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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422

Abstract

VAN DER WALT, Johannes (Hannes) L. The search for a moral compass and a new social contract in the context of citizenship education. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2019, vol.75, n.4, pp.1-10. ISSN 2072-8050.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5359.

Some observers regard South Africa as one of the most violent, lawless and morally depraved societies in the world. Several other countries around the world can be shown to be similarly afflicted. In South Africa's case, this condition might be because of political transformation, particularly the lingering effects of the struggle against past injustices (apartheid, racism) inflicted on sections of the population. The social instability has been exacerbated by an influx of migrants and a resultant increase in diversity. One way of attempting to assuage this situation is to harness the school subject known as 'citizenship education' for guiding the upcoming generations into committing to a new moral compass, that is, awareness or consciousness with a conscience, and to an accompanying new social contract. Finding a rationale for such a moral compass and social contract that all the citizens of South Africa and of other similarly stricken countries would be prepared to commit to is a daunting task because people tend to be subjective in reflecting about their personal and group views, particularly about their religious beliefs and convictions. Closer examination reveals, however, that despite all the diversity, differences and conflict prevalent in societies, people are potentially able to share a set of basic values that arguably could form the core of the sought-for moral compass. Citizenship education could be functional in bringing home to the next generation the notion of henceforth living in accordance with the precepts of such a moral compass and social contract.

Keywords : Citizenship education; Morality; Moral compass; Social contract; Religion.

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