Christian Universities have Responsibility to Restore High Moral Standards

Dr. Beatrice Okyere-Manu, a Senior Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has stated that Christian Universities have a responsibility to instill in Professionals tools and principles needed to respond to moral erosion workplace.

The Professional Ethics Lecturer said the working environment in most industries is confronted with lack of professionalism and positive attitude towards work. A situation she believes has left room for professional neglect and corruption at the workplace.

Dr. Beatrice Okyere-Manu made the observation in a paper she presented at a seminar organized by the Centre for the Promotion of Life Values (CPLV) at the Presbyterian University College, Ghana (PUCG) on the topic “Developing Ethical Professionals for the 21st Century Workplace.”

According to Dr. Okyere-Manu Christian Professional Ethics as promulgated by early reformers such as John Calvin and Martin Luther in the work environment have been pushed out leaving employees to be guided by self-interested individualism which no longer see a role for collective organization and representation.

The Professional Ethics Lecturer argued that with the current religious pluralistic society, a number of people are motivated to work not as a way of glorifying the one true God but by their own selfish interest giving rise to growing restlessness and lack of interest at the workplace.

Citing biblical doctrine of work as discovered by Luther and later Calvin Dr. Okyere-Manu explained that people could serve God through their daily work and that vocations/professions are useful and must be seen as calling from God.

She said, according to Luther and Calvin all forms of work was to be seen as a calling from God and not only church related work. She buttressed her point with one of Calvin’s remarks “we are like a ‘useless block of wood’ if we feel ‘called to laziness,’ as that is not what God intended.”

“Unfortunately, today there is at the workplace: Issues of integrity and responsibility have been compromised leaving room for professional neglect and corruption,” she bemoaned.

Notwithstanding the lack of professionalism and high ethical standards at the contemporary workplace, Dr. Beatrice Okyere-Manu does not believe that the situation is a hopeless one.

She reiterated that the Christian Universities and higher institutions have been called upon to respond to the erosion of morals particularly at the workplace as we commemorate 500 years of reformation.

Dr. Beatrice Okyere-Manu of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) at UKZN opined that final year students should be taught Professional Ethics as a tool and principles needed to respond to moral erosion at the workplace.

She believes the success chalked by the SRPC since implementing general compulsory Professional Ethics programme for all final years students at UKZN in the year 2010, can be replicated in other Christian Universities and higher institutions to help industry players deal with the problem of professionalism and integrity at the workplace.

The PUCG has set up the Centre for the Promotion of Life Values in her quest to graduate students who hold in high esteem professionalism and high ethical standards in fulfillment of the University’s motto “Discipline in Leadership.