INTRODUCING MORAL LESSONS IN GAMBIA
The discussion on morality and moral philosophy or ethical behavior and principles regarding good and bad, right and wrong, has ever been a topical in society as the yardstick of social standards. Moral dialogue can be highly contentious in that what is morally acceptable in one quarter may appeal less in another. Notwithstanding, it is generally believed that good moral conduct is a motivating recipe for positive or constructive contributions to societal objectives and well being. Suffice it to say that a society built on the grounds of shared or common moral canons, virtues and rectitude, is a society that will potentially evolve and prosper. It is against this background coupled with the recent Gambian experience of tirade on social media of insults, and abusive language between Gambians in the name of politics and democracy, that I deemed it necessary to espouse the submission of the idea of moral tutelage in Gambian.
Government, through the ministry of education should look into the feasibility of moral lessons in elementary schools. The ministry may setup a national think tank tasked with identifying certain acceptable moral principles or doctrines and codify them into the national curriculum as fundamental standards on good conduct and positive demeanor. Such principles, norms and values should be imbued and embed in our society as mutual values and social cornerstones for mutual respect, national unity, peace, tranquility and development. They should be of relevance and common interest, aimed at encouraging positive behavioral attitudes and nationalism. Self-discipline, loyalty, generosity, compassion and empathy can nurture and nourish national peace, unity, stability and cooperation, hence nation building and development. Moral codes and behavioral norms and values such as social justice, beneficence, autonomy, non-maleficence, fidelity, coupled with integrity, respect for others, honesty, forgiveness, truthfulness, modesty, generosity, sympathy, politeness, humility, empathy, patience, tolerance, law-abiding, equality, obedience and responsibility and of course accountability, amongst others, are no doubt valuable social rectitude that can hugely enhance and promote mutual understanding, cooperation, peace and national unity, which in my view are sine qua non to national development and sustainability. Children should learn to appreciate the value of positive moral qualities and cherish such values for the common good of the country. I do believe that the common feel-good factor in these qualities would help curtail moral decadence and social vices and bridge the generation gap, lack of touch, lack of constructive mentors and positive role models, and isolation, which all contribute effectively to waywardness and antisocial behaviors and corresponding immoralities.
Obviously, social etiquettes regarding good mannerism, courtesy and respect are spontaneous, contagious and reciprocal. Therefore, when moral lessons become the collective national blueprint for all stakeholders such as parents, teachers and the wider public, then the moral seed can be sown at home, watered at school and then cherished and harvested by society. That way, society can be rest assured of a disciplined, hardworking, committed and loyal genre of progenies, who can positively guide our nation to the Promised Land, the Singapore of Africa, Good Willing. A disciplined and moral upright society will build a nation on fidelity and felicity rather than the egocentricity and divisiveness that seem to characterize and crippled Africa today. Let’s teach children how to cope in multicultural societies, how to live and let others live, how to respond kindness with kindness, fulfill promises, say no to telling lies, no to arrogance, no to violence, no to bullying, no to disrespecting parents and elders but yes to patriotism, peaceful coexistence, punctuality, regular attendance, obeying my teachers and authorities, having respect for my fellow students and colleagues and the future of our country will be bright.
Alh Yahya Ceesay