President promises new era in education


By Omar Bah President Adama Barrow has vowed to break Gambia’s educational barriers by ensuring that the ‘basic, secondary, tertiary and higher education’ sub-sectors operate efficiently. “We recognise that the basic, secondary, tertiary and higher education sub-sectors must operate effectively and efficiently, and must reach their policy targets, in order to develop the desired human capital of the country,” he said, as he laid the foundation stone of the Basse campus of the Gambia College. He emphasised that the standard in the Basse campus should be at the same level with the main campus in Brikama. “Experienced lecturers at the Brikama campus and additional competent staff should be deployed to serve here. As a matter of national duty, they should be willing to accept postings to come and stay here,” he added. The project, he added, once completed and operational, is expected to address the challenges of teacher access, quality and equity in rural Gambia. “Teacher education and training; teacher quality and performance, and teacher supply and management form the basis for a sound education policy. These also contribute to ensuring that high standards and results are maintained in the system,” he said. The project is funded by the MRC Holland Foundation to serve as an extension for the main teacher training college in Brikama, West Coast Region. The foundation intends to support government in delivering 1,000 classrooms across the country. The Gambian leader argued that qualified teachers from the rural area continue to lobby to stay and teach within the urban area at the expense of schools in the hinterland. This, he said, created a striking imbalance between schools in the rural area and those in the urban area, “this has far-reaching implications on the education of the rural child, in terms of quality and equity. The purpose of providing quality education for all, it is important that the qualified teachers are distributed equitably so that no part of the country is underserved.” “If the teacher trainees, especially those living in the Central River and the Upper River regions, choose to remain in these areas after their training it will significantly enhance quality education and improve student performance throughout the country,” he added. The president also revealed that the MRC Holland will offer one hundred scholarships for potential teacher trainees at the new campus. This, he added, is a laudable offer, as it will serve as an incentive to attract and retain suitable candidates for training. The Gambia College Principal, Bubacarr Jallow explained that the new college will ensure that students from these regions will no longer relocate to the urban areas for college education and training, adding that it will enable regional education directors to tap from a fresh pool of trained and qualified teachers.]]>