Experts in the education sector have stated that Nigeria requires sound ethical values and principles to ensure political stability, improve productivity, international and financial ranking as well as attract direct economic benefits
They observed that ethical values are vital to socio-economic life of the country and called on the Federal and state governments to inculcate the study of ethical values and behaviours in the education curricula.
They stated that political, religious and economic leaders also require knowledge to grow the country. Speaking at a two-day seminar organised by Peaceland College of Education, Enugu, in partnership with Globethics, Geneva, Switzerland, President and Founder, Globethics Foundation, Prof Christoph Stueckelberger, stressed that inability to inculcate sufficient ethics was part of the challenges faced by African countries.
Stueckelberger, who spoke on the topic: “How to increase integrity and value in the system,” stated that Nigeria could overcome her political and other challenges by imbibing appropriate ethics, stressing that ethical studies was important to the judiciary, legislature and civil servants for the peace and security of any nation.
He said: “As an evolving nation, we need to strengthen those attributes that can guarantee the future. We need to strengthen ethics in higher education because it is the springboard to produce future leaders. If our students are not ethically minded, they will learn unethical behaviour like sorting, bribery, sexual harassment, stealing, and others. They tend to continue with it when they become politicians, business men and women, teachers, professionals, and this, at the long run, will impact negatively on the growth and development of the society.”
Stueckelberger said inculcating the study in the curricula and training teachers was the fastest way to ensure its realisation, noting that the society thrives better with sound and effective education of the people.
He, however, observed that for ethical principles and values to work in Nigeria, government and other heads of institutions must live up to their responsibilities by ensuring justice and fairness to the people.
“They must also improve salaries. One of the reasons we have observed is that it encourages unethical behaviour in Nigeria with low salaries. Ethical principles and values cannot thrive where workers are not well paid. There is also the influence of the wealthy in the society, who will want to use their wealth to obtain whatever they want; that will seriously hamper ethical values but we can solve it, with adequate provisions.
Provost of the College, Leo Ilechukwu, explained that ethics could have its way in governance, education, politics, family and society, adding that it was necessary for teachers and students to be abreast with it based on their role in the society.
“If people are trained and they understand the value of ethics, then, we will have a better society. They are going to comply more and when they do, it will lead to more productivity and growth for our nation,” he said.
On the issue of poor emoluments as part of the challenges in the practice of ethical values and principles, Ilechukwu, stated that it was a clarion call for the productive sector, especially private concerns, saying enhancing workers welfare would lead to more capital.
Another speaker, Felix Ugwuozor, however, faulted the notion that the only way to change the society was by institutional reforms, saying this can only be possible with the right ethical principles and values.
Ugwuozor, who is also the Deputy Provost of the school, said producing teachers and students with the right ethics and values would greatly impact the society, stressing that the classroom offers the best environment for people to learn and grow.