Author: Musa Bah
Many have lamented the continuous rote learning which characterizes our education system. Many have observed that even though some of our youth come out with excellent results from school, their academic acumen does not always translate into savvy decision making or creativity in the real world. In fact, many – if not most – simply follow the same things they found in work places. We have done this for the past fifty-two years; and failing our people. It’s high time we changed gear and became innovative.
At Nusrat Senior Secondary School, one of the best in the country, we have started doing something about it. Granted, it is at a very small scale for now, and very rudimentary, the belief is that at least someone may pick up some entrepreneurial skills from it and grow up to be part of the solution to the Gambia’s problem. If even a small number of the young people is inspired to become innovative and gives back to society later in life, it will be a success. The example of Mustapha Njie (TAF) comes to mind.
From Friday, the 19th of January, 2018, the students of Nusrat Senior Secondary School began an All-High School Trade Fair. This was the second in as many years. In this Fair, students are allowed -encouraged – to showcase their talents by bringing whatever products they produce and selling it. Students from different high schools come and bring their products.
The school collaborates with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to make this program a learning centre for students from all schools. In this way, students are also exposed to business practices and entrepreneurial skills. Some people will pick up the culture of innovation.
This, Mr President, is just one area in which our education system should be directed. Instead of just writing and passing examination, our young people should be encouraged in their areas of interest/talent so that they can stand on their own feet. This way, even if government or the private sector is unable to provide job opportunities to the youth, they will be able to be self employed. We should produce job creators rather than job seekers.
The principal of Nusrat Senior Secondary School, Mr Karamo S. Bojang, the brain behind this and all other successes of the school, could advise on how the system can incorporate something like this and other areas. Mr President, I am among those who view this rote learning as a threat to national security. We have to do something.
It is true that it will be unwise to ignore the academic part of education, but we know that only about twenty percent of the young people have the ability to truly excel I’m academics. This will leave another eighty percent or so as failures because they did not pursue what they are really good at. Why can’t we have a parralel system in which those with academic skill will follow that and those who have minds for technical areas will be allowed to pursue their dreams?
We must do something drastic otherwise, things do not look good for the future. As they say ‘We must think outside the box’.
Have a good day Mr President.