THE EFFECTIVENESS OF NUNS IN THE MORAL FORMATION OF GIRLS IN CATHOLIC FOUNDED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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Abstract

The study sought to establish the effectiveness of the nuns in promoting girls‟ morals in Catholic founded schools. The study aimed at establishing the different methods used by the nuns in promoting students‟ morals in Catholic founded schools; to assess the impact of the contribution of the nuns in promoting students‟ morals; and the factors or conditions blocking the holistic realisation of moral transformation among students.  

 

Basing on the nature of the study and the nature of information required, the researcher adopted a cross-sectional research design for which qualitative and quantitative data was gathered. The designed instruments for collecting the required information included: close ended questionnaires, interview guides, and document analysis applied because of their relevance in the generation of the required information.  After collection, the information gathered was edited, analysed with SPSS; interpreted and presented numerically in tables and figures for the quantitative information and descriptively according to themes and sub themes based on the objectives of the study for qualitative data.    

 

The study findings revealed a variety of methods adopted by the nuns in promoting the morals of students including guidance and counseling, seeking parental involvement, punishments and rewards. The findings commended the contribution of the nuns in improving students‟ morals. However the study revealed that there are still certain indicators of immorality in catholic schools. Thus, the study revealed a multiplicity of factors restraining the success of the nuns in transforming student‟s morals in Catholic founded schools. The factors revealed in the study included institutional, social, policy and family related factors.  

 

The study concludes that despite the existence and application of the methods, their applicability still lacks a lot. The study also concluded that the nuns‟ contribution in working for moral transformation is great and still has the potential to influence morals in other institutions of learning. As for the limitations of the effort of the nuns and other stakeholders in the promotion of students‟ morals, the major limitation was the social-cultural set up and age of the students as well as influence of the peers all of which must be dealt with for the achievement of a successful moral transformation. 

 

Thus the study recommended that, the nuns continue promoting morality in schools using their methods they have in place, and revise their applicability especially to suit the changing moral trends and modernity. As for the effectiveness and contribution of the nuns, in order for the society to benefit appreciation and participation should be extended by other stakeholders to motivate the nuns in this effort. While for the limiting factors concerted effort is required coupled with the encouraging active participation of all stake holders in moral transformation. 




Table of content 

Declaration................................................................................................. i

Approval..................................................................................... ii

Dedication........................................................................................... iii

Acknowledgement........................................................................... iv

Abstract................................................................................................... v

Table of content.............................................................................. vii

List of tables.......................................................................................... x

Litst of tables......................................................................................... xi

 

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ....................... 1

1.0 Background to the Study .................................................... 1

1.1 Statement of the problem .............................................. 6

1.3 Purpose of the study ..................................................... 6

1.3.1 Objectives of the study ............................................. 7

1.4  Research questions…………………………….7

1.5 Scope ........................................................................... 7

1.6 Significance ........................................................ 8

 

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW ...................... 10

2.0 Introduction ............................................................... 10

2.1 Conceptual framework ............................................. 10

2.2 Theoretical review................................................... 11

2.3 Morality and the mechanisms to promote it .....................13

2.4 Mechanisms of promoting morality in schools and societies ................................................. 14

2.5 The Effectiveness of Nuns in Moral Formation and the way forward .................................... 16

2.6 Challenges to the moral stirring mechanisms .......................................................................... 18

2.7 Conclusion ........................................................... 20

 

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .................... 21

3.1 Introduction ........................................................ 21

3.2 Research design........................................................ 21

3.3 Study area ............................................................ 22

3.4 Sample size .................................................. 24

3.5 Sampling techniques ..................................... 25

3.6 Instruments ................................................... 27

3.6.1 Focus group discussion ............................... 27

3.6.3 Interview guide ........................................................... 28

3.7 Validity of instruments................................................. 29

3.8 Data analysis ......................................................... 30

3.9 Ethical considerations ....................................................... 30

3.11 Constraints encountered ................................................ 31

 

CHAPTER FOURPRESENTATION OF DATA, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION . 33

4.1 Introduction .............................................................. 33

4.2 What are the methods used by the Nuns in promoting morals in Catholic founded schools? .... 34

Research Question two................................................. 48

4.3 What are the contributions of Nuns in promoting students‟ morals in Catholic schools? ... 48

Research Question Three ....................................... 55

4.4 What factors limit the effectiveness of the method used by the Nuns in promoting morals in

catholic founded schools? .......................................... 55

 

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..... 62

5.1 Introduction ............................................................ 62

Research question one ................................................... 63

5.2 What are the contributions of Nuns in promoting students‟ morals in Catholic schools? ... 63

Research question two ................................................ 69

5.3 How effective are the methods used by the nuns in promoting morals in Catholic founded

schools? ...................................................................... 69

Research Question Three ........................................... 74

5.4 What factors limit the effectiveness of the method used by the nuns in promoting morals in

catholic founded schools? ......................................... 74 Conclusions .......................................................... 85

Recommendations ................................................. 86

Suggestions for further study ................................................. 86

Appendix A: Copy of the questionnaire ............................. 91

Appendix B: Interview guide .............................................97

Appendix D: Copy of consent form for individual participants ................................................. 98

Appendix F: Copy of consent form for the parents of the selected students/children ............... 99

Appendix G: Consent form for the students/children selected for the study ............................ 100

List of tables

Table 1: Study sample size …………….…….……………...24

Table 2: Nuns‟ responses on the methods they use in promoting students morals in Catholic schools………....34

Table 3: Students responses to the types of rewards used by the nuns to promote students‟ morals………………….…….…....40

Table 4: Students and prefects‟ responses on the types punishments used by the nuns in disciplining students ……………….…………….43

Table 5: The methods of promoting morals in schools without nuns ……………….……...45

Table 6: Reasons advanced by the parents for selecting schools run by Nuns..…………...51

Table 7: Vices controlled in Catholic schools but common in secular schools ……….………...52 Table 10: Nuns‟ responses to the factors limiting the promotion of morals among                    

students in Catholic schools ..…………………………….………...56

Table 9: Opinions of the schools‟ disciplinary committee members on the  challenges created by the school administrators in promoting students morals …….…….…….59

Table 10: Senior women/men teachers‟ views on the impact of the family    background on students‟ morals transformation.……………………………..60

List of Table

Graph 1: Respondents‟ assessment of the effectiveness of the methods used by the nuns in developing students‟ morals ……………………………………………………..48

Graph 2: Respondents‟ opinions as to whether they encounter problems when promoting morals in schools…………………………………….55 





CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0 Background to the Study 

Moral formation and transformation has for long remained prime objectives of all religious and education systems globally (Aikaman & Unterhalter, 2005). Many studies on human moral development concur that religion, education and socialization remain the most vital strategies for the creation of honorable national and international citizens. Conceptually, moral transformation and moral formation are compound phrases each combining two distinct words common among all is morals. According to Foster (1989), morals are the socially accepted customs, values, traditions and conventions held as appropriate conduct by a particular group of people sharing originality and locality or nativity. 

 

Moral formation entails all efforts undertaken to impart morally acceptable customs, values, traditions and conventions in an individual. On the other hand moral transformation entails all efforts undertaken to make a shift in an individual or groups` customs, values, traditions and conventions from the socially unacceptable to the acceptable conduct (Kamil, 1990). However, this depends on the measure of effectiveness. According to Oller (1981), effectiveness means the ability to achieve stated goals and objectives judged in terms of both output and impact.  For the purpose of this study effectiveness was used to mean the ability to achieve total transformation as per the mechanism applied. Thus, the effectiveness of the Nuns in moral formation and transformation among students in Catholic schools means their total ability to transformation students‟ morals from totally unacceptable to totally acceptable moral conduct, behavior or manners. In this study, the effectiveness of the Nuns in moral formation and transformation among students in Catholic founded schools was based on extrinsic indicators including manners like: modes of dressing, forms of verbal expression, relationships with other people and their property among other social interaction dynamics.        

 

Theoretically, Larry Nuci (1997) in reflecting about Moral Development and Character Formation as reflected in Kolberg`s theory of moral development maintains that the moral worlds within which people act out their lives are affected by informational, socialisation as well as contextual variables which enter into the evaluations people generate about particular courses of action. As with issues of domain overlap, the impact of new information regarding the causes or effects of social behaviors both complicate and enrich the role of education in preparing students to deal with social and moral issues. We are once again confronted with the need to recognize that values of education within a pluralistic, information rich, democratic society means preparing students to coordinate fundamental moral understandings of fairness and human welfare with potentially changing conventions and informational assumptions. This study was thus grounded in Kohlberg's six-stage sequence of moral development as analyzed by Power et al., (1989)

   

Traditionally moral formation and transformation was a social activity spearheaded by the parents and the elders. They would conduct informal sessions through folktales, stories, legends, myths, taboos, customs and informal counseling sessions with the children to impart good morals (Byamugisha 1991). However, with the shift brought about by modernity formal education dictated that children had to spend less time with the parents and more with the teachers in schools. This made the modern formal school a basis for learning morals for the school going children. At the same time realizing the centrality of religion in the whole process, religious education was adopted first in schools founded by religious on religious grounds. This also saw the adoption of religious leaders in schools for the purpose of moral formation among the learners. In Catholic founded schools this responsibility was among others given to the Nuns. 

 

As a concept, Nuns means a category of women popularly known as sisters who devote themselves in various religious orders to the practice of a life of perfection built on religious and moral uprightness. Historically, Nunship as an institution can be traced down from the time of the Coptic Church and monasteries in the early church (Hansen 1984). Monasteries were institutions in which men and women who dedicated their lives to the service of God voluntarily gave up their life and belongings to serve God through moral uprightness following religious principles lived. Thence Nuns form a percentage of women that may claim with pride that they were the first to embrace religion for its own sake practically using their lives and conduct (Kamil, Jill 1990). This formed the basis for engaging nuns moral formation in Catholic founded academic and vocational institutions. 

 

By the nature of their calling, nuns are obligated to be morally upright and to undertake social moral transformation. Traditionally, the nuns and monks followed certain vows known as

„counsels of perfection‟ including poverty, perfection and obedience (Vermeersch, 1911). Church Canon laws 603 and 604 gave official recognition to the nuns and monks as the hermits and consecrated virgins that were members of this special Holy Catholic religious institution known for the devotion to the service of God. The role of nuns in moral formation was further stressed in the declarations of the Vatican Council II in February 1962 outlining the functions or the roles of the nuns. These include: fostering education and moral formation through teaching religious instructions to Catechumen, elementary formal education and other church duties. They are also to act as role models for the aspiring nuns and responsible citizens. 

 

Tinkamanyire, (2001) observes that when the first nuns arrived in Uganda, they began by teaching catechism, preparation of children, young people and adults for baptism and neophytes for first Holy Communion and Christian formation. Gradually, these classes for catechumens expanded and sisters began by setting up workshops where girls and women could learn to knit, sew and do other activities Villa (1979). This is how nuns entered the Catholic vocational and academic institutions in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa.

 

Contextually in Uganda today the nuns mainly serve in private and government aided institutions founded by the Catholic Church. Catholic founded schools in Uganda are distributed across the country especially in areas traditionally dominated by the Catholics. Schools with nuns in Kampala diocese include: Our Lady of Good Counsel Gayaza, St Josephs

Nsambya, Rubaga girls, Uganda martyrs Rubaga, Uganda martyrs Namugongo, St Joseph Ndeeba, St Peters Nsambya, Stella Maris Nsuube, St. Henrys Buyege among others. In these schools nuns assume several responsibilities including acting as: administrators, secretaries, bursars, matrons, catechists, subject teachers among others.

 

As an obligation however, principally nuns are obligated to ensure moral transformation among students. Eugene (2003) reports that in undertaking this obligation nuns are tasked to assume headship or membership to school disciplinary committees in order to influence moral rehabilitation. In addition, based on the Coptic setting nuns also use their lives as living examples for the students to emulate. In some schools, nuns also act as senior women teachers hence directly contributing to moral transformation among students. 

 

However, despite the above and other efforts undertaken by the nuns and other stakeholders in the education sector, effective moral transformation remains far from reality. This suggests the methods adopted by the nuns are either less effective or irrelevant in addressing this challenge. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health (2006) revealed that 76% of secondary school students in Uganda aged 15-19 reported having participated in sexual activities with 48% reporting having multiple sexual partners in urban schools in Uganda. Other common vices in schools are homosexuality as reported by the Uganda National AIDS documentation Center (2006). The Daily Monitor 12-June-2009 quoted Sendagire Paul a teacher in Mbuya SS saying that some students not only nickname teachers but also participate in drug abuse, theft, constant use of vulgar language, burning schools and the beating up of teachers.   

 

Available evidence from press reports also indicates that, several indicators of immorality are still noticeable in all schools with or without nuns. These include: all sorts of sexual immorality, increasing cases of violence in schools where some students beat up their head teachers and setting schools on fire, strikes that culminated into scorching effects, ill-treating fellow learners, embarrassment of teachers and other social elders, theft, elopement and escape from schools for leisure functions to mention but a few. There are indecent trends reported particularly in girls include indecent dressing, involvement in transactional sex for either marks or other material benefits, early pregnancies, rumour mongering, deceit, hanking after male teachers and age mates, failure to meet their hygienic obligations, use of abusive and obscene languages, dropping out of school at an early age and disrespect to parents and other public members are common among school going girls. Hence this study wanted to find out how effective are nuns in Kampala Catholic schools in the areas of Moral formation and transformation against the above background.

1.1 Statement of the problem

The immorality among secondary school students remains one of the biggest challenges for all stakeholders in the education sector. According to the New Vision Thursday 15th February 2006, many secondary schools in Uganda are infested with vices such as indecent dressing, use of vulgar languages, early pregnancies, homosexuality and drug abuse, alcoholism, and strikes. This kind of immorality has resulted into a number of schools burnt down leasing to loss of lives and property as well as increase in the spread of diseases like AIDS other STDs in schools. Such vices are however common even in schools founded and run by nuns. Surprisingly however, the nuns are expected to be at the forefront of moral formation and transformation of the children under their care. But much as nuns still claim to be effective in their obligation towards promoting moral formation and transformation of learners placed under their care, the conduct of the same learners leaves a lot to be desired. This development puts into question the effectiveness of the methods used by the nuns to promote moral formation and transformation of the school children. It was against this background that the study sought to establish the effectiveness of the methods used by nuns in promoting moral formation and transformation among students in Catholic founded schools. 

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to establish the effectiveness of the methods used by Nuns in the Moral formation and transformation of girls in Catholic founded secondary schools in Kampala diocese.

1.3.1 Objectives of the study

The study attempted to:

i.                 Identify the methods used by Nuns in promoting morals among girls in Catholic founded schools.

ii.               Assess the contribution of Nuns in promoting students‟ morals in Catholic schools.

iii.             Establish the factors limiting the effectiveness of the methods used by the Nuns in promoting morals in catholic founded schools.

1.4 Research questions

i.                 What are the methods used by Nuns in promoting morals among girls in Catholic founded schools?

ii.               What are the contributions of Nuns in promoting students‟ morals in Catholic schools?

iii.             What are the factors limiting the effectiveness of the methods used by the Nuns in promoting morals in catholic founded schools?

1.5 Scope

The study dwelled on the effectiveness of Nuns in promoting morality in Catholic founded schools. The major emphasis was put on the methodology of moral planting applied by the Nuns in Catholic founded schools. A logical analysis in relation to the disciplinary elements in other schools was considered. The researcher chose to study the catholic schools because it is in catholic school where there was a well-established institution [that of nuns] that has to do with moral formation mainly. 

 

It was carried out in Catholic founded secondary schools in Kampala Diocese which was chosen because it had a reasonable number of Catholic founded schools. Thus, it was found to be representative enough, given the fact that it even had schools of all grades to avoid biases based on school grade levels. At the same time Kampala had the headquarters of the Catholic secretariat in Uganda meaning it had to be the model in encouraging Catholic principles. The study covered a period between 2000 and 2005 simply because; it was the period in Uganda‟s education history that had been marked by dubious behaviours in schools.

1.6 Significance

The research findings will be useful to:

1.    The policy makers in the ministry of education and sports especially the ones concerned with secondary school education. These will be enriched with awareness on the ways of promoting morals in the learners; and the best to use religious institutions in promoting morals in girls‟ schools. They will also create awareness on how best to incorporate in the school program elements of morality. 

2.      To the school administrators, the findings will reveal the best way to promote morals in schools, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the moral promoting institutions they set up in their schools and how best to equip them for effective performance.  

3.      The Nuns and other institutional disciplinary bodies set up in the schools; the findings will reveal the best way they can effectively operate and promote morals together with the learners as they will be informed about what is morally required of them by their teachers.

4.      The Catholic Church will be provided with the basis for the assessment of the work done by the moral promoting institutions they put in place especially the nuns. 

5.      The other teachers in schools that are responsible for morally transforming the students will benefit from the findings of the study by getting more awareness on how to promote students morals and to get better approaches to morality.

6.      The findings will also be of a great significance to the students in schools, both Catholic founded schools and those founded by other bodies. They will expose them to what is socially required of them and how best to relate with the moral promoting agents in their schools. 

The community members including parents and guardians will be made aware of the efforts put in place by the nuns and teachers to promote the morals of the students in schools. At the same time they will be an encouragement for the parents and guardian to open their eyes towards their responsibilities in moral promotion.       

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