Instilling ethics is every school's duty
With reference to recent reports about inter-college rivalry, serious questions need to be asked of the management and teachers of any university, college, or school where a culture of inter-varsity competitiveness evolves into murder and mayhem.
For the past three years I have been associated with IRPC Technological College, Rayong, an industry-sponsored vocational college with some 1,300 young men and women training for their future.
Training in ethics and moral are placed as high on the curriculum as academic and vocational subjects under the college's belief that it is responsible for the total development of the students.
Lessons of ethics and morals are encoded at all levels of management, teaching staff and students, and students have to keep a diary of their moral and ethical development, which is regularly discussed with their teacher-mentors.
Corporate and individual social responsibility is also given prominence. Teams of apprentice tradesmen and women regularly visit local communities to repair electrical and mechanical equipment free of charge. Accountancy students show villagers how to set up household budgets. Other students participate in clean-up campaigns or join in "green" activities by helping to plant trees. A whole relay of students took to the field last year to assist in the aftermath of the disastrous floods.
It is a pleasure to walk onto the campus at IRPCT and see the pride and confidence with which the students comport themselves, but without any show of arrogance or superiority.
Indeed, the students are most courteous and respectful of any university or college campus with which I have been associated in the past ten years.
I am not suggesting that IRPCT is alone among vocational colleges that emphasise ethical and moral behaviour; I am sure there are many more across the nation that do likewise. But the point of this letter is that ethics and morals can be taught and instilled through carefully thought out and executed programmes aimed at developing individual and group behavioural values.
Any college not doing so is remiss in its duty.