Every child should be educated and the United Nations has made it one of the fundamental human rights of every child, recognizing the harm in having uneducated persons and the importance of an educated citizenry. Unfortunately, there are some barriers to effective learning that receivers and givers of education have dealt with since time memorial, and some of these barriers are rooted in our ethics. The list of unethical issues in education that sometimes act as stumbling blocks to effective learning can be said to be endless. However, some of the common ethical issues in education faced by stakeholders in the education sector are as follows:
Choice of Instructor /or Teacher
One of the commonest ethical issues in education is the choice of teacher a particular child or set of children will have in the following year. Such issues usually ensue between the principal, school administration and parents of the children. The choice of instructor /or teacher usually ensue between the principal, school administration and parent. Two predictable outcomes usually result from such an issue – the principal either reluctantly concurs to the parents’ request or he makes a blanket statement stating the policy against honouring parents’ opinion as regards the choice of teachers for a particular class.
Issues of Discipline
The notion of zero tolerance policy against the give-them-another chance policy cannot work across the board. Some quarters, especially parents and guardians might be against the zero tolerance policy for reasons best known to them, others support the idea. Both concepts can be applied simultaneously in all educational institutes. While the zero tolerance policy is used for aggressive and anti-social and behavioural in-disciplinary actions like carrying firearms in the school and bullying, the second chance policy can be used for the encouragement of better academic performance. The second chance policy does not necessarily mean one should spare the rod and spoil the child.
Ethnic and Social Diversity
Schools are continuously faced with the issue of diversity stemming from students having different social and ethnic backgrounds. Public schools in particular, have had to deal with issues relating to racial inequality and ethnic differences. All educational institutes, particularly the public ones, need to address the issue of diversity by modifying the curriculum. Ethnic sports and multicultural festivals should be organized at schools, helping to bring together students of diverse backgrounds and helping to promote unity amongst them. The inclusion of prominent historical issues from different ethnics would also help students to get familiar with one another’s cultural, ethnic, racial, and even religious differences.
It has often been argued that examinations are not a true test of knowledge, as some students suffer from what is sometimes referred to as “examination fever”, where even a brilliant student finds it difficult to pass the simplest examination. On a serious note, the argument of how students should be graded and the parameters guiding such grades are always questionable. On the other hand, who takes the blame for the failure of the student(s) – the rather incompetent teacher or the lazy student. In addition to the ethical issues affecting learning mentioned above, other issues worth noting include flexibility in the curriculum development, teaching strategy, continuous assessments, knowledge transfer and best practices cross the board. Each of the issues mentioned requires deep understanding and careful scrutiny to proffer effective solutions and enhance the educational system.
IICE (Ireland International Conference on Education) Blog, (2017), Ethical Issues in Education – Barriers to Learning in Schools, http://www.iicedu.org/blog/ (Accessed Date: Insert the date).