This article traces the development of moral education (ME) in Botswana from pre‐colonial times to the present day. It shows how during this time ME has undergone three distinct phases of development, each emphasising a particular ideology. In pre‐colonial times ME was offered as part of indigenous education in the home and community, both formally and informally, directly and indirectly. During the missionary/colonial period (1870s–1966) and in the first three decades of Botswana’s independence (1967–1998), ME was taught in the formal school curriculum as an aspect of religious education. During this period religious education was confessional, using Christian moral values as a yardstick in exploring the material content of the syllabus. Since the national educational reforms of the 1990s, ME has undergone a paradigm shift, whereby it has become disengaged from religious education and secularised as a stand‐alone subject in the junior secondary curriculum. This paper examines each of these three phases of development, and concludes by offering an assessment of the efficacy of the current phase, given the religiosity of Botswana as a country and the consequences of previous teacher training with ME having been located within religious education.