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City of Banjul
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

New reading scheme to help Gambian students

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By Juldeh Njie

A new reading scheme for Gambian schools has been launched last week. It was produced by Abooku, a UK based charity following close consultation with Gambian teachers.
It is a fully comprehensive and structured scheme designed to complement and enhance the existing scheme currently being used in The Gambia.
Hannah Pickle of the charity, said the idea started in 2012 when she and her colleagues visited The Gambia. Upon arrival, she said they noticed that children were not able to take reading books home.

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“So we thought of writing a Gambian scheme that would support children in their reading skills,” she explained. “The scheme features Gambian characters and situations that will be familiar to Gambian school children.”
Explicating further, she went on: “Each child will receive a sequence of 144 mini books that they will be able to take home and share with family members. Each teacher using the scheme will receive training together with support materials including a ‘Big Book’ and a Teacher’s Manual to assist in the delivery of this scheme.”

She said the scheme will be rolled out in schools such as Bakau Newtown Lower Basic; Bijilo Nursery; Mandinari Lower Basic; St. John’s School for the Deaf; Tallinding Lower Basic; and Wellingara Lower Basic schools respectively.
Pickle said the challenge now is “getting funding back in England.”
“12,000 pounds has been spent on the scheme [already],” she stated.
Kumba Saidy, a Gambian teacher and consultant to the scheme, said: “I am very excited and looking forward to using the scheme with our children at Mandinari Lower Basic [School]. It will be very useful.”

Doctor Desmond Bowden of Abooku, weighed in: “We are very grateful to the people and organisations both in The Gambia and UK who have helped us develop the ‘Baobab Reading Scheme’.”
The scheme has been funded by schools based in West Midlands area of the UK and the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity.

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