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STATUS AND PROMOTION OF MORAL INSTRUCTION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The success or failure of any nation is largely dependent on the type and quality of education of her citizens. Education is vital to the future growth of any nation. In fact, it empowers citizens to be both functional and responsive. Conscious of the all important roles of education in the comity of nations, the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) states that education is an instrument par excellence for effecting National development. Quality education involves the total development of the individual. According to Ogbonna (2000) quality education incorporates the cognitive, affective and psychomotor developments of the child. When education is integral, it forms the human person into being loving and caring, able to actualize his or her potentials, contribute to the attainment of the common good and fulfill his or her aspirations. Quality education, in this regard, according to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN, 2004) has a religious and moral content.

An aspect of education that is very significant in national development is moral instruction. Moral instruction, according to Education Scotland (2014), is a process where children and young people engage in a search for meaning, value and purpose in life. Peschke (2001) refers to Moral Instruction as the disposition and virtue needed by an individual to acquire and possess attitudes and guidelines as the foundations which assist in attainment of goals. According to Ogbonna (2000), moral instruction has to do with the training and acquisition of the right moral principles, internalization of societal values and acceptance of social norms, so as to behave in accordance with the expectations of the person’s social milieu. Put more succinctly, for the purpose of this study, moral instruction refers to the assistance given to children to enable them acquire those virtues or habits that help them to individually live good lives, and at the same time become productive and contributing members of their communities. It is not about any church or about any sectarian doctrinal exposure.

Moral instruction heightens national awareness of the need for a responsible society. This is in line with the submission of Former Military President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, while launching the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) in 1984.  Anih (2014) states that according to Buhari, without discipline which ensues by means of appropriate and timely moral instruction, the country would degenerate into a jungle where respect for law and order is disregarded, and traditional norms set aside. Discipline in the society is predicted by discipline in the families that constitute the society. Disciplined society breeds moral society.

The moral life of a nation is nurtured and developed within the family. Every enduring family or community has a moral code and every society is concerned about fostering moral character in children and forming responsible citizens. It is the responsibility of and concern of adult members of each community to instill its moral code in the hearts and minds of its children. This is usually done through storytelling, folk tales and music. Stories, according to Oladipo (2009), are potent conveyors of moral values and lyrics keep moral values on the tips of children’s tongues. This implies that moral instruction takes place even in the family, and as a matter of fact starts from it.

At infancy, cherished values like respect for elders, regard for dignity of labour, reward for hard work, appreciation of family values and respect for societal norms are gradually inculcated in children. It is in the family that the virtues of love and care, honesty and fairness, fidelity and responsible sexual behaviours are lived out and transmitted to children. Such qualities are most desirable for self-actualization and they enable people contribute meaningfully to the development of the larger society. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN, 2015) observes that many Nigerian families unfortunately seem to have lost their moral points of reference. The high level of moral bankruptcy presently evident in the society is the unpleasant consequence of leaving moral instruction only to school teachers who, in most cases are ill-prepared for the function. On this, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria observe that the primary responsibility of parents is not just to pass genes unto their children but also to bring them up in every aspect of life in the society. According to the Bishops, by the moral instruction they provide for their children and the moral fruits handed over by their personal examples, parents discharge their grave duty of inculcating civic and religious values in children. Thus, they form their children into good citizens and enhance the status of moral instruction of their wards. A status is a position relative to that of others. In other words, it is a state of affairs or a situation. It refers to position, rank, grade, degree, state, condition and development of a thing. In the context of this study, status refers to the degree of moral instruction being taught in primary schools within the study area.

In the course of promoting moral instruction in primary schools, certain resources and facilities are involved. A resource is a source or supply from which benefit is produced. Typically, resources are materials, energy, services, staff, knowledge or other assets that are transformed to produce benefit and in the process may be consumed or made unavailable. Miller and Spoolman (2011) believe that from a human perspective, a natural resource is anything obtained from the environment to satisfy human needs and wants. The resource that resides in the knowledge, skills and motivation of people is a human resource. McConnell, Brue and Flynn (2011) define human resources in terms of skills, energy, talent, abilities or knowledge. Similarly, a facility is a space or equipment necessary for doing something. It refers to   anything that is built, installed or established to serve a particular purpose. According to Ricklefs (2005), a facility refers to permanent, semi-permanent or temporary commercial or industrial property such as a building, plant or structure, built, established or installed for the performance of one or more specific activities or functions. What this implies is that resources and facilities are services or other assets used to produce goods and services that meet human needs and wants. In the context of this study, resources and facilities refer to the available human and other material assets that are used to promote moral instruction in primary schools.

Inculcating and promoting moral instruction, like every other task is not without some challenges. A challenge is an encountered difficulty. Encarta (2001) refers to challenge as something difficult or not easy, demanding physical or mental efforts for a solution. In the context of this study, challenge refers to the difficulties encountered in an attempt to promote Moral Instruction in primary schools. In the face of such challenges, certain strategies are proffered.

A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a specific goal or series of goals within an organizational framework. It is a plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal. Max McKeown (2011) argues that strategy is about shaping the future and it is the human attempt to get to desirable ends with available means. Strategy entails specifying the organization‘s mission, vision and objectives; developing policies and plans to execute the vision and allocating resources to implement those policies and plans. When one talks about strategy, one aims at solving a discovered problem. It is on this note that Rumelt (2011) describes strategy as a type of problem solving. In this regard, components of strategy include diagnosis (what is the problem being addressed? How do the mission and objectives imply action?); guiding policy (what framework will be used to approach the operations?) and action plans (What will the operations look like? How will the processes be enacted to align with the guiding policy and address the issue in the diagnosis?). Strategy involves making plans which could enable an organization realize its objectives. According to Rumelt, strategy typically involves two major processes: formulation and implementation. Formulation involves analyzing the environment or situation, making a diagnosis and developing guiding policies. It includes such activities as strategic planning and strategic thinking. Implementation refers to the action plans taken to achieve the goals established by the guiding policy. In the context of this study, strategy refers to every plan of action designed for use in promoting Moral instruction in Primary Schools in Nsukka East Education Authority. It is a plan of action intended to promote Moral Instruction in Primary schools. Such a plan of action will ensure a long-term success if followed faithfully.

With the status of moral instruction determined, available resources and facilities noted, challenges associated with Moral instruction found out and strategies proffered, promotion of Moral instruction becomes easy. Since the emergence of school system, adults have expected schools to contribute positively to the moral education of children. In other words, schools are expected to promote moral education of children. Promotion refers to the entire set of activities, which communicate a product, brand or service to the public. The idea is to make people aware of the product or service, make the product or service attractive, and induce people to prefer it over others. Fundamentally, Rajagopal (2007) states that the purpose of a promotion and thus its promotional plan can have a wide range which may include the fact that sales increase, new products are accepted and corporate image is enhanced. Rajagopal (2007) identifies the three basic objectives of promotion as presenting information, increasing demand and differentiating a product. Promotion refers to the encouragement given to a thing. In the context of this study, promotion refers to the help, support, furtherance and championing of Moral instruction in Primary schools. Promotion includes every effort, urge, recommendation, boosting, endorsing and popularization made in favour of teaching moral education in primary schools. It means to increase or seek to increase the importance or reputation of moral education in primary schools.

In Nigeria, when the first public schools were founded, moral education was the prime concern, especially in primary schools. Primary education, according to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) in her National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004), refers to the education given in institutions for children aged six to eleven years plus. According to Madu (2013), a primary school is a school in which children receive education from the ages of about five to eleven, before secondary school and after pre-school. Onoja (2013) observes that primary education principally aims at achieving basic literacy and numeracy among pupils, as well as establishing foundations in Science, Mathematics, Geography, History and other social sciences. Moral instruction was likewise taught in primary schools and according to religious denominations. Two concrete instructional materials used for the purpose included the Bible and the Catechism booklet.

Primary education has many goals in view. The Federal Government of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) states that primary education seeks to inculcate in children permanent literacy and numeracy as well as the ability to communicate effectively. Primary education lays a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking and gives citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society. It is the function of primary education to mould character and develop sound attitude and morals in children. Furthermore, primary education seeks to develop in children ability to adapt to changing environment and give children opportunities for developing manipulative skills. Finally, primary education provides pupils with basic tools for further educational advancements including preparation for trades and crafts. This indicates that primary education and moral instruction have the similar goal of ensuring good citizens right from the very beginning.

Western education did not come into Nigeria in isolation of Christianity. The early missionaries principally came with the gospel and education together. The same people who preached the Good News taught in the classrooms. To have accepted to be a school child meant to have accepted to be a christian. Of course, the same buildings served as both schools and churches. Schools became efficient transmitters of appropriate moral values. Moral education in school reinforces the values gained at home. What this implied was that education was never severed from Christianity. According to Oladipo (2009), the missionaries taught the people that the moral code resided in the Bible and in catechism instruction books. Consequently, it was imperative that children be taught how to read.

During those good days, classroom teachers taught and evaluated primary school pupils on both moral and religious instruction. Today, such an enviable tradition hardly obtains any more. Huitt (2004) observes that these days, it does appear that teacher education now downplays the teacher’s role as a transmitter of social and personal values and emphasizes other areas such as teaching techniques, strategies, models and skills. Things seem to have fallen apart. In clear terms, many schools now ignore the moral dimensions of schooling. According to Education Encyclopedia State University (2015), the effects are evident. Achievement scores now tend to decline, discipline and behaviour problems are on the increase, and voices are raised accusing schools of teaching secular humanism. Oladipo (2009) is of the opinion that media reports of increased violent juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, embezzlement, human rights violation, numerous abuses and suicide have caused many people both within and outside the country to declare a moral crisis in Nigeria. Though not all of these social concerns are moral in nature and most have complex origins, there is a growing trend towards linking the solutions to these and related social problems  to the teaching of moral and social values in both public and private schools in Nigeria.

Government takeover of schools is believed to have contributed to the moral decay of the present day society. In the assessment of Ejionueme (2004), a significant incident that heightened the moral decay of schools was the government takeover of schools from the missionary-owners and voluntary agencies. Since the forcible takeover which took place after the civil war in the early 70s, moral instruction has been thrown to the wind. It was removed from the school curriculum with its attendant moral implications. In fact, the many moral problems experienced in the present-day society seem to have direct links with the lack of serious attention given to moral instruction in schools since the takeover. Okebukola (2012) remarks that school children now go to school very late and leave the school before the end of classes. Many others sacrifice their academic pursuit to running around during school hours, playing and engaging in frivolous activities. Many more school pupils play truancy. The educational system, as a result seems to experience stagnation and it is at the verge of total collapse. All these and similar ugly developments appear to be more pronounced in rural areas. Examination malpractices are on the increase in rural areas. Classes are hardly repeated and pupils are found climbing mango trees when they should be in the classrooms. What this implies is that location plays a significant role in the moral development of children. Salihu (2015) believes that location refers to a place or point where something is or where something happens. In the context of this study, location refers to places or settlements considered to be urban or rural, where the schools are sited.

Nsukka East Education Authority is partly urban and partly rural. It was an area proudly associated with high moral standard and where children were hired by urban dwellers as house helps.  The current moral life of children in the area is now questionable. It is pathetic that little girls of primary school age now boldly claim having boyfriends; involve in sexual practices with mates and sometimes even with teachers. Old people now shamelessly rape little girls to amplify the moral degeneracy of the present age. For Okebukola (2012), indiscipline among students and staff has virtually become the life style in many Nigerian schools. School children and teachers come late to school, assemblies and other school functions. Okebukola concludes that the level of respect of school children for teachers is at the lowest ebb while it is becoming increasingly difficult for teachers to invoke disciplinary measures on students and pupils without incurring the wrath of students and parents. Indiscipline can therefore be seen in lack of respect for constituted authority, outright disobedience to school rules and regulations and so on. It does appear that some parents even bribe teachers for marks. By implication, such parents tend to promote evil in their children. Wolf (2008) considers a child as a person who is younger than eighteen years of age. Many primary school pupils play innocently into the hands of evil friends and bad associations. Okebukola concludes that they are unsuspecting and hence victims in the hands of experienced perpetrators of bad acts. Others are not sensitive enough to understand signals. They walk into evil traps presumptuously.

Therefore, as the Federal Government continues its crusade to enforce quality education as a sure means to national development, there are much more issues to be addressed in Primary schools. These days in schools, one observes actions and behaviours that show a total lack of integrity, morality or any sense of social responsibility. Ugly experiences of disobedience, stealing, bullying, lateness to school, insincerity, sexual challenges and the likes among pupils now attain some pronounced heights, even in primary schools.  Tait (2015) adds that children too often leave school compromised and half-baked despite their academic achievements. Based on this, Erinosho (2004) observes that schools and colleges have lost their sacred character as formation centres and have become breeding grounds for thugs, secret cults, gangsters, rapists and prostitutes. Apart from being the causes of poor performance in examinations, they fill the state and the society with thugs and robbers.

Furthermore, it is a matter of sadness and regret when children caught in dastardly acts of high way robbery and brigandage are found to be teenage school boys. In the words of (Okebukola, 2012), they are products of a school system that has shoved the teaching of religious and moral instruction to the background and in some places eliminated them altogether. This is the situation on ground even when schools are supposed to be principal agencies of formation. Therefore, occasioned by the rising rate of moral challenges like disobedience, stealing and incessant fighting among pupils, the high hopes and expectations of parents and guardians in sending their wards to schools are being dashed to the ground. According to Inerhumwunwa (2009), this rise in harmful behaviour is truncating the good academic performance of school children. Egbochukwu and Aihie (2007) observe that similar behaviours among school children include truancy, lying, bullying, aggression, and examination malpractices.

In Nsukka East Education Authority, the story is not different. In most of the primary schools, moral problems abound as deviant behaviours. School children break into head teachers’ offices and destroy school property with reckless abandon. As a chaplain to some of the schools, the researcher has direct contact with pupils, teachers and head teachers. Some of the teachers have bitter complaints of how school pupils today engage in various forms of disciplinary behaviours such as group fighting, bullying one another, using abusive words on teachers, and even examination malpractices. Pupils’ involvement in such ugly developments is regrettably on the increase. According to Ejionueme (2004), these deviant behaviours neither spare our customs nor favour our traditions.

Many more people feel concerned about the ugly situation of many schools. According to Uche (2000), the rate of moral decadence is high and it is evident in incessant cases of violence, assaults, fighting and even rape, which are daily activities of many school children. Igbinoria (2004) adds cultism as another evident manifestation of immoral behaviour among pupils. Agbo (2010) remarks that cultism was formerly a higher institution affair but has today gone down the line of the educational institution and beyond. Children are today associated with behaviours that are suggestive of cult members.

Most regrettable is the presence of cultism in primary schools. Osankile and Falana (2011) point out that all over the world, from the universities down to primary schools comes story of violence, tortures and intimidation executed by members of secret cults. All these are immoral cases that need to be addressed in schools. Moral instruction in schools seeks to address all unwholesome attitudes of children. Ejionueme (2004) notes that these disciplinary problems exert their toll even on the larger society. Ejionueme further observes that most thugs and robbers are products of primary and secondary schools. From the forgoing, the question that needs to be addressed urgently about primary schools is: how can moral instruction be promoted in primary schools?

Statement of the problem

It is ideally expected that schools contribute positively to the moral development of children. In other words, schools are expected to produce children who are advanced in character and learning. Unfortunately, primary school pupils who were previously known for high academic records and moral excellence are presently associated with ugly records of poor academic achievements, absurd culture of examination malpractices and other forms of moral problems. School children now break into head teachers’ offices and destroy school property with reckless abandon.

As a chaplain to some of the schools, the researcher has direct contact with pupils, teachers and head-teachers. Some of the teachers have bitter complaints of how school pupils today engage in various forms of disciplinary behaviours such as group fighting, bullying one another, using abusive words on teachers, and even examination malpractices. Pupils’ involvement in such ugly developments regrettably seems to be on the increase. This casts a serious doubt on schools’ role and image as formation centres capable of inculcating moral values. The situation is worsened by the fact that no reasonable strategies appear to have been proffered to remedy the situation. If the situation is allowed to persist, one would wonder at the type of morality primary school pupils will be exhibiting in Nsukka Education Authority. It is based on this that the researcher considers it a worthwhile responsibility to engage in a study that inquires into promotion of moral instruction in primary schools.

Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study was to inquire into the status and promotion of Moral Instruction in Primary Schools in Nsukka East Education Authority. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. examine the status of Moral Instruction in primary schools in Nsukka East Education Authority;
  2. determine the extent to which individuals and organizations are involved in the promotion of Moral Instruction in Primary Schools;
  3. determine the promotional strategies of Moral Instruction in use in primary schools;
  4. ascertain the extent of use of these promotional strategies of Moral Instruction in the primary

schools;

  1. find out the resources and facilities employed in the promotion of Moral Instruction in

primary schools;

  1. find out the challenges associated with the promotion of Moral Instruction in primary

schools;

  1. proffer strategies for promoting Moral Instruction in primary schools.

Significance of the study

This study has both theoretical significance and practical significance. Theoretically, the study has a link with Albert Bandura’s social learning theory and it is anchored on Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development.

Bandura’s social learning theory holds that learning occurs simply by observation and modelling.  This theory, therefore, shows that teachers should in the course of their teaching responsibility be exemplary in inculcating moral values in their children through observation and modeling. The findings of this study will either validate or invalidate whether or not teachers could inculcate moral values in pupils through observation and modeling.

Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development pertains to levels of moral convention with influences from peers, cognitive development and conflict, as well as perspectives or the phenomenological approach of the child. The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behaviour, has six identifiable developmental stages. This study is anchored on the theory because it believes that moral development is gradual and developmental. The findings of this study will either confirm or disapprove the tenets of this theory.

Practically, the findings of this study would be of immense benefits to groups and individuals. The results would be beneficial to policy makers, local government education authorities, school heads, teachers, school pupils, researchers and the general public.  The federal and state policy makers in education will use the findings of this study in revaluating existing school programmes. The findings of this study could be made available to the state through workshops and seminars for primary school teachers within the state.  At the instance of the Education secretary, the findings of this study will be made available to the Local Government Education Authority. The Education Authority will in turn issue some policies on varied ways of promoting moral instruction based on the findings of the study. The policies will be communicated to the various school administrators for implementation. By so doing, the teachers will realize the need to inculcate moral values into children in the course of teaching.

Head-teachers could receive instructions on the findings of this study through the Local Government Education Authority. By means of works and seminars, classroom teachers and various disciplinary committees of primary schools would benefit from the information coming from this study. By means of conferences, the discoveries from this study would expose teachers to new ways of handling moral instruction in primary schools. It would equip them with new and varieties of teaching methods in promoting moral instruction. The findings could be made available to them through communiqués and policy statements coming from the Local Government Education Authority.

Parents would celebrate the outcome of this study. The findings of this study made available to teachers through seminars would eventually give rise to well behaved school children. From their well behaving wards, parents would reap the fruits of their labour. Parents too could be intimated on the findings of the study during their meeting sessions with the school management. The pupils would be the direct beneficiaries of the fruits of this research. They could be intimated on the need for moral education during conferences and in the course of their lessons. Proper moral education is ultimately in the interest of the pupils. When teachers understand the need and actually appreciate moral education, the pupils would be better trained both in character and in learning. They would thus learn through moral education how to embrace life challenges. Above all, school children through proper moral education in schools, will be better equipped with basic moral principles which will eventually improve their quality of life.

Information from this study would be of great help to Nigerian society at large. As new ways of promoting moral instruction are being carried out, and proper moral instruction is being ensured in schools, pupils learn moral principles with which they will use to build up communities where mature consciences reign. The findings of this study could be published for public consumption.

Scope of study

This study was carried out in primary schools in Nsukka East Education Authority.  The study examined the status of Moral Instruction in primary schools in Nsukka East Education Authority; the extent to which individuals and organizations are involved in the promotion of Moral Instruction; the promotional strategies of Moral Instruction in use in primary schools; the extent of using these promotional strategies of Moral Instruction; the resources and facilities employed in the promotion of Moral Instruction; the challenges associated with the promotion of Moral Instruction; and the strategies for promoting Moral Instruction in primary schools.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What is the status of Moral Instruction in primary schools in Nsukka East Education Authority?
  2. To what extent are individuals and organizations involved in the promotion of Moral Instruction in Primary Schools?
  3. What are the promotional strategies of Moral Instruction in primary schools?
  4. To what extent are these promotional strategies used for Moral Instruction in primary schools?
  5. What resources and facilities could be employed in the promotion of Moral Instruction in primary schools?
  6. What are the challenges associated with the promotion of Moral Instruction in primary schools?
  7. What strategies could be proffered for promoting Moral Instruction in primary schools?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study at 0.05 level of significance:

Ho1. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of urban and rural teachers with regard to the status of Moral Instruction in primary schools in Nsukka East Education Authority.

Ho2. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of urban and rural teachers with regard to the extent to which individuals and organizations are involved in the promotion of Moral Instruction in Primary Schools.

Ho3. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of urban and rural teachers with regard to the promotional strategies in use for Moral Instruction in primary schools.

Ho4. There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of urban and rural teachers with regard to the extent t

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