Apr 3, 2020, 1:06 PM
Babylon Lower Basic School in Lamin, on 2 July 2015 held its 5th speech and prize giving ceremony on the theme: “A Responsible Citizen”, at a colourful ceremony held at the school grounds and witnessed by various dignitaries.
Speaking on the occasion, the school’s headmaster Essa Touray gave a brief history of the school, its current activities as well as its future plans.
Mr Touray advised parents to recognise the importance of education, saying as a school and parents they must be working for the future of their children.
The mission of the school is to develop children to become independent young people, he stated, saying that’s why they are striving hard to always be a professional school with high quality education.
Yusufa J. Gomez, guest speaker for the occasion, in his statement on the theme of the day, said: “As parents, we all want our children to grow up to be responsible citizens and good people.”
“We want them to learn to feel, think and act with respect for themselves and for other people, but we also want them to pursue their own well-being, while also being considerate of the needs and feelings of others.
“We want them to recognize and honour the democratic principles upon which our countries were founded.”
He quoted one-time US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings as saying: “We must not simply teach children how to count; we must teach them what counts. A quality education provides citizens with the tools to participate fully in their society.”
Research has shown that children who grow up with strong, positive values are happier and do better in school, said Mr Gomez, who is the executive director of GAFNA.
They are also better able to balance their personal wants and needs against those of others and to make positive contributions to society, he further said.
“On the other hand, if children do not learn proper values and behavior when they are very young, problems can develop,” he noted, saying: “These problems can mushroom with serious consequences as children grow older - dropping out of school, drug use, teenage pregnancy, violent crime - and the list goes on.”
“The most important thing we can do for our children is to help them acquire values and skills that they can rely on throughout their lives,” he stated, saying that in doing so, they will have the best chance to lead good lives as individuals and as citizens of their communities and of The Gambia in general.
Just as children must be taught to tie their shoes, read and write, solve math problems, and understand science concepts and events in history, so must they be guided in developing the qualities of character that are valued by their families and by the communities in which they live, he pointed out.
“It is only through guidance and modeling by caring adults including teachers that children learn to be honest and thoughtful, to stand up for their principles, to care about others, to act responsibly and to make sound moral choices,” he remarked.
Research indicates that children take values seriously only when they see that the adults they respect and agree, at least in general, with those values.
Although parents must be the ones to determine which values they want their children to develop, they need the help of the community, particularly the schools, in reinforcing those values, he said.Concluding, Mr Gomez quoted Martin Luther King Jr. as saying that, “Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”