VIRTUE ETHICS FOUNDATION has launched a petition calling upon the government to shake-up current, non-statutory character education in mainstream schools and adequately teach and support children to tackle today’s societal issues including homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia and knife crime through a structured, values-based curriculum with human dignity at its core.
With hate crimes and intolerances towards women, Muslims and marginalised communities continuing to rise, the current education system is undoubtedly failing to support children and their families through its attempts to imbue tolerance or a duty to accept others through a non-compulsory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) curriculum. Current teaching is frequently centred around schools’ own religious agendas or narrow societal experiences which fall short of the breadth of intolerances experienced by communities across the UK today.
The petition calls for a review and restructure of PSHE to include structured character education using virtue ethics to emphasise the understanding and appreciation of human dignity. Human dignity recognises that human beings have special value and they are worthy of respect because of the fact that they are human beings.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Chair, Virtue Ethics Foundation, says: “Society is facing many problems and challenges such as xenophobia, homophobia, racism, gun and knife crime. To tackle this, we need to equip our children with an education that will help them to internalise the ethical, moral values of respect and fairness for all and seeing everyone as equals. So much is taught in schools to help prepare children for the future; what is missing is a methodology that helps instil values of respect and fair treatment of others. The current education system is broken and to fix it we need to build understanding upon a solid foundation. That foundation is a deep and genuine understanding of human dignity and why everyone deserves respect and empathy because of that commonality.”
Ali Azam, co-founder, Virtue Ethics Foundation, says: “We are working to help create a society in which human dignity is respected above all else. Our children have the right to grow up in a tolerant world where a regard for human dignity guides all social, spiritual, political, economic and cultural actions and everyone is respected indiscriminately. We are therefore asking everyone who is concerned about the surge of problems our society is dealing with, to support our petition today.”
The petition requests the Department for Education to introduce compulsory and defined character education for all children from primary school age under PSHE. It seeks the introduction and nurture of the universal virtues of respect, fairness, courage,forbearance and compassion as a specific methodology.
For media enquiries contact Julia Roche. Emailjulia@write-thought.co.uk or telephone 07908 572 470.
- Sign the Virtue Ethics Foundation petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/578638
- Interviews are available with Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Chair of Virtue Ethics Foundation andAli Azam, co-founder, Virtue Ethics Foundation.
- The current Department for Education non-statutory Character Education framework guidance is here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904333/Character_Education_Framework_Guidance.pdf
- The Virtue Ethics Foundation website can be seen here: https://virtueethicsfoundation.com