‘Enhancing Productivity: The Case of the Uncommon Worker’ Full Speech by Rev. Bernard Arde-Acquah (3)

Education
‘Enhancing Productivity: The Case of the Uncommon Worker’ Full Speech by Rev. Bernard Arde-Acquah (1)  and ‘Enhancing Productivity: The Case of the Uncommon Worker’ Full Speech by Rev. Bernard Arde-Acquah (2)

Are worth reading before reading part three

Part three:

EDUCATION WITH CHARACTER

 “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education”. (Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-1968, American Clergyman, Nobel Prize Winner and American Civil Rights Activist)

Character formation and development is an essential component of education. Education with character refers to the kind of education which not only emphasizes academic excellence but also encourages and rewards good character.

Character development is critical for both individual and national progress. Any kind of education which belittles the value of good character as a necessary tool for development ends up producing intelligent people who lack positive values of truthfulness, dependability, excellence, integrity, patriotism, fairness, responsibility and respect. This kind of education allows for the exploitation of the masses by the few educated elites whose hold is perpetuated by keeping the masses ignorant.

Education is not only about learning subjects such as Accounting and Marketing and Business Management. A more comprehensive definition of education addresses emotions, personality, and character as well.

As dangerous as a little knowledge is, even more, dangerous is much knowledge without a strong, principled character. Purely intellectual development without commensurate internal character development makes as much sense as putting a high-powered sports car in the hands of a teenager who is high on drugs. Yet all too often in the academic world, that’s exactly what we do by not focusing on the character development of young people. A key essential to national development is an approach to education that incorporates values, ethics, emotional maturity and a sense of civics.

To many, this sounds simple, straightforward and even self-evident. However, modern education has mostly developed in another direction, one that focuses entirely on students’ academic and, to a lesser extent, physical development (e.g. physical education, sports) where you learn to abide by rules and teamwork. There is a need for a new yet traditional approach to education, one that emphasizes character as well as intellectual development.

While recognizing the primary role that parents rightfully play in the character development of their children, we also affirm the essential role that schools must play in promoting students’ character development and preparing them to be effective citizens.

The goals of character education are thus essentially the goals of raising good children: youth who understand, care about and act upon the core ethical values (such as diligence, compassion, integrity, and fairness) that make for a productive, just, and democratic society.

As they grow in character, young people grow in their capacity and commitment to do their best work, do the right thing, and lead lives of purpose.

Effective character education involves creating the kinds of classrooms and school environments that enable all students, without exception, to realize their potential to achieve these vital goals. A child who spends six or more hours at school every day, learns many lessons that have nothing to do with academics.

He or she learns to play, share, socialize, and resolve conflicts. Character education systematizes these lessons, allowing students to develop a moral compass. Work which yields much result requires both intelligence and good character. Without character, the time and energy spent building a nation will be futile, because a bad character trait like corruption can rob a nation of its wealth which may have taken decades of hard work to build. It is estimated that Africa loses $300bn yearly to corruption.

Education with character is the only way to guarantee sustainable national development. This kind of education produces people who understand the repercussions of their actions and who have learnt to conduct themselves in an appropriate way. True education must inculcate positive character traits and moral values in an individual and aim at imparting the principles of truth, discipline, order, and responsibility in people. And that must define and sum up the culture of a people – a culture of WORK.

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