Ethics refers to a set of philosophical ideas based on which something qualifies as either right or wrong. Ethics are synonymous with an individual’s moral philosophy, and we develop this philosophical predisposition over a long period. Different factors influence its development. Religion, society, immediate family members, and education are the most prominent influences.
Ethics and education go hand-in-hand. An individual’s ethical drive gains the most valuable elements through education. At the same time, the presence of ethics is also necessary to develop a healthy learning environment. It places a massive responsibility on educational institutes to strike a balance between ethical stance and knowledge delivery. Ethics safeguard the interest of both students and teachers. They produce a healthy student-teacher relationship to ensure respectful interaction.
Ethics has a two-sided role in education. Firstly, it grows a student’s intellectual capacity to process the difference between evil and virtue more comprehensively. Secondly, it garners critical thinking skills to evaluate a situation properly before passing a verdict. This article covers four different dimensions of these two facets. It discusses the role of ethics in education and why educational institutions should prioritise it.
1. Creates awareness of the prevalent dilemmas
Many times we face situations where we cannot decide which option to choose. What is the right decision? There are many dilemmas in various spheres of life today. Whether it is choosing between correct alternatives as a politician or the proper course of action as a social worker, dilemmas exist. Ethical dilemmas surround people in all fields worldwide. In the social work field, the social worker ethical dilemmas could include the right to self-determination or varying personal values. And failure to address critical ethical issues can result in exploitation, malpractices, and misconduct.
People usually don’t call out such issues because of a lack of ethical understanding and moral awareness. When ethics are appropriately incorporated into the education system, it helps students develop the proper awareness of ethical dilemmas.
2. Develops a better teacher-student relationship
When educational institutions prioritise ethics, students become more respectful of teachers. The same goes for teachers too. There is a bilateral understanding between the two which develops a robust teacher-student relationship. It enables vigorous learning transfer and a cordial environment. All the protocols and guidelines to behave and interact in the class revolve around them. Therefore, discipline becomes greatly dependent on ethical bonds.
A whopping 25-40% of new teachers leave their job within the first five years. The leading cause of this behaviour is a weak relationship with students. They are unable to develop a strong bond with the recipient of their knowledge. It leaves a void in the education transfer process, and most teachers do not feel accomplished. The result is a high job turnover of teachers.
3. Inculcates a moral behaviour
Educational institutions produce leaders of tomorrow. Moral development is always incomplete without ethical input in students. Ethics in education completes the cycle of moral development for an individual.
The globalised world that we inhabit today has so many cultures, societies, and traditions. The baseline that stands similar among all has to be ethics. Only then can we create a world with standardised protocols for right and wrong. However, local influences will still play a role. Something suitable for a region might not receive a similar acceptance somewhere else. The need is to identify these differences rightfully.
4. Necessary for professional development
The modern corporate environment has become increasingly sensitive to ethics. There might not be a single organisation that doesn’t have its code of ethics and conduct. These documents have now become industry standards. It shows the significance of ethics in the workplace. Therefore, people need to develop a better understanding of them to become a productive part of the workplace.
Educational institutions prioritising them will prove helpful for the future workforce. Students will develop a ground understanding of ethics before actually entering the job market. Moreover, once they have become a part of an organisation, their internal progress also depends on their ethics compliance. Therefore, professional development is only possible when you have the necessary understanding and respect for ethics. It implies that educational institutions must ensure the essential ethical training of students.
Ethics | Conclusion
It’s neither our tech nor the modern lifestyle that distinguishes us from animals. It is our sense of differentiating right from wrong. Education plays the most critical role in nourishing our mental drives for developing the appropriate intellect to identify this difference. Therefore, there is a strong rationale for incorporating ethics into educational institutions and formal academia.
The sole purpose of education is enlightenment which itself is a more elaborate form of awareness. Therefore, education and ethics are closely knitted to each other and must acknowledge each other’s importance. Today, organisations and institutes have become wary of ethical standards because they serve as the basis of addressing varying cultures and values.