On Thursday 1st April 2021, and Sunday 4 April 2021, The AFRICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION UK- and National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Prof. Toby Green of King’s College, UK, held workshops for 60 history teachers at the National Museum in Banjul, and at Kankurang Centre, Jangjangbureh, CRR.
The aim of the workshops was to promote the teaching of history in Gambian schools to assist in the UN SDG’s quality education goal. History teachers and students were introduced to a new history reference and resource material in the form of an e-book, titled WASSCE History textbook, that covers part one of the West African Senior Secondary History Exams syllabus called History of West Africa, developed by historians from The Gambia, Ghana, UK, USA, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The e-book was digitized into flash drives which have been given to the participating teachers, and also 300 other flash drives will be given to students in various Gambian schools.
The workshops started with a general introduction by participants. This was followed by a brief opening by the facilitators and organizers. In both workshops, the Lead Facilitator Hassoum Ceesay thanked MOBSE and all the participants for attending, and also thanked ASAUK and Prof. Toby Green of Kings College for their support and partnership. He said NCAC has the mandate to promote historical awareness and administers an oral archive and newspaper library which history researchers use.
Next came a Zoom session with Prof. Toby Green of King’s College UK. Prof. talked about the importance of the E-Book. Taking the participants through memory lane, Prof. Green talked about the Freetown meeting involving a group of Historians from sub-Saharan Africa and the eventual publication of the E-Book. After a brief discussion on the significance of the e-book and the role it can play in the teaching of History in Gambian Schools, participants highlighted numerous challenges they face in the teaching of History in Gambian Schools: from source-material, access to text books, teaching aids, poor curriculum designing, poor attitude towards History, to less government investment in historical studies. The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education was ably represented by the Curriculum Development Directorate which gave a good account of current efforts at this Ministry to ensure that history is given a boost it needs as far as curriculum development is concerned.
Among resolutions made by Gambian history teachers: Review of History Text Books currently in use so as to bring consistency in history facts and methods; frequent meeting of history teachers through staff development workshops at school level; history championships to engender interest among children; making history a core subject in schools and to encourage the study of history to enable entrepreneurship and job creation, build patriotism and also strengthen self-identity among students and citizen; development of digital infrastructure in schools to enable students and teachers to harness digital technology to study history via internet and social media.