Integrity in Civic Education (Meaning, attributes, and importance)

A number of concepts tend to converge largely when we study value in Civic Education and some of them are Honesty, Truthfulness, Uprightness, and Integrity. 

While our area of concentration is basically on integrity and its qualities, all that has to do with it (including related terms like Uprightness) shall also be examined, here. With this in mind, we should get the ball rolling head-on. 

What is integrity? 

The Essential Civic Education textbook for senior secondary schools defines integrity as the ability to stick to sound moral principles at all times. Take note of the keywords in this definition: sound moral principles, and maybe ponder over it for a while. 

In some other words, integrity may be seen as a person’s willingness to do what’s right. Deducting from the words of Study.

A brief explanation of this. These definitions show that integrity demands that one stand by the right conduct come what may. 

Given this, it may be said to be a state of being unflinchingly upright, honest, or truthful. Integrity is actually very close to all three aforementioned values except that it is a step further—requiring the moral strength to heed or keep to one’s stance. 

Also in the words of the said textbook, “Every society needs people of integrity because they provide moral strength for the development of society.” 

In explaining this, one can use the not far-fetched example of the modern world where gaining other people’s attention appears as the sole reason people do things thereby tainting the morality of society day after day. The media, for one, cannot afford to sell lies more because they’re more impressive and convincing— all being nearly the opposite of integrity. 

To make the concept clearer, some typical examples of people of integrity are the activists in our various countries. They stand for proper conduct—or at least that which they think is better for the people despite knowing that the aftermath may be terrifyingly awful. 

They’re usually not seekers of the opposite of such outcomes, unlike the rest of us—who consequently wouldn’t go to extremes for the development of society. Indeed, integrity is a rare value and an invaluable one at that. 

To wrap up, integrity calls for being determined to uphold a strict moral. 

Attributes of Integrity 

  1. Contentment. People who are not content with their worth would rather condescend than uphold a truth they’re convinced they cannot go far with. It follows that being content is a primary characteristic of integrity. 
  1. Probity. This value means being completely honest. It represents honesty, which if we wouldn’t tag a prerequisite, has to be a substratum to integrity. So alongside this are other attributes like truthfulness, honesty, and trustworthiness, something we do not suppose the textbook discusses severally. 
  1. Non-compromising principles. Integrity makes people so unyielding that they do not allow anything to compromise their standards and principles. It should also be worthy of note here that people of integrity are people of principles.
  1. Fair play. The foregoing point ‘unyielding’ should not make us think that integrity makes people non-conforming. No, in fact, it improves people’s willingness to keep to the rules as well as behave equitably such that they are just and impartial. 

The words unyielding and fair play share a common ground in the sense that people of integrity only operate under the set of principles they perceive to be fair— as crude as that may sound. 

Read Also: Argumentative Literature | Meaning and Examples

The importance of integrity to society

They may not be verbatim, but admittedly, the following importance are derived from the Essential Civic Education textbook for secondary school students. 

  1. Integrity tends to enhance the formation of good character.
  1. Integrity promotes the spirit of hard work and dedication to one’s craft. This is only ideal since people of integrity should be content without relying on others—who may make them compromise their standards. 
  1. We need people of integrity in society because they serve as good role models to young ones. 
  1. Integrity boosts our confidence in what we do. This is so because we’re not guilty of having gotten around the set standards of society. 
  1. It also brings about communal (pertaining to community) development. 
  1. Among other vices, integrity helps eradicate corruption in society. Come to think of it. 

Attention: We’ve used society and not the/a society all through this piece because that is another way to say: any given place— put shortly. 

Related terms 

  • Honesty 

The noun honesty describes the adjective honest, which according to Wiktionary means being upright or open, frank, not given to fraud, lying, or swindling. 

In simple words, it is the act of being truthful. It is not exactly different from such other words as straightforward, probity, and sometimes decency.

  • Uprightness 

The Cambridge English Dictionary says Uprightness is the quality of being honest. Among other terms on this list, this word admittedly has several other definitions, even those that may be odd to this context, including the state of being in a vertical position. 

  • Truthfulness

The act of being truthful is qualified with the noun truthfulness, so it is equal to honesty when examined inside-out. We shouldn’t lay more emphasis on this since the concept of honesty is one that our audience must have been familiar with well enough. 

With this said, you should see the validity of our first few propositions, including the fact that integrity is just a step further from truthfulness, honesty, and uprightness. 

We hope that with these propositions and the entire composition, you have a better understanding of the concept of integrity in Civic Education and beyond. 

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