Is a moral or basic fundamental education more important?

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boomer-sooner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe neither moral nor basic fundamental learning is more important than the other. To be a productive member of society, a person should have both a moral understanding as well as logical knowledge of the world. Failure to obtain either will result in the person being an incomplete member of the populace.

The question of whether morality is instinctual or a learned behavior still rages in academic circles. There are certainly some actions everyone would recognize as inherently evil by their mere nature, such as intentional and unwarranted infliction of pain. There also seems to be an innate sense of fairness in children. Although it appears some morality is instinctual, much needs to be learned as well. If a person does not develop a deeper sense or moral purpose, the chance they will take advantage of society increases. Every society has flaws morally depraved people can exploit. Therefore, moral education is necessary to maintain the social construct.

Logical education — information grounded in basic skills such as math, reading, and writing — is also important. In order to be a productive member of society, a person must have some foundation of knowledge by which to apply skills towards helping society. Society should demand logical education because society cannot evolve without new ideas and input from the population. 

These two educations work in tandem. A morally superior person who cannot contribute on a larger scale provides no positive input to society. In fact, the person may be a drain on society if society must support him or her through social programs. A logically educated person without morals is assumed to exploit society to gain the most benefit with the least amount of work. This can lead to dictatorships and other forms of cruelty. A person must have both in order to function as a successful member of society.

If one education must be ranked above the other, then a moral education should come first. This type of education method is already present in many western societies. Children are generally taught by parents the basic rules of society prior to starting formal education at about five years old. Prior to that, children are taught to share and not hit each other, among other regional or cultural norms. A moral child without an education cannot provide support to society, however, which is way laws demand children have access to and attend school.