Addressing hundreds of people including students, parents, teachers and other distinguished guests at the West Africa International School (WAIS) graduation ceremony at the school campus in Bakau, she said: “Even if you do not think of yourself as patriotic, there is still a good reason why, for you, home is the best. No matter how successful you become in a developed country, you will always remain a foreigner, a migrant, a nobody. If you are honest and earn money through the legal means, you will just be one of the masses, one of the many anonymous bodies that merely exist there. If you earn your money through illegal means, like drugs and crime, and therefore can afford to look rich and act rich, you run the risk of attracting the wrong attention; either that of the law and you end up in prison or are deported; or that of other illegal dealers like yourself and you end up dead and being brought home in a coffin. Stay alive. Be active, be vigilant, be determined, be courageous, be vibrant, be honest but most of all, be positively aggressive. Never allow yourselves to be a coward. Rather, be realistic and always ready to meet challenges.
“It is common knowledge that President Jammeh loves the youth of this country and loves them with a passion. His adage for youth education therefore is ‘the sky is the limit’. To this end, through his own initiative, he has put in place several mechanisms to ensure this, ranging from the provision of scholarships and equipment, to the establishment of the University of The Gambia. Then from this same political will which is fundamental to any meaningful development, the National Youth Service Scheme was established as an act of the National Assembly in 1999 and in March 2002, the NYSS Apprenticeship Training Programme was launched to ensure the provision of a platform for The Gambian youth to acquire skills that would enable them combat unemployment and other social vices”.
She added that The Gambia’s Vision 2020 blue print also calls for the strengthening of the NYSS to provide school-leavers with appropriate productive skills and tasks the Youth Council to provide a participatory frame work to promote the interests of youths and enhance character development in them. She said there is also the Children’s Act enacted in 2005 which both promotes and protects the youth in the employment arena and, the 1997 constitution of the Republic of The Gambia which provides for children under the age of sixteen entitlements to be protected from economic exploitation.
Other speakers at the occasion included Abdoulie M Touray of Sahel group, the executive director of WAIS, teachers, students, parents, guardians and friends of the graduating students.
The hours long ceremony was interspersed with presentations and performances by students. The 114 graduating students were all awarded certificates.]]>