Moral and Civic Education

Authored by: Zhenzhou Zhao

Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138908499
eBook ISBN: 9781315694382
Adobe ISBN:


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This section examines the practice of and challenges to moral and civic education in Asia. The reason why this section considers both of them together lies primarily in the close interrelationship between citizenship and morality in Asia, as demonstrated in the pioneering work by scholars in this region (Grossman, Lee, & Kennedy, 2008; Kennedy, Lee, & Grossman, 2010; Lee, 2004, 2012). For example, Lee (2004) argued that the construction of citizenship in the Asian context is grounded in the local philosophies, and thereof displays three common features across the various societies, including building harmonious interpersonal relationships; pursuing internal, spiritual well-being; and emphasizing individual character development. The Asian experience in construing citizenship largely from the lens of morality appears to make an interesting contrast with a clearer distinction between the two elements in the West. As noted by Cummings, Gopinathan and Tomoda (1988, p. 7), compared with Asia, Western societies ‘tend to place predominant stress on civic values, though in case of most European societies these are supplemented by religious sand moral values’. The five chapters in this section illustrate the transformation of Asian moral and civic education in an increasingly globalized, culturally diverse world. This sectional introduction has three parts: (a) how the long tradition of moral education in Asia faces challenges in the current time; (b) how Asia’s moral and civic education have responded to the global discourses of globalization, human rights and multiculturalism; and (c) how the practice of moral and civic education relates to the broad social fabric.

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