Promoting Professional and Ethical Conduct Amongst Teachers in Zambia
Essence of Educational Laws
Keywords: Teachers, Professional and Ethical Conduct, Educational Laws
AbstractTeaching as a noble profession requires that all teachers conduct themselves professionally and ethically. Teachers have a huge responsibility to shape the current generation into responsible adults and leaders of tomorrow. Apart from equipping young ones with relevant skills and knowledge, teachers as role models, have a direct bearing on the values, attitudes, conduct, and behaviour that young ones take up. Teachers thus are expected at all times to conduct themselves professionally and ethically at and off school to gain and maintain public confidence. Teachers who engage in professional misconduct cannot teach values of morality, honesty, and integrity to learners. Literature shows that a lot of teachers in primary and secondary schools, especially public schools, have continued conducting themselves unprofessionally in their course of duty. They engage in sexual relations with learners, report for work drunk, and general lack of dedication to duty. This is despite being trained as professionals in their fields of specialization. Several strategies have thus been put in place to promote teacher professionalism but the issue of teacher misbehaviour appears to be unabated. This paper, therefore, is set to illuminate the essence of the knowledge of educational laws in the enforcement of ethical conduct amongst teachers in Zambia as a way of promoting ethical and professional conduct amongst teachers. Through a comprehensive analysis of both local and international research evidence on teacher professionalism through a desk review, we examined the influence of the knowledge of legal aspects of education on teacher professionalism and ethical conduct. We argue that if teachers are well acquainted with the various legal aspects of education, their conduct is likely to be more professional and thus avoid unnecessary liabilities. The paper also draws lessons from international practices on how best professional conduct can be enhanced in the teaching fraternity from a legal perspective. The authors suggest among other things, the need for teachers to be well acquainted with the provisions of the code of ethics and the introduction of a course on legal aspects of education in all teacher education programs. Lastly, we recommend the need to undertake a large scale study regarding the knowledge of educators on the legal provisions that impact the professional practice of teachers in Zambia.
Research Papers (General)