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Perception of Ethics Among College Students

Ethics play a major role among college students now and also in the past. At present there are 21 public universities and 79 private universities in Malaysian. Private higher institutions were officially recognized in Malaysia in 1996 with the endorsement of the Private Higher Education Institutions Act (PHEIA) 1996 and the amendments made to the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971 and the Education Act 1961 (Da, 2007). According to Tham (1979), even though private higher institutions were already in business before the endorsement of PHEIA, however, under the UUCA of 1971, establishment of universities remained under the exclusive influence of the Government. Therefore, before the legislative amendments in 1996, private universities in Malaysia are deemed to be illegal according to Tham, (1979) and public institutions were officially the sole benefactors of higher education.

Do you believe that just development of educational infrastructure would produce good society or human being without indoctrinating in them the basic ethics, values and virtues as preached by well-known Sages of our prehistoric society and by our prolific culture? Do you think that we can create effectual Politicians, Bureaucrats, Managers, Technocrats and Entrepreneurs without the knowledge of ethics, values and virtues? The issue of Ethics and Values have been raised by The President of India, Mrs Pratibha Patil, in her first address to the Indian parliament-2008 which states that “the education system needs to strengthen the values of ethics, secularism, democracy, inclusiveness and pluralism. These values give strength and sustenance not only to our diverse multi-cultural society but also to our country” (Pabla, 2011).

In 21st century, around 2008, many major corporations were engaged in unethical activities by many unacceptable employee behaviors, and the repercussion of the financial meltdown, more and more businesses are under governmental inquiry and consequently expect their employees to maintain high ethical standards at all times at the work place (Lau et al., 2013). Studying how college students comprehended ethics can be a significant matter for stakeholders, as college students are the major source for new employment due to their new knowledge in the field, their strong interpersonal skills, and their powerful communication strategies. By attaining a perception into how college students perceive an activity to be ethical or unethical, dealings can determine how these potential hires will make ethical business decisions when confronted with similar moral dilemmas in the real world (Lau, 2013).

Therefore, it is very clear why many organizations today are concern of the ability to make ethical decisions in the real world first and top on their lists of anticipated qualifications for new employees. Today, many well-known business schools around the world have continued to promote a good judgment of ethics, accountability, corporate social responsibility, and environmental sustainability through education, classroom discussions, research, institutional best practices, as well as active citizenship (Lau, 2013).

Recently, ethics among college students and in working environment become a major issue (Asokan, 2014) and recent research has also centered on ethics teaching as a factor that influences ethical behavior in colleges and universities. According to Asokan (2014), there are people see these issues differently, with disagreements on whether classroom teaching substantially affects ethical perceptions and actual behavior. If the business environment has become unethical in practice, then it seems necessary that ethics culture be built into a required college and university syllabus. However, the challenge is to regulate whether the students would understand this education as beneficial for their future.  Business society needs such an ethical mentality in its new employees; it appears practical to conduct a research that explores the impact of ethics education on college students’ values and integrity.

 

Image: http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/highlighted/e/ethics.html

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