure can we be that all parents of young Singaporeans will take time out of inculcate the correct moral rights in their children?
Hence by implementing compulsory school-based moral education programmes, we can be sure that all young Singaporeans have a chance in learning moral rights and this will help Singapore foster social cohesion. Being a multi racial community, it is especially important to teach young people in Singapore the right values towards other races. Compulsory school-based moral education programmes teaches young Singaporeans about interracial tolerance, understanding and the importance of racial harmony.
The success of these lessons cannot be denied as no racial riots, such as the 1964 Racial Riots, has happened ever since the implementation of such a curriculum in schools. Hence, in a multi racial society like Singapore, school-based moral education programmes are a must. CME in Singapore allows students to openly question ideas taught and expose them to arguments on the internet. However, such methods are strongly disagreed by Turtel who believes that this will turn children “into amoral creatures”.
I disagree with him. Exposing students to opposing views may not be bad. Perhaps a percentage of students may adopt anti-establishment views themselves but the benefit of this is that all students have the opportunity to argue and think critically about moral issues. Also, students are less likely to be apathetic and disinterested in moral issues. In conclusion, the school-based moral education programmes should continue being in Singapore’s school curriculum.