Youth pledge

2008-02-15 00:00

There is something disquieting about requiring the country’s school children to make a daily pledge, no matter how noble, at the behest of the government. Implicit in such a requirement is the danger of indoctrination, even if the intention is good.

The current draft of a proposed pledge, issued this week by the Department of Education, is valuable in that it invites discussion on both the concept and the contents. If such a pledge is proceeded with, it would be better if it focused on the present rather than the past and involved a simple resolve to respect and protect the dignity and worth of every individual, upholding his or her basic rights and responsibilities. Any pledge should be kept short, memorable, inclusive and humane. Underlying it should be a profound respect for the freedom and integrity of young and formative minds.

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