What is Value and its Attributes in Civic Education ?


VALUE is a term that gives in to varying interpretations. Etymologically, it is traced to Latin and old French origin. Value has a Latin background of Valerie and old French origin of Valoir which means to be worth.

In the context of Civic Education, value is a moral principle or standard which relates to what is good or bad. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary  (7th Ed.) defines value as “belief about what is right or wrong and what is important in Life”. Though value is defined within the framework of belief;  it is, however, distinct from belief. While belief has to do with ideas about those things considered factual that little or no doubt is entertained about their existence, value deals with feeling about what is desirable or about what should not exist.

The extent to which something or value is desirable is determined by a particular society, country, an individual or a region. If it is not desirable, then it is not value. Values are enshrined and rooted in society|people’s cultural norms, State’s/Country’s laws, individual’s principles and religion’s doctrines. Values, this, very among societies, countries, religions and individuals. In spite of the variations, there are however universal values. For instance “like” and “dislike”, respect for elders, general hospitality, joint responsibility of bringing up children, respect for constituted authority and obedience to law of the land, sincerity to to fellow human being, dedication to service and duty, honestly etc. The global human society expects morality from each person as a member of such society. World religions expect nothing short of good value from their revered adherents, while states and countries use agencies to enforce desirable behaviours. It is out of place for anybody to digress from the moral etiquette and norms guiding his/her society, religion or country. Disregard for value attracts the wrath of not only the state, country or religion but also the punishment from God.


There are many types of values. They include justice, selfishness, honestly, cooperation, self-reliance, etc.

JUSTICE: Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, fairness, or equity along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics.  Justice connotes the fail treatment of people. Impartial righteousness, equitableness or moral rightness to uphold the Justice of a cause. It is also the rightfulness or lawfulness; as of claim or little. Justice is the philosophy of right relationship.

There are several theories of justice. But Al the theories seem to agree that it is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of system of thought. Justice can be thought of as different from and more fundamental than benevolence charity, mercy, generosity and compassion. It is vital to state that understanding a justice differ in every culture, as cultures are usually dependent upon a shared history, mythology and/ or religion. Each culture’s ethnics create values which influence the notion of justice. Although there can be found some justice principle that are one and the same in all or most of the cultures. These are insufficient to create a justice that is unitary.


  1. Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all
  2. Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both
  • To the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, consistent with the just saving principle.
  • Attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.


  1. Utilitarianism: This is a form of consequentialism where punishment is forward-looking. Justified by thee ability to achieve the future social benefits resulting in crime reduction, the moral worth of an action is determined by it’s outcome.
  2. Retributive Justice: This kind of justice regulates the proportionate response to crime proven by lawful evidence, so that punishment is justly imposed and considered as morally and fully deserved. The law of retaliation (Lex talionis) is a military theory retributive which says that reciprocity should be equal to the wrong suffered; eye for eye, wound for wound, strip for strip”.
  3. Restorative justice: This kind is concerned not so much with retribution and punishment as with (a) making the victim whole and (b) reintegrating the offender into the society. This approach frequently brings the offender and victim together, so that the offender can better understand the effect his/her offense had on the victim.
  4. Distributive Justice: is directed at the proper allocation of things. Wealth, power, reward, respect-among different people.
  5. Oppressive law: this variation exercises an authoritarian approach to legislation, that is, ” totally unrelated justice”, tyrannical interpretation If the law is one of which the population lives under restriction from unlawful legislation.


Justice is often understood and conceived as a virtue, a property of the people. Some theorists have it that justice is derived from people’s actions and the institutions they create. But, others emphasize that it only the people who bring them about, not just institutions.

However, the source of justice has variously been attributed to harmony, divine command, natural law, or human creation.


SELFLESSNESS: This is a negative value that every society frowns at. It is the opposite of altruism. Selfishness is an adjective which has two specific meanings: (1) Denoted to or caring only to oneself, concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc, regardless of others. (2) characterized by or manifesting concern or care for oneself.

Selfishness denotes an excessive or exclusive concern with oneself and as such, it exceeds mere self interest or self concern. In essence, as long as a decision maker knowingly burdens or harms others for a personal gain, the decision selfish. In contrast, self interest is more general. Self interest is merely including ones needs and desires in the scheme of priorities, and is inclusive of both cooperation and selfishness.

For instance, given two actors oneself and someone else, there are four possible behaviour: selfishness , altruism, spite and cooperation. Selfishness is harming someone else in order to help oneself; spite is harming oneself inorder to harm someone else; altruism is harming oneself in order to help someone else; while cooperation Is helping oneself and helping someone else. Thus, selfishness as a negative value is bad in itself and has absolutely nothing to offer to the society, instead, it breeds disharmony, disunity and chaos. Selfishness can make two persons fight over a minor issue or object. It retrogressive instead of progressive. Any society whose leaders are characteristic of selfishness suffers backwardness. Selfishness effects not only society but also regions (churches), families, organizations, etc. It destroys relationship and breeds mutual distrust.


HONESTY: This is a positive value. Honestly refers to a fact of moral character and denotes positive, virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness and straight forwardness along with the absence of lying, cheating, or theft. Other attributes of honesty are fair play/ impartiality, respectfulnesss, delicatedness, earnest/sincerity, understanding and honourable.

The opposite of it is dishonest. It is important to state that in discourse, a statement can be strictly true and still be dishonest if the intention of the statement is to deceive it’s audience. Similarly, a falsehood can be spoken honestly if the speaker actually believes it’s true, assuming the speaker does not unfairly reject or suppress evidence. Again brutal honesty should be considered. The speaker can be honest but if they are to say exactly on their mind, it might be taken as brutally honest, depending on how harsh the words are. Brutally, honest is characteristics of morality and national formations, many family structures and other small social entities. In the above cases, honestly is frequently encouraged publicly, but may be retroactively forbidden and punished in an expost fact manner if those invested in preserving the system perceive it as a threat. Depending on the social system, these breaches might be characterised as heresy, treason or impoliteness.

However, there are many opinions about honesty. Even in moral systems which approve in general of honesty over dishonesty. Some people think there are situations in which dishonesty may be preferable. Others would not define preferable behaviors as dishonest by reasoning that they are not intended to deceive others for personal gain, but the intent is nobler, for instance, sparing people of opinions that will upset them. Rather than dishonesty, that behavior is often viewed as self-sacrifice, giving up one’s voice for the happiness of others. But it can hardly be a universal approach to either determining honesty or morality. In many circumstances, withholding one’s opinion can legitimately be viewed as cowardice, and a betrayal of those who will be hurt discriminated against, or unfairly judged due to false beliefs left unchanged. For this reason, many people insist that an objective approach to the truth is a necessary component of honesty. In essence, honesty means telling the truth.

Yet, honesty goes beyond merely telling the truth. Telling the truth involves answering a question directly without attempting to deceive.  Honestly involves context and answering even the unasked question. For instance, an honest person will rarely exhibit surprising behaviour in the lives of others due having kept others informed of personal opinions. In addition, an honest person will inform others of opportunities for growth and self-actualization. Thus, honest, in a real sense, means being open about one’s life.

COOPERATION: This is another type of value. As a value, it is highly needed in a global society.  Cooperation is the act of doing something together toward a shared aim or objective. Cooperation exists between individuals, States, nations, continents, institutions, public and private sectors, religions and even between micro families.

Wherever and whenever there is corresponding tolerance, unity, harmony, peace, success and productivity. On the other hand, lack of cooperation breeds retrogression, backwardness, mutual mistrust, disunity and chaos.

Cooperation promotes exchange of ideas, wealth, natural resources and manpower. International organizations such as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (UN), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), etc, emerged owing to inter-country and intercontinental cooperation.

Cooperation has many striking attributes and features. They are sharing, caring, and supporting. These three features are integral. Cooperation cannot exist without any of them. Ideas, wealth, manpower, and personal experiences are shared to the advantage of the cooperating units, person states, and countries.If ideas, etc, are shared, then there is a need for mutual concern to ensure the other party’s survival. In that bid, caring comes in. In the spirit of caring cooperating entities’ problems are shared, and in either the short or long run, solved.

Sharing and caring are sustained by supporting the other. Support can come in several ways. It could be technical support, military support, military financial support. Each of the above-stated support has far-reaching advantages. first, It guarantees harmonious and peaceful coexistence. If peace and harmony prevail, the cooperating parties witness assuring progress and goal achievement. Second, cooperation ensures healthy competition. This competition is propelled by goodwill to succeed and not ill will to destroy. It is, therefore, good to cooperate so that we can have the communion of ideas, that if cross-fertilized cannot but guarantee input-output interaction.


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