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Teach philosophy not only ethics in schools

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th November 2013 10:47 AM

SCHOLARS need holistic education where educationists generally guide, facilitate and nurture them to seek the ultimate truth in quest for knowledge in their studies

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SCHOLARS need holistic education where educationists generally guide, facilitate and nurture them to seek the ultimate truth in quest for knowledge in their studies

By Fred Ahimbisibwe

I wish to commend Vice Chancellor Uganda Martyrs University, Prof. Charles Olweny for proposing a remedy to the question of corruption and immorality eating our society. This is in reference to an article in New Vision of November 4 titled ‘Teach Ethics in Schools’. 

It was reported in the same article that in the job market, employers look out for employees who cannot only deliver but can keep the company’s image intact. It was further noted that employers premise promotions of employees on morals. This is a valid assertion.

However, I wish to observe that whereas Olweny emphasises that ethics be taught in schools to enable students become morally upright, an element that could contribute to their competitiveness in the labour market; teaching ethics alone would be settling for the minimum. 

Why? Because ethics is just one branch of philosophy that is concerned with the study of morals, conduct or behaviour as either good or bad, valid or otherwise , wrong or right. 

However, scholars need holistic education where educationists generally guide, facilitate and nurture them to seek the ultimate truth in quest for knowledge in their studies. A scholar can be holistically facilitated, nurtured and guided to seek the ultimate truth if he or she has had grounding in philosophy as a discipline in its entirety. 

This is because of the fact that philosophy is the mother of all subjects. Philosophy would polish up scholars not only in morals, conduct, and behavior under ethics, but would also broaden their knowledge through epistemology; sharpen their reasoning or rationalism under Logic as fundamental branches of philosophy. 

History of philosophy would help inform scholars that they ought to provide solutions to societal problems like the first philosophers did in 17th or 18th century. Once scholars provide solutions to the society, it would be ready to pay them in return hence job creation. 

However, given that human understanding is limited in nature, scholars should be introduced to metaphysics- branch of philosophy; for issues that they are unable to apprehend and provide solutions for in quest for the ultimate truth. 

This would perhaps call for integration of faith in teaching and learning thus placing God at the centre in the scholarly world. This would help scholars to fill up the gap in the issues that are beyond human understanding (metaphysical matters).

Consequently scholars would then come out of the school system not as philosophers but with the capacity to philosophise. 

Having the capacity to philosophize implies that one will be able to subject every action and miss action to rationalism guided by the principles of logic, ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics hence rationally resist vices like corruption and other evils. 

In so doing, schools shall nurture scholars who go to universities not to seek studies but rather seek wisdom. People who would want to serve not to be served, people who will be bothered with ideas, creativity and innovations, wisdom and knowledge for life as opposed to being bothered with fashionable propaganda. 

Therefore, universities or schools should guard against abandoning rationalism in favour of sophisticated irrationalism as put by Prof .Walker while delivering a paper at centenary celebrations for Uganda Christian University.

Given the above background, implore the educationists to consider teaching not only ethics as proposed by Olweny but should integrate philosophy and faith in teaching and learning to be able to nurture, guide, facilitate and churn out graduates who are holistically educated and therefore can desist social ills like corruption and moral decay and failure to create, innovate solutions for solving societal problems.

Writer is the director Learning development/ educationist at Microfinance Training and Advisory Services (MATSS) Ltd.

Teach philosophy not only ethics in schools

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