Morality stems from a combination of innate and social factors, with innate factors those present in an individual from birth, while social factors refer to influences from family, friends, schooling and the wider community.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) therefore continues to promote morality through curricula at all education levels and in all forms to strengthen students’ ethics.
This main focus of this article is the promotion of student ethics within the curriculum frameworks in general education.
The Ministry of Education has included Morals and Civics in the curriculum from kindergarten level to Grade 12.
For kindergarten and primary education, MoEYS has added Social Studies as a subject from Grade 7 to Grade 12 Morals and Civics.
Morals and Civics has been included as separate major subject, which provides in-depth study of culture, tradition, religion and individual responsibility, societal and global morals and ethics, and treaties and laws regarding human rights, as well as becoming a “global citizen”.
The Ministry of Education has instructed all educational institutions to fully implement the curriculum, including civic ethics, to strengthen the capacity of students at all levels to become global citizens demonstrating good behaviour and possessing skills and values in response to national, regional and global contexts.
The strength of individuals’ ethics depends on the participation of all stakeholders, with MoEYS working closely with all relevant ministries, institutions and development partners.
The Ministry of Education has begun reforming the special education system, reviewing and improving the curriculum, as well as learning and teaching practices.
The preparation of the curriculum framework and enhancing of general knowledge and technical education is to contribute to the development of citizens with the necessary skills, good behaviour and strong personalities capable of ably participating in the development of the nation.
The curriculum framework regarding general knowledge and technical education is designed to educate and train Cambodians to become well rounded citizens by standardising a curriculum established to international standards in terms of the content, and the teaching and learning methods employed.
It also sets out how to evaluate academic results to enable students to respond to the needs of the labour market at the national, regional and global levels.
Within the framework of the curriculum, general knowledge and technical education highlight a range of skills that contribute to the improvement of students’ ethics.
These include communication skills and teamwork, critical thinking and the ability to innovate, and the ability to apply knowledge, as well as development skills for the individual, the family and the wider society.
All of these skills will guide students to:
(i) Communicate well and work effectively in teams;
(ii) Convey ideas, knowledge, skills, emotions and opinions;
(iii) Evaluate information based on reasoning;
(iv) Effectively and promptly negotiate mechanisms and problem-solving approaches to best serve the interests of all;
(v) Instil the desire to study independently and develop values to ensure lifelong learning;
(vi) Promote innovation, create new possibilities and new ideas, and analyse problems to find solutions;
(vii) Take responsibility for themselves, their families and their society with understanding, compassion, gratitude and commitment;
(viii) Live ethically, making wise right-wrong judgements, while safeguarding and growing integrity;
(ix) Show unity in fulfilling team responsibilities and in mutual relationships with compassion and kindness to engender happiness for self, family and society.
At the same time, in general education institutions, both public and private, morality and ethics are integrated and taught in Social Studies at all grade levels. Social Studies as a subject is a combination of social science and humanities.
Social Studies aims to strengthen and expand the ability of learners to be accountable citizens.
This subject also focuses on theories and applications related to cultural and traditional identity, the environment, history, geography, law and politics.
Social Studies contains the following components: History, Geography, Morals and Civics, Economics and Philosophy.
The goals in studying Social Studies include ensuring that learners:
(i) Acquire knowledge and skills related to cultural and traditional identity and customs, the environment, history and geography, as well as the laws and politics of Cambodia and other countries in the region;
(ii) Develop skills related to roles and responsibilities as learners and citizens in school, the family, the community, the wider society and the international community;
(iii) Apply the knowledge and skills learned from studying the subjects taught in Social Studies for further study as well as in their daily lives;
(iv) Develop a love and respect for nature, the nation, religion and the monarchy as educated and responsible citizens proud of their country and religion, and respectful of others.
The Ministry of Education has been cooperating with other ministries, institutions, development partners and related partners in disseminating and educating students at all levels in ethics.
This has been undertaken through teaching, the publishing of articles, short video clips and a range of images to ensure that all students at all levels have acquired knowledge and skills, as well as good attitudes and behaviour, in response to living in society and become upstanding citizens in the national, regional and global contexts.