Book Review: DANIEL SIKAZWE
Title: Ethics, Morals and Values in Education
Author: Professor Plyson Manyani Muzumara
A BOOK that could not have come at a better time than now when conversations about how to uphold the Zambian values contained in the preamble to the Zambian constitution has just been published by a leading academic, Professor Plyson Manyani Muzumara.
The national values and principles contained in the Zambian constitution are: morality and ethics, patriotism and national unity, democracy and constitutionalism, human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and nondiscrimination, good governance and integrity and sustainable development.
These national values are important in the interpretation of this Constitution, the enactment and interpretation of the law and the development and implementation of State policy.
The book Ethics, Morals and Values in Education presents the rallying call of ‘catch them young’ – or impart ethics, morals and values in young people when they are still in the national education system.
The book is written against the background that there is general discontentment among Zambian citizens about how young people are growing up in an environment of declining moral standards.
The author makes a strong response to the ubiquitous conversations heard in the public sphere and abounding in a plethora of media platforms about corruption, thefts, child defilement, examination malpractices, gender-based violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and disrespect or abandonment of most of what can be called indigenous culture – the bedrock of what has kept our nation together through the decades.
Ethics, Morals and Values in Education aims to promote the establishment of a happy, decent and competitive Zambia in which citizens uphold the fundamental values upon which Zambia as a country was founded.
The author believes that the best way to create a nation of citizens who are high on ethics, morals and values is by teaching these virtues in teacher education programmes at both pre-service and in-service levels.
Furthermore, it is the considered view of the author that teachers empowered with solid education in ethics; morals and values will not only go out and teach leaners in schools these standards but will also live exemplary lives worth of emulation by the learners.
This way, teachers will not only be people who deliver academic content but will also be role models to children who may be coming from homes and communities where there is a rapid erosion of ethics, morals and values.
The author argues for the establishment of a well-defined education policy that ensures that by graduation time, the education system offloads to society total citizens who are ready to serve the country with excellence. It is a quest to provide education that trains the complete person – heart, head and body.
The book is a complete package for both academic and easy personal learning purposes. It is written in simple everyday English which is somewhat surprising especially that the author is such an accomplished academician who could have chosen to offload his knowledge at the highest level of sophistication.
The author ensures that there is no doubt about the meaning, relevance and benefits of ethics, morals and values to every reader. He begins the book by putting in context ethics, morals and values in both our society and the international community.
What is profoundly striking about the way the author persuades the reader to begin the journey to personal and societal moral excellence is that the writer makes it clear that we live in a world that once taught its young people ethics, morals, and values in a robust system of maxims like proverbs, songs, gatherings around the fire and initiation ceremonies which were debunked by the ugly hand of colonialism.
The author exposes the ignorance of some leading western thinkers whose reviling of the ethos of African communitarian life formed the basis for the colonisation of the African continent and the minds of its people.
The advice the book gives to education policy makers about beginning from the vast knowledge of our African society, the universal reflections of philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists and the existing body of knowledge in education is invaluable.
The teacher trainer will benefit immensely from vast knowledge about learning theories and their applications in teaching ethics, morals and values contained in the book.
For the student teacher, the newly-graduated teacher and the practicing teacher all those daunting problems of understanding children, relating with their parents, class management and relating with other teachers and school management have been worked out so easily in this book.
In this simplicity of presentation, the author has elected to have conversations with the general public about the reshaping of our country into the society that we all want it to be.
Ethics, Morals and Values in Education is a masterpiece and the first of its kind in Zambia. It was painstakingly written to make understanding easy.
Every chapter begins with objectives or learning outcomes that the reader must measure themselves against at the end of the chapter. This ensures that for the student teacher, it is impossible to fail an examination in ethics, morals and values because the objectives provide a yardstick for self-evaluation.
Ethics, Morals and Values in Education stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best written and most didactic books in the field written by leading education authorities from the best universities in the world like Ethics in Education for Values by Gardner et al, and I would not swap Professor Muzumara’s book for any of them.
Prof Muzumara holds a doctorate in education science from the University of Atlanta in the United States and a master’s in education management and vocational education from the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom.
He has taught courses at the university and college level on teaching methodology, early childhood education, curriculum studies and education leadership and management. He has held numerous high-level positions at teachers colleges and universities and served on national-level education training and management boards.
Book Review: DANIEL SIKAZWE