Sat, 14 Oct 2023 Feature Article

The Necessity of Moral Education in a Technological Age

The Necessity of Moral Education in a Technological Age

In the modern world, the acronym STEM, representing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has become a symbol of progress, innovation, and economic growth. STEM proponents emphasize the role of technology and scientific advancement in driving transformation across various sectors, from industries and commerce to healthcare and engineering. However, while STEM's undeniable potential to increase productivity and efficiency is apparent, it is equally crucial to acknowledge that STEM alone cannot address all aspects of human development.

This article argues that a society like Ghana grappling with moral challenges and ethical dilemmas, including the arts in the form of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), is indispensable. The moral fabric of a society, its values, ethics, and citizens' character are paramount to its success and well-being.

By its nature, STEM is primarily concerned with knowledge and technical skills. It equips individuals to solve complex problems, create innovative solutions, and streamline processes. Technology, with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), has the potential to automate repetitive tasks and make significant advancements in various fields. It promises economic growth and prosperity. However, STEM alone cannot inculcate moral character and values in individuals in our nation-building.

Human skills complement STEM technical prowess in a world where technology reigns supreme. These skills include teamwork, cooperation, effective communication, empathy, collaboration, creativity, ethical leadership, and adaptability in the face of change. These qualities make individuals technically competent, socially responsible, and morally intelligent. In a society facing moral challenges, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of these soft skills, and this is where the arts play a pivotal role.

The arts encompass a broad spectrum of human expressions, including literature, philosophy, history, and the creative arts. Classical philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus grappled with moral questions and provided insights into human character. They were concerned not only with grand metaphysical and epistemological theories but also with practical wisdom that could guide individuals in navigating the complexities of the human experience. Their teachings on virtues, ethics, and moral character development are as relevant today as in ancient times.

One notable historical example is Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic philosopher-king of Rome. His book "Meditations" offers profound insights into ethics and moral character, providing valuable lessons for modern leaders. Marcus Aurelius' teachings revolved around self-control, rationality, and duty, emphasizing ethical conduct in personal and public life. His wisdom remains a beacon of guidance in a society where ethical leadership is desperately needed.

Greco-Roman philosophers were deeply aware of the moral challenges of pluralistic cultures, moral ambiguities, and the complexities of their time. They recognized the need for moral education and virtuous living as a path to true happiness. Their teachings transcended the pursuit of mere pleasure, possessions, and power, offering a holistic approach to well-being that is equally relevant in the modern context.

To illustrate, philosophers like Seneca, Epictetus, Lucian of Samosata, Cicero, and Musonius Rufus shared a common vision of the good life rooted in virtue, wisdom, and ethical conduct. Their philosophies provided a moral compass for individuals in an era of moral challenges and temptations. In a society confronting similar issues today, the wisdom of these philosophers can serve as a guide for individuals seeking moral clarity and direction.

In conclusion, STEM is pivotal in advancing society, offering technological solutions and economic growth. However, it is essential to recognize that society cannot thrive on technological progress alone. In a world where moral challenges, ethical dilemmas, and values erosion are prevalent, including the arts in STEAM becomes imperative. The arts, particularly philosophy, literature, and history, provide the moral foundation and wisdom necessary to address the moral void in our society. The teachings of classical philosophers offer timeless insights into moral character and ethical leadership, making the case that a country swimming in a cesspool of corruption needs moral teaching as much, if not more, than science and technology.