Who is responsible for educating our children on moral values?

Who is responsible for educating our children on moral values? Going to school for a secular education, to acquire knowledge in whatever fields, can be quite straight forward. Given the complexities of organized societies, the multiplicity of race and religion, and now sexual orientation and lifestyle choices, it is simply too obvious that what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, what is normal or abnormal, is not the same to different groups of people. Who shall be responsible to teach children the proper or normal values? Who should be authorized to impart their values to the children? Teaching about the birds and bees may look simple enough. What is not so simple is the morality and values ascribed to them. Who is arrogant enough to think that he/she, his or her organization, shall be the one to decide what to impart to the children as The right thing? Should Aware be authorized to do this part of a child’s education? Or, should any religious group be authorized to be the One to impart its values as the acceptable or right values? Or should there be a consolidation of agreed values by the various groups, a common set of values for all children? Or should each group or parents be the authority to impart their own values to the children? Who is responsible or ultimately be responsible for how these children will turn out eventually? Does the state have a set of values for the children? I think there is and parents do expect that these are the values that their children should be taught and not any other variants of it no matter which group thinks its values are superior or the best for the children. The MOE thus is responsible to ensure that the right values be taught in schools, not someone’s private agenda or values. Failing to ensure that this is done is unacceptable. The parents have certain expectations and they must have confidence that MOE shall deliver what it is expected to deliver.


Kaffein said...

One word - PARENTS.

If you can't handle or teach your kids, then for heaven's sake, why did you bring them out in the first place?

That goes for manners, moral values, courtesy, respect, etc.


坡仔哥哥 said...

Hi Kaffein, I think you are partially right, of course they have responsibiility for manners, moral values and common courtesy..but I disagree with u that they should not bring them out in the 1st place - this commnent is naive and offensive in too many levels...U maybe right, but please reconsider your delivery..

I think that kids gets education in moral value (including sex education) from 3 places - School (hence MOE), Parents and Religious Communities (churches, temples..)

Out of the 3 that I mention, 2 are particularly proactive - Parents and Religious Community. Schools are not proactive. Lets discuss the motivations behind each...

Parents - clearly the kids are born of them and the strong emotional ties which bounds them are clear - kids expects to learn moral values from their parents and parents knows that their kids will reflect their family unbringing in school and other social environments. Simply, the paternal love bounds them and motivates this need for moral education.

Religious Community - they have their Bilbles and Scriptures etc. and they believe in their gods and so they will preach (propagate) their own teachings. Their main difference with Parents are they are not person specific - they are society specific...sort of a "Market Size, Market Share" mentality...each religious leader in their own way is measured (and probably measures him / herself) by the size of his / her church / temple...

School / MOE - They have never been proactive (at least when I was in Sec, JC or even Uni) days about this topic - partially, they dont want to / dont know how to...approach this topic. I am sure there are keen minds in MOE that has tackled this topic internally, but after realizing the immense workload and unclear objectives, the topic of moral values and sex education will be send downwards in their list of priorities.

I just read in another part of this blog that MOE statement (on their position) is that they are "in line with the government's direction...." - when i read it, I can hear the sirens blaring with MOE "hands to battle stations...this is not a drill" - with this statement, MOE has thrown the ball to the govt's court and god forbid if the citizens of Singapore should hold them responsible for the moral education of their kids....they are simply doing what the govenment wants and tell them to do. They merely administer and measure...they do not set agenda and directions.

Silly me...of course...

Anonymous said...

Dear All:

Civics and Ethics was taught in schools in the earlier days in Singapore. So students those days were educated and imbued with moral, values, civility in behaviours.

The Subject was taken off when our Education System shifted the Emphasis to Science, Technology and Commercialism. So, it is not that Education Ministry was not involved/responsible in moulding the students characters. It is just that the Ministry under the Present PRAGMATIC Regime had abandoned the Role/Responsibility
and geared the focus towards Material Attainment.

When Singapore urbanizes from the Eighties, materialism becomes the National Ethos. Wealth/Opulence, Fame and Glory, Vice and Enjoyment Pursuits including sex become the purposes of existence. Hence, we are facing dilemma now.


redbean said...

in catherine lim's blog there is a beka who said that our teenage children are very well read and knowledgeable about sex, and probably more. and these children are highly intelligent and should be allowed to decide what they want to read and form their own values of what is normal or abnormal. and several of them took the position that parents should not imposed their values on these clever children.

they said i am too old fashion and out of touch with the young of today. however, like it or not, i will decide what is best for my children till they are mature enough to decide for themselves. this is the old fashion and out of reality me : )

Matilah_Singapura said...

> Who is responsible for educating our children on moral values? < To answer this question is to first ask WHO decided to have the kids and WHO claimed the sole right to bring up and nurture the kids to adulthood.

It is to this party (parents and guardians) that the responsibility for moral upbringing lies.

They might choose a selection of methods: perhaps the church or temple, or the schools or themselves and the family elders... or a combination.

The point is this: that the parents and guardians GET TO CHOOSE.

Kaffein said...

I don't believe I have been naive and offensive, redbean. For this instance I disagree with you.

Parents (or guardians)* are the SOLE responsibility for educating our children on moral values. This is rightly so as Matilah_Singapura had pointed out.

Moving forward from this point, this is exactly what's happening. Call me conservative or fundamentalist. Children are growing with values determined by the media and books. As each generation passes, you wonder why simple manners or common courtesy are missing. Schools, religious communities and social circle can only do so much.

On a personal experience, I have time and again been shocked when parents expect the school to punish/admonish their kids on their behalf. So that the parents can continue to be the 'good guys'. Likewise, I have also encountered parents telling me while I was a youth leader why I had never counselled her boy on sex education and dating. Least to say, I was stumped.


*This is assumption that the parents or guardians are in a state of mind to be able to do so.

Anonymous said...

Parents and grandparents are closest to our children/grandchildren in terms of relationship and usually are staying together as a family, at least it is so for parents and child(ren). Therefore parents and grandparents MUST educate their children/grandchildren in everything and most importantly moral values.

However, as our youngs are send to childcare/kindergarten at a very age, teachers have to play a big part in moulding our kids. The youngs invariably progress from pre-school to primary, secondary and to higher educations. And as long as they are in the schools, the education system/teachers will have to play their parts in inculcating values to the students.

As for children searching for knowledge on their own from the Internet, medias, entertainments and from their peers, our leaders play a big part here. National Leaders are role models to all their subjects and not only such, they are the very people that vet, control and authorize all materials for the HEALTHY consumptions of the people.

The Government is also the Authority to weed out legally offensive and morally decadent materials from our society.

I am of the view that all have a part to play in inculcating our people. Not only are children in need of moral guidance, many adults too are just as in need of moral compass. We know that some Singaporeans feel that our society is rotting, from the Socio-political Blogs. I share this observation and sentiment.

No one in his/her right mind should think that moral education is the duty of a particular person or a particular organization or authority. May i say that it is the responsibility of each and everyone of us.


Anonymous said...

Dear Reader:

me like to make an amendment to my post above;

'However, as our youngs are send to childcare/kindergarten at a very age' should read


'However, as our youngs are send to childcare/kindergarten at a very YOUNG age....'

My apology !


redbean said...

hi kaffein, no i did not say you are being naive or offensive. you have a point and i share that point, that parents should be the authority to bring up their child according to what they deemed best. exceptions for the mentally disturbed and disabled. matilah also agrees on this.

though there are other agencies performing the same role, the parents should determine if they are acceptable or unacceptable. the law may dispute against the deviant sects.

Jaunty Jabber said...

While parents play most important role in nurturing and inculcating their offspring, while in reality, many of us are born with a natural switch-off mode in our receptive organs whenever parent speaks (not all, maybe not many but there are such kids).

We, as children before, at times or at most times may rebel or challenge what our parents have said, or we are hear and don't listen, we are just not convinced.

Seeing that we are too rebellious and too energetic to be tamed, our parents set rules to curb our behavior. At that age, we ain't matured enough to believe or appreciate how good our parents' golden words are.

With rebellious energy and highly challenging mind, with influence by the media and the surrounding world, we have to be very careful not to allow additional teaching of diversities to the children.

Sex education class is considered a "fun & exciting" lesson for the children, they will enjoy and they will easily trust the trainer. In this case, they listen more to the trainer than to the parents. If the trainer in this case, share some extra-ordinary knowledge / info with the children and did not put a mark that certain behaviors are considered negative in this society, the children are influenced easily.

We do not discriminate homosexuals, bisexual, we respect them and we share the space of this earth with them as equally as possible. We live and move along with this liberalizing world, we know that pre-marital sex is not unusual anymore. However, knowing that extra-ordinary lifestyles, pre-marital sex and liberalized idea of human relationship does attract complication into personal lives and the society as a whole. Trouble and sorrows that comes along the extra-ordinary human relationship and pre-marital sex, unwanted pregnanies, we shall try not to multiply them.

Let's not expose the children to such things until they have reach adulthood, the youngs cannot believed that these lifestyles are neutral options. They need to know that certain behavior does lead to unnecessary apprehension and complications later in lives.

redbean said...

hi jaunty, this pic is you?

Jaunty Jabber said...

Yes Redbean,

So far I displayed only my own pictures.

: )

redbean said...

nice. very nice.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Parents have the right to choose what their children are exposed to, and are solely responsible for their kids moral upbringing.

It might be argued that some parents might not be 'good enough' or teach their kids 'wrongly'.

IT IS STILL THE RIGHT OF PARENTS TO BE WRONG ABOUT THEIR KIDS. PARENT ARE HUMAN, AND THUS PRONE TO ERROR. EVEN SERIOUS ERROR.The government/state has no place interfering with a child's moral upbringing beyond the point of teach children no to lie, cheat or steal. Even though parents might get it 'wrong' — and some do — areas of sex and intimate relationships are best left to families to settle privately