Wednesday, 1 August 2018
An Open Letter To The Minister Of Basic and Secondary Education
I am writing this open letter not to sympathies with your ministry; I am doing so, to irritate an urgent reaction from your office, in the wake of what appears to be a serious wane in performance in the recent 2018, West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results. I learnt with dismay that over 70% of the Gambian students, who sat for this year’s WASSCE, have miserably failed beyond human imagination. The students failed most of their subjects, particularly English language and Mathematics.
Ma, I'm with the conviction, that this piece will trigger a rude awakening in your institution, so it can make a rethink about ways and means of rescuing our already compromised education sector from further calamities.
Besides, I'm fully aware of the laid down agenda in place, however, I am more concerned with facts and realities on hand that have been debilitating performances at schools. These facts are evident and as a concerned citizen, I deem it fit to add my voice to the chorus of advises directed at your office. More often than not, public schools across the country lack learning materials, Teachers on the other hand have been protesting over low salary. These two, though urgent remain unsolved. Now why would you not expect these results to be the way they are?
I believe it is obligatory upon you as a public servant to consider the outcome of the results as a catastrophe facing our educational system and chart a holistic approach that will introduce about competitiveness and seriousness in Schools across the country.
Madam Minister, I am sure that you received advice from all stakeholders on what needs to be done to advance The Gambia’s education system. Unlike rocket science however, almost everyone has an opinion on what works best for a better education sector.
Furthermore, the last time I checked over 50 years since independence, The Gambia as a sovereign nation has not been able to raise technical and vocational schools to the levels with which they can contribute profoundly to the economy. We can draw programs from China, Malaysia, Ethiopia and South Africa that embraced technical education long time ago. Most of these countries now have higher GDP and per capita income due to the significance with which they gave to technical education long time ago.
I submit to you that the challenges faced by our education sector are like Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram in Nigeria trying to bomb the White House in America.
Surprisingly enough. The Gambia is yet to be part of the 21st Century through the use of modern technology to ease education. The Gambia have been using chalks and blackboards since the colonial era which reduces teacher confidence and causes a lot of distractions to the teaching learning process.
I am therefore by this letter appealing to your high office to consider switching to the use of white boards and markers to boost teacher confidence in front of the class. A confident teacher is more likely to attract the attention of the students which would go a long way to ensure good grasp of what is being taught in the classroom. The role of education in the age of globalization ought to be to broaden the horizons in the minds of people and there ought to be equal access to opportunities for this exposure.