How to Be a Good Citizen through Education

Without a doubt, education is a key to being a good citizen as it develops, teaches, and instructs a person on how to live and cooperate in the society. However, in order to understand the notions of education and citizenship, one should consider traditional philosophical studies as they are the basement for the modern educational theories and approaches. It is important to gain knowledge of not only theoretical but also moral and ethical value. New knowledge and skills should not incite people to violence and cruelty (for example, execution).


In such a manner, one cannot speak about intelligence in the case of the execution of a Jordanian pilot. He was burnt alive by the militant group of the Islamic State. The Islamic people are educated, but their faith and knowledge do not prevent them from the violent actions. It is evident that the real education should provide not only knowledge and develop skills but also teach how to be a moral citizen. Moreover, the reason should be inseparably connected with morality. This essay intends to explain how to be a good citizen through education; moreover, it studies the philosophical basis of education.

Part 1. Contemporary Issue: Islamic Education

Islamic people are educated and devoted to their religion and culture. Consequently, one can name them good citizens, who are knowledgeable in religion and committed to their heritage. These people are educated from the young age because they believe that children are the future of the Islamic world. In addition, they are extremely obsessed with their culture and can even kill another person for it. Terrorism and cruelty are the consequences of such education. Recently, the militant group of the Islamic State has executed a Jordanian pawn. From one side, it is the indicator of being a faithful citizen as they wanted to have their prisoner released. However, execution and cruelty prove the limitations of education that teaches to solve the challenging issues through physical force but not intelligence, collaboration, and partnership.

The contemporary education is problematic as it does not presuppose teaching of the moral and ethical principles based on sympathy and sincerity. Islamic people keep pace with the innovative technologies in education. However, innovations make human beings even crueler. They become like robots that perform any operations while switching off the emotions and feelings. Moreover, the problem of the contemporary education is that the modern communities, such as the Islamic one, do not understand that knowledge should be necessarily transformed into technologies, skills, culture, and moral principles crucial for living.

The Islamic world, however, educates not faithful and committed citizens but terrorists who are ready to kill, injure, or lose a life for the sake of the country or ideology. Terrorism cannot be the basement for the future. While watching young children holding the guns, one feels fear and panic. It is even difficult to imagine what will be in the future if small children are ready to shoot. Violence gives rise to violence only. It is evident that education should not promote keeping weapons and provoke violence as these actions contradict the moral and ethical principles of humanity. Young children should play with toys but not guns and knives.

Consequently, the modern education is a problematic issue that should be reformed and transformed according to the philosophical studies of Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, and Aquinas. These philosophers and politicians have created the model of education that is based on the citizenship values and ethical principles.

As to the Islamic world, one should be concerned about its educational principles, which promote terrorism that threatens the global society. Being a moral citizen does not mean killing and executing for the sake of the country but rather finding a compromise and solving any dilemma with intelligence and moral principles. The contemporary educational issues are associated with the changes in the ethical principles and attitudes to the educational process. Terrorism and violent behaviors are the key problems that reveal the wrong direction of the Islamic education and prove its inefficacy. Moreover, the modern scholars do not consider the disputes about the Good, Beautiful, and True the important aspects of education.

Part 2. Philosophical Premise: The Nature of the education

The nature of the education is ancient; the great philosophers of the past, for example, Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, and Aquinas, talked about the importance of education in running a state and making the right decisions.

Plato paid special attention to the education as the most influential aspect. He insisted on the continuing education, dialog, and value of the soul. As a result, his philosophical studies about education are more complex as compared with the contemporary ones. Moreover, Plato founded the first university. It is evident that the contemporary generation has received a lot of educational benefits from Plato and his student, Aristotle. The main idea is moving forward and improving the education process with the aim of making it more practical. However, the problem is that the modern society wants to develop and use education according to other principle, such as promoting patriotism and good citizenship through terrorism and keeping the weapon.

Above all, the values of education should include morality, ethics, and humanity. People should use education and knowledge as weapon against violence, cruelty, and military actions. On the other hand, the Islamic practices of education should not be followed due to its terroristic purpose. In depicting an ideal society in The Republic, Plato showed that the education, as well as a state, needs the constant improvements and innovations of the teaching methods. While reading The Republic, one can assure that Plato's education does not promote violence. It relates to the details, curriculum, and mode of the educational system. Moreover, Plato introduces the guardian class necessary for the state defense (Plato 17).

Aristotle's philosophy of education promoted the interrelation of legitimacy and education. It means that education was a must for governing and establishing the political relationships. Aristotle supposed that one should pass the fundamental education of a citizen (Aristotle 15). St. Thomas Aquinas was another philosopher who promoted education. One can divide his theories into theory of value, theory of knowledge, theory of human nature, theory of learning, theory of transmission, theory of society, theory of opportunity, and theory of consensus (Aquinas, 10).

Part 3. Philosophical Argument

While comparing the contemporary education described in the first part of the paper and ancient education considered in the second part, one can say that they are crucially different. The Islam education learns how to be a faithful and devoted citizen but promotes hatred, revenge, violence, and cruelty. Consequently, the Islamic education is limited due to its obsession with national and cultural peculiarities. The philosophical education has more advantages as it is wide in its meaning and encourages being knowledgeable in many fields. Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, and Aquinas were the key philosophers in the educational theory.

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The Islamic education is worse as compared with the traditional philosophical one. Plato wrote, “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each (Plato 15).” It means that Plato's philosophy of education was very sophisticated and tender. He considered education the most important part of human life. On the other hand, the Islamic education promotes violent actions that are regarded as the patriotism and national defense. Indeed, the Islamic education lacks philosophical approach; it is based on the military and religious principles.

Retrievered from

Aristotle wrote, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet (Aristotle 12).” It means that the educational process is an enduring and long-lasting path. One should self-educate during the whole life. The modern society regards education as a certain period of time; therefore, in the ancient times people used to be wiser and more intelligent. The philosophical studies prove that the modern approaches are different from the ancient ones and are not as effective as the ancient ones were. In order to be a good citizen, a person should be sympathetic, sincere, and moral. Terrorism is a product of poor education and moral degradation; therefore, every society should root out such negative practices.


In conclusion, one can become a good citizen through education. However, this education should be qualitative, cohesive, and based on the moral principles. The philosophical basis of the education is more relevant and practical due to the presence of the civil responsibility and moral aspects. The contemporary educational issues are associated with terrorism and promotion of violence. The Islamic education emphasizes religious values that do not prevent the terrorist acts and cruelty. The case of the execution of the pilot is an alarming sign that reveals the necessity of addressing the ancient philosophers and reforming the whole educational process.

The philosophical element of education should be based on the studies and theories of Plato, Aristotle, Anselm, and Aquinas as they really teach how to become an educated, knowledgeable, and moral citizen. In the present times, self-education is not promoted as it used to be promoted by the philosophers of the past. Consequently, it is the main disadvantage of the modern educational process.

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