PETALING JAYA: An educationist has proposed that moral education in schools be revamped through a more hands-on approach to encourage volunteerism and greater understanding of values.
UPM Associate Professor Normaliza Abd Rahim told FMT that in the United Kingdom and South Korea, where she had spent time working in the past, school children were exposed and encouraged to volunteer their time for community work.
“In the UK, naughty students who commit serious infractions would have to do some form of community service as their punishment, whether it is picking trash from public places, or helping out at hospitals or old folk’s homes.”
In Korea, Normaliza said students were given extra points in their school assessments for volunteering.
She said such acts of volunteerism were rewarded with certificates.
“This is not only an acknowledgement of a student’s hard work, but also helps them in the future as it strengthens their resumes.”
Normaliza said in Malaysia, an entire hands-on subject on volunteerism should be introduced from pre-school to the secondary level.
“Perhaps, at the pre-school level, the children could be taken on field trips to nature areas for exposure or partake in drama performances that promote moral values. At the primary level to secondary level, they could do annual projects or even monthly projects.”
She explained that this could be activities such as clean-ups or volunteering at charity homes or even holding fund-raisers for charity organisations.
“All this give them first-hand exposure as to what others go through to help the community.
“If they pick up trash, they will be more mindful of pollution. If they raise funds, then they will learn how hard it is for people to earn money and the compassion people have in giving their hard-earned money to charity.”
She said by doing hands-on activities, students will understand the true meaning of respecting culture, religion and, most importantly, being a good Samaritan.
She suggested the subject be made compulsory for all students and a requirement for completing the SPM.
Normaliza’s proposal comes a day after both Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) President Akhbar Satar and Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation Chairman Lee Lam Thye said integrity should be promoted among Malaysians at an early age.