On Monday, the 7th of August 2017, representatives from the Gambia Teaching Trust met with the President of the Republic of The Gambia, H.E. Adama Barrow at his office in Fajara for a formal meeting about the GTT and its key aims and objectives.
The meeting commenced with a formal introduction of the GTT representatives by Mr. Ebrima Sonko, National Coordinator GTT who further deliberated on the history of the initiative. According to Mr. Sonko, GTT is a charitable organisation founded in 2015 by Alasan Gent Ceesay, a Gambian based in United Kingdom with the aim of supporting, recognising and appreciating the efforts of teachers and the teaching profession in The Gambia. He added that GTT intends to support teachers in numerous ways, one of which includes an annual event in which the most outstanding teacher labelled as “National Teacher Prize” shall be awarded a cash prize of One Million Dalasis.
He reiterated that this event is important as it shall be the first of its kind in sub region, the maiden edition expected to hold early January 2018. Sonko also emphasised that the award winner will represent The Gambia in Dubai for the Global Teacher Prize award by The Varkey Foundation in which he may stand the chance of winning a cash prize of One Million US Dollars. The GTT is further setting up a “Trust Fund” by embarking on an ongoing fund raising, the proceeds of which will be deposited to entirely support teachers who need emergency assistance, said Mr. Sonko.
Regarding the mode of selection of the most outstanding teacher in The Gambia, Mr. Sonko contended that a selection process will be sought which shall be an eleven-man committee including seasoned and veteran educationists to work on various applications of teachers. Indeed, out of these applications, ten (10) outstanding teachers would be considered as finalist and one of them will walk home as National Teacher Prize Winner with a cash prize of 1 Million Dalasis.
Sonko informed His Excellency that the GTT is committed to the fulfilment and realisation of its objectives and as such, members of the noble initiative recently embarked on a nationwide tour to get to schools and put it to all that teachers matter.
The Secretary General of the GTT, Mr. Essa Njie, shed light on the aims and objectives of the trust initiative by emphasising that the invaluable efforts of teachers in changing the lives of many in society deserves to be recognised, appreciated, supported, and rewarded. The GTT exists to complement government’s efforts in advancing the education sector of the country and appreciate the fantastic work teachers are doing in The Gambia.
Ms. Fatou Jallow, member of the Media Committee GTT extended an official invitation to His Excellency for his presence at the main event in his capacity as Chief Patron to formally present the award to the National teacher of the year.
Mr. Saikou Jabai, member of the GTT buttressed on the expectations from the government which specifically requires government to help endorse the initiative and pledge support for the main event in early January 2018 and subsequent ones for the sustenance of the whole initiative.
In expressing his heartfelt appreciation of the Trust Initiative and its objectives, President Barrow gave welcoming remarks and extended gratitude to the Gambia Teaching Trust for such an initiative. He also promised to attend National Teacher Prize Awards in January in his capacity as The Chief Patron of the organisation, and also to present the mega award to the deserving winner.
His Excellency deliberated on the importance of teachers in society, the learning process and the fact that his government is committed to transforming the education sector for the greater good despite the country’s economic situation. “For one to succeed in whatever one does, one must have to be committed,” said His Excellency. The President added that the teaching profession is a noble one because all educated individuals must have passed through a teacher, making reference to his former teacher in Crab Island Upper Basic School. He commended the team for their commitment in that it is pleasing to see young people creating a positive impact in society. Adama Barrow pledged his government’s full support towards the initiative.