Moral Character Formation in Secondary Schools: Reflections on Approaches in Tanzania

Nkanileka Loti Mgonda


The formation and promotion of moral character among students is an inevitable outcome of any holistic education process. To adjust to life demands, the education process is dutybound to empower students not only cognitively but also socially, emotionally and morally. This study investigates the approaches secondary schools in Tanzania employ as well as limitations they encountered in promoting students’ moral characters. Owing to the nature of schools, collective-case study design was employed to explore the experiences of government, private and religious secondary schools on Mainland Tanzania. The study findings revealed four major approaches. The approaches are the use of school-based rules, religious teachings, voluntary clubs and students’ character assessment. These approaches vary as they depend on the nature of school ownership. Despite its desirability, moral character formation in schools is constrained by the growing trade-off between moral and academic requirements in the school system. Consequently, moral formation efforts in schools constitute an add-on to academic business that is erroneously considered substantive mission of the school system. The study recommends for schools to place an equal priority on moral character formation, and adaption of a holistic view of education to strike a balance between academic and sociomoral domains of the students’ development.

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