Ethics and spirituality should be taught in schools: Malaysian DPM

LONDON - Values, ethics and spirituality should be included in a country's education system to counterbalance its more "secular" impact, says Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Speaking at the Education World Forum 2014, Muhyiddin said there was a need to embed ethics and spirituality to counter the oft-mentioned "education without a soul" dilemma.

"Ignoring values, ethics and spirituality is no longer acceptable since about five billion of the world's population are involved in the major religions," he said yesterday.

Although Malaysia's education philosophy was already built upon these objectives, Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, said he would propose that the country take this forward to counterbalance the more secularising elements of education.

"We are committed to work togeĀ­ther towards this aim in developing individuals based on good ethics and sound spiritual values as responsible leaders and learned members of the global community," he added.

Muhyiddin also said education for education's sake was not sufficient if it did not take into account its impact on the environment, human relations and how current policies and strategies would affect the world that children would inherit in the near future.

"Malaysia's conviction in these areas will form key priorities in how we reform and map our own education system post-2015," he added.

On the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, he said he believed that teacher and school leadership abilities were the most important levers of change.

"In producing a dynamic teaching force, we will put in place stringent entry requirements, individualised continuous professional development opportunities, career progression by competencies and performance, and peer-led culture of excellence.

"Ultimately, our educators should be universally marketable," he added.

Education, he said, should also move beyond merely acquiring basic skills in numeracy, literacy and learning outcomes to honing a global citizenship mindset among students.

In the future, he said, Malaysians would embody values in support of the global citizenship mindset.

"Various efforts will be put in, including strengthening Islamic and moral education that places greater emphasis on greater understanding of values taught in the classroom," he said, adding that schools would be encouraged to take part in activities with partner schools in other countries.