The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, (MoBSE) in collaboration with the New Jersey Centre for Teaching and Learning, yesterday 20th August 2012, started a ten-days training for Mathematics and Science Teachers in The Gambia. The teachers were drawn from twelve Upper Basic and Senior Secondary Schools. The opening ceremony was held at Khamsy’s Technologies in Bijilo.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Adama Jimba Jobe, Director, Science and Technology Education Directorate, MoBSE, thanked everyone for attending the meeting. He expressed optimism that the project will be able to transform the teaching of Mathematics and Science in the country.

Sheriff Yunus Hydara, Manager, Project Coordinating Unit, MoBSE, on his part commended all those who helped to bring the project into fruition. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the Honourable Minister and the Permanent Secretary Mr. Bouy, for being at the forefront for the past year. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, Professor Muhammadou Kah for spearheading the initiative,” he said.

Mr. Hydara also extended a hand of appreciation to development partners like the World Bank for financing the project to the amount of $500, 000. 00. He stated that the aim of the project was to prepare young Gambian Science and Mathematics students for a globalised world.

The Permanent Secretary, MoBSE, Baboucarr Bouy, said that the initiation of the project came to him as a great joy. He said as a trained Mathematics teacher, though no longer teaching, he always felt guilty whenever examination results are out. 

“Mathematics and Physics examination results are most of the time not encouraging. The problem has been ongoing for a while and there seems to be no solution. That is why I was happy when Professor Kah came up with the initiative. This is the solution we need to address our problems in Science and Mathematics,” he intimated.

He said the project was able to transform schools in New Jersey, USA; schools which were about to be closed due to low performance. “I was amazed at the level of confidence that the project was able to instill in students. It was realized that the teaching methodology of the science subjects especially physics was the problem. The centre was able to change the methodology of the teaching of the sciences and that attracted a lot of students,” he added.

He warned participants that failure will not be tolerated, urging them to perform well as their performance will be used to justify an expansion of the programme. He stated that there was need for some adjustment in the curricula to enable the programme to work. “Teachers have to think outside the box and be committed from today to ensuring the success of the project,” he said.

The Honourable Minister Fatou Lamin Faye, described Professor Kah as an example of a patriotic Gambian. She said that we have been talking about becoming the Singapore of Africa for many years now, but with little progress in that direction. However, a positive initiative like this can help us to address the country’s ‘Silicon Valley of Africa’ aspirations. “I want to thank Bob Goodman for the excitement and commitment he has shown in the project. Failure will be a great mistake,” she said, adding that the investments that have been made in improving the teaching and learning of English have already started bearing fruit.

She added that the infrastructure is being created by government, but the problem is the man power to make good use of the medium. This, she said, would enable the country to retain money that is being lost to foreign technical experts.

Professor Kah, on his part lamented the fact that many students are not enrolled into the Sciences at the University of The Gambia and this he said, will have adverse effects on the development of the country. He said that in addition to being the first real step in the Year of Science and Technology, it is also the first real step towards uplifting the future of Mathematics and Science teachers. He concluded by narrating the biography of Bob Goodman, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Centre for Teaching and Learning.


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