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Friday, July 19, 2024
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The GABECE results are a national disaster. Time for a national inquiry

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While the nation is yet to recover from the abysmal failure in the Grade 12 WASSCE 2023 results we are now witnessing yet another disaster in the Grade 9 GABECE results 2023. Out of 27,402 students only 41 students obtained Aggregate 6! That is only 41 students, which is equivalent to one classroom, had A grade in each 6 subjects! How and why should this be? One would have expected that most students would obtain Aggregate 6 including maths and English because that is the very objective of teaching and learning leading to exams: for most students to know and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding with flying colors. Still out of the 27,402 students only 13,626 students obtained Aggregate 42 or less! This is less than half the total number of students who sat for GABECE. Just like the WASSCE, the nation should be outraged at this mass failure and demand answers from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. The number of resources from both local funds and loans and grants invested into the education of Gambian children are huge. Our children are normal children who should have the capacity to undergo classroom teaching and learn their subjects so effectively that when put to exams they are able to demonstrate their competence and capacity in explaining what they learnt. Therefore, why are these results poor? The President and the National Assembly and indeed Gambians must not be satisfied with the press release from MoBSE which tries to tell us that this is progress because last year 31 students got Aggregate 6 and this has increased by 10 students to 41students this year. Why should all Gambian basic schools put together – from both the public and private sectors – produce only 41 students with Aggregate 6? These results demand a rigorous, objective, and urgent inquiry because it is utterly abnormal and a sign of serious systemic failure for any country to produce such deplorable results in school exams. Basic and secondary education is the foundation of our civilization. It is where the future decision makers, technocrats, thinkers, inventors, and leaders of our society are moulded. Therefore, what is expected is to see the state and society making immense investments in this sector so as to provide all the resources, facilities, and tools necessary to create effective and efficient teaching and learning which will result in most children having the capacity and competence to perform in exams. Is this happening or not? The results undoubtedly speak for themselves that this is not happening. I do not think our children are so incapable of learning. I strongly believe that we have amazing and passionate teachers in this country. Therefore, why are these not translating into high performance? Where does the problem lie? This appalling trend, which has been the case for years, is undermining the future development and progress of this country. If the basic and secondary education levels are weak surely it will lead to weak tertiary education. One only needs to look at societies that are advanced to realize that they are standing on robust and high performing education systems and institutions from basic and secondary education to tertiary institutions including technical and vocational education and training. I strongly hold that the education system is not fair to our children as it is retarding their ability to learn and excel. For that matter there is a need for a national inquiry into these terrible results. Our children deserve to undergo a teaching and learning process that will expose and strengthen their cognitive ability understand and master their subjects to be able to perform and deliver exceedingly well at exams. These results indicate that our children are inadequately taught or denied the rightful tools and conducive environment to be able to exercise their abilities. This means our education system is rather weakening and retarding the performance and progress of our children. That is a national calamity.

Madi Jobarteh

Kembujeh

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