Global Societal Problem Argument and Solution Argumentative Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The Need for a Return to Character Education as a Universal Standard

When the topic of lack of education is brought up it is generally assumed that access to education is the problem. However, lack of education can also refer to the problem of lack of effective education or lack of consistency in education. In many places around the world, education is promoted by the state—for example, Qatar has developed Education City—but a deeply-ingrained culture still exists that resists overtures to education (Bahry & Marr, 2005). The problem that exists in terms of education on a global scale is that education means different things to different people in different cultures and there is no universal standard or sameness in terms of goals that educators around the world pursue at the one and the same time. This creates an overall effect of lack of education around the world, with education gaps between communities. For instance, in some affluent white communities in America, students are more educated than learners in poor black communities in the same nation. One issue is inequality, but understanding that the lack of education around the world results from a lack of universal standardization is primarily the issue. Calling for more access to education is insufficient. What is needed is a clear, universal approach that can appeal to all and that can serve as the foundation for universal education. The topic is important because today’s globalized world may splinter into fragments and into nationalistic wars if global citizenship is not achieved. Ethical implications of this topic are that it can provide the ethical framework needed for uniting the world. To promote global citizenship, character education has to be provided as the foundation for learning and it must be provided uniformly—otherwise there will be stark differences in the type and level of education that people receive from different states all over the world.


Lack of education is a problem for the development of global citizens. Because education standards and access to education are not uniform around the world, there is little chance of a truly global citizenship developing. Moreover, there are cultural barriers that prevent education in one part of the world, such as the Middle East, from being comparable to what it is in other parts of the world. Without equal access to education and universal standards and curriculum, the global citizenry will be disjointed and unequal and therefore not really global. One of the challenges to global citizenry is a lack of education; however, there are other obstacles as well, such as the rise of nationalism in countries like China, Russia, the US and states in the Middle East. There are also cultural obstacles which cause education standards to be different from place to place. To bring uniformity to classrooms around the world, a standard should be agreed upon but there also needs to be a standard of character formation, since this is the basis of all future development.

Why is the lack of moral education at the foundation of the problem of lack of education? The emphasis on subjectivity in the modern era has led to the rise of Ethical Egoism, in which every person sees himself as the arbiter of what is good and bad. There is no focus on external realities, objective truth, ideals or universals. Instead, the ends justify the means and the only ends that matter in an Ethical Egoism framework are the ends that matter most to the individual self. The modern era is consumed with Self. It does not want to hear about conforming the Self or the character to an objective standard because it means submitting the Self to a higher rule of law. The Self wants to establish its own rule of law—but in doing so, it creates an environment in which Self is pitted against Self, in which individual is set against individual. There is no allowance for collectivity or for global citizenry even being possible. As Hill (2015) points out, people have to adopt a more cosmopolitan sense of their place in the world so that they can see that they are part of a larger global community in which diversity of culture exists. Finding a foundation of education that all can agree upon is…

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…character education, and this is where the issue of philosophy becomes more complicated. Character education focuses on axiology, i.e., the nature of values, and because modern philosophy is highly subjective there is fear among some that teachers may teach values that parents do not share. There is no consistency across the board in terms of culture or value system.

The positive outcome of the solution proposed here is that it provides a point of intersection between idealism and realism that can be seen in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, who are the fathers of the two philosophical approaches respectively. Plato’s take on values was idealistic in that he saw everyone as living in a cave of ignorance and he wanted them to leave the cave and climb upwards towards the light of truth and virtue, i.e., towards the Transcendentals. Aristotle was more focused on right living and saw happiness as coming from the cultivation of one’s character by conforming it to actions that would produce happiness, which he called virtues. Both philosophers are essentially talking about the same things, and if nations can see it as such, they can help increase education all over. Systems of ethics can range from deontology to virtue ethics to utilitarianism to Ethical Egoism. So unless there is agreement in a community about the nature of values and what values are most important there is going to be a problem here. Nonetheless, character education is important and has been a basis of education for as long as education has existed.


Lack of education is a problem preventing global citizenship. At root of the problem is the lack of character education and a universal ethical framework for standardizing education. The point is that virtue is something that needs to be understood properly and students need to learn why it is important to form their characters in a way that is aligned with Virtue, as an ideal, while practicable in real life as a realistic habit that one can make part of one’s character. This is an important conversation to have because the world is more divided than ever today and…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bahry, L., & Marr, P. (2005). Qatari women: a new generation of leaders?. Middle East Policy, 12(2), 104.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. NY: Continuum.

Gong, Q. (2010). Virtue ethics and modern society—A response to the thesis of the modern predicament of virtue ethics. Frontiers of Philosophy in China, 5(2), 255-265.

Hill, L. (2015). Classical stoicism and the birth of a global ethics: Cosmopolitan duties in a world of local loyalties. Social Alternatives, 34(1), 14.

Hunt Institute. (2011). The English Language Arts Standards: Key Changes and their Evidence. Retrieved from

Kristjánsson, K. (2014). There is Something About Aristotle: The Pros and Cons of A ristotelianism in Contemporary Moral Education. Journal of philosophy of education, 48(1), 48-68.

Lickona, T. (1993). The return of character education. Educational leadership, 51(3), 6-11.

Papastephanou, M. (2005). Globalisation, globalism and cosmopolitanism as an educational ideal. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 37(4), 533-551.

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