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Monday, July 5, 2010

Gambia: Sunday Beach On the Spotlight

We are now in July; the month that students in schools within the Greater Banjul Area write their exams and eventually go on long, summer vacation.

One thing that is common during the summer vacation is the popular Sunday Beach Programme, when young boys and girls flock to the beach late every Sunday evening. The programme has now become a subject of public discussion due to the way many of the young people dress and how they comport themselves at the beachside.

Of course we do not doubt that those who pioneered the Sunday Beach Programme had good intentions, but we must look at both sides of the coin to determine what is best for our children.

Now that the Gambia Tourism Authority has introduced new security measures to safeguard our children against certain dangers they might face at the beaches, we wish to add our voice so that together we can better prepare the young ones for a better future. We have to be aware that holiday period does not mean that children should be idle.

Education is a continuous process; holidays are best times for students to organise themselves to spend more time on their books and also help their parents in domestic chores.

Some form of vocational training could also be organised for the children to improve their skills. Parents' should also be fully aware that the manner in which their children, especially the girls, dress when attending these Sunday Beach Programmes is highly immoral and against our religious and social values.
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What even makes the programme more risky for the school children is that most of those who take part in it are exposed to irresponsible lifestyles. Some of them that are not even qualified to drive, especially the boys, do drive carelessly with their parents' cars, thus causing traffic problems and endangering lives.

We also wonder why children should be allowed to stay at the beaches up till very late in the night. The moral responsibility on the parents to ensure their children are disciplined. We should all work hard to keep alive our cherished norms and values, and stick to those old days when children dare not leave the home without the consent of the head of the family.

Remember that the future belongs to those who planned for it today and history has proven that people do not plan to fail but fail to plan. The children are the future; we must guide them along the straight path before they go astray.

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