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A Nun’s Strive To Revive Moral Education In Schools

Posted: Jul 10, 2015 at 4:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chukwujekwu Ilozue  – Awka

 

“President Muhammadu Buhari was sent an invitation and we got a message that he has shown interest because this association is falling into his mantra, his advocacy for change”. That was how Rev. Sister Mary- Jude Therese Nwodo, national coordinator of Association for Moral Education, Nigeria, spoke excitedly about the forthcoming Four-day First National Conference on Moral Education coming up on July 14, 2015.

Sister Nwodo said the conference to be held under the theme: ‘Moral Education for National Development’ was borne out of concern over the declining moral values among Nigerian children.

According to her the Association of Moral Education is a 35 member nation non-profit making, non-governmental interdisciplinary association comprising people of like-minds who came together to in order to build a better society.  She said the coming national conference aimed at creating an enabling environment whereby every individual could thrive, irrespective of his or her religion because no religion abhors moral. She noted that moral education though not new2 in Nigeria had suffered serious set-back following the promulgation of the May 2, 1971 Edict which confiscated all schools from Churches and voluntary agencies.

She said that despite the confiscation of schools the government still appreciated the value of moral education, because Section 4 (d) of National Policy on Education clearly stated that teachers should inculcate morals, sound attitudes and good behaviour in pupils.

Sister Nwodo said she had came face to face with the enormity of the moral rot in Nigeria in 2002 when she was appointed Director of Religious Education by the Catholic Diocese of Onitsha and subsequently Desk Officer on moral Education at the Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB).

She said, “When I conducted a feasibility study, I discovered that even the word moral education was not in the time table of schools so I wondered how we can talk about moral education without having it in school time table. From there, I discovered that on Wednesday’s when moral education is taught children would not come to school early. Then teachers did not take it serious. So, I felt that the children are being cheated. I started what I called ‘Towards a Better Society’ through seminars and workshops and people became interested”. Sister Nwodo added that she had written a letter to former Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu in 2009, intimating him that she was trying to create a better society by educating the people to bring back virtues that are going into extinction.

She said that although Civic Education, Christian Religious Education and Social Studies were taught in schools, she felt that though they are related, that by comparative studies of religion, they are not the same.

According to her the absence of moral had created all sorts of societal ills especially among Nigerian youths.

In 2010 Sister Nwodo was invited by Joint Consultative Committee on Education to present a paper on Moral Education at its conference in Uyo. The paper was finally accepted in 2012 after some initial resentment.

Rev. Sister Nwodo said the association was not restricted to any particular religion but was open to those interested in building a better society that would create an enabling environment where individuals can thrive.

“We don’t want anything that will divide us, we want what will bring us together’, she said. So the aims of the association are among other things to bring together professionals from all walks of life to join hands to develop and fashion out a moral blue print for the nation’s education curriculum as a stepping stone for moral reform; to see how they can bridge religious bigotry that is eating the nation up; every religion has its code of conduct and no religion abhors moral and so on.

Among stakeholders that would deliver papers at the conference are Alhaji Aliyu Ardo, Director of Programme, Nomadic Education Commission; Dr. Aminu Ladan Sherif , Director General, National Teachers’ Institute; Prof. Leonard Moghalu, former Commissioner for Education in Anambra state; and Prof. Kate Omenugha, the current Commissioner for Education in Anambra State, while Prof. Godswill Obioma, former Executive Secretary, National Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), will deliver the key note address.