STED Concludes sensitization of Head Teachers, Grades three and five teachers, Cluster Monitors, Regional Education Office Staff


The Science and Technology Education Directorate (STED) of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), recently ended a three-week extensive sensitization on Remedial Class guidelines. The STED personnel, working in two teams criss-crossed the six regions of the country to sensitize Head teachers, teachers in Grades 5 and 3, Cluster Monitors and Regional Education Office staff on the “Guidelines for Conducting Remedial Classes.” The sensitization was led by the Director of STED, Mr. Adama Jimba Jobe.

The sensitization began at the Region 6 Education Directorate in Basse, Upper River Region. Addressing participants at the Region Six Directorate, Mr. Jobe said that the guidelines were developed in 2011 by STED through a consultative process. He commended the teachers for attending the training. He described the guideline as a step towards improving the performance of the children whom he described as “the future leaders of the country.”

He observed that if we spend millions of Dalasis on our children and their performance improves, then we have utilized our resources well. But if we spend five Dalasis on this project and the performance of our children has not improved then we have wasted resources. He advised the teachers to be steadfast in their work and ensure that the resources spent on the project help to advance the performance of students.

He bemoaned the fact that most teachers grace workshops for the sake of financial rewards and not for the acquisition of knowledge, adding that it is only in The Gambia that people are paid to attend trainings. In other countries in the sub-region, people pay to attend trainings.

He said teaching does not make people rich, adding that the rewards of the profession lie in seeing your own students climb the ladder of achievement in life. He added that sometimes you enter a taxi and your former student pays for you, or, you go to the hospital and someone helps you to get treatment without having to spend much time on the queues. That he noted are the benefits one can get from teaching. He therefore advised the teachers that if they are looking for financial gains, they have landed at the wrong terrain.

He said there was a policy pronouncement that children that fall within the last four percent of the NAT will be asked to repeat, and schools will be ranked according to performance in a league table. However, this could not be possible as, according to him, some Head Teachers cheated the sector by hoarding or prevented their pupils from attempting the test. He added that as a result of this some Head Teachers were reprimanded and some served with warning letters.



The Director of Region 6, Mrs. Claudiana Cole, emphasized the need for teachers in her region to pull their shocks and improve their work. She said many policy initiatives have been implemented with a view to improve the performance of teachers and urged them to show results. The RED 6 Director said the remedial classes are one of the many initiatives aimed at helping to improve eminence in the sector.  

She commended STED for the invaluable role it is playing in perking-up quality, urging them to listen attentively to what Mr. Jobe and Mr. Kah had to tell them. She noted that Mr. Jobe and his team were there to help them improve their work, adding that by the end of the day, she was sure people will leave the hall with something new.

The participants were divided into several groups and given two tasks. The first task was to define remediation. They were also asked to differentiate between remediation and normal classes as well as come up with a pedagogical method in teaching remedial classes. In addition, participants were told to list ways of identifying children in need of remediation. Lastly, they were told to come up with a method of grouping children in remedial classes, and to prepare a lesson plan for a remedial class. 

It was clear from the presentations that most of the teachers had an understanding of remedial classes. However, Mr. Jobe advised the participants to make a distinction between remedial classes and the “study classes” they hold in their schools. He said every teacher should help underperforming children in their classes. However, the remedial classes were for children who have not made it through in the NAT exams.

He also advised the participants to avoid using vague words or sentences. These among others include the word “needy” which may be correct grammatically, but could be interpreted differently. He added that there are academically needy children, “but if I come to your school and ask you to give me a list of needy students, the first thing that comes to your mind is students who are financially underprivileged.”

He also advised the participants to distinguish between slow learners and fast learners, noting that being slow does not meant that one will fail at the end of the day. Being a fast learner does not also meant that one will pass at the end of the day.

He observed that there are children who are slow but sure, observing that at the end of the day, such students will pass their exams. He also noted that some students are fast, but they end up failing.

He further explained that average performance may also differ from one part of the country to the other. He added that an average child in Serrekunda Lower Basic School may not be an average child in Basse. And a below average student in Soma may not be below average in Banjul. He said that the best term to use in this regard is underperforming children because it denotes a universal meaning.

He also told the participants that it may not be correct to assert that remedial classes need more preparation than the normal classes. He revealed that the only difference between the two is that remedial classes need more preparation and resources, adding that the remedial class is a repetition of a class that was taught but not understood.

He noted that it is for this reason that a remedial teacher needs more resources and a new method, saying further that there is equal need to prepare well for your normal classes. He called on teachers to be innovative, adding that one could prepare a lesson plan for a class and change it if students do not understand what is being taught.

Most of the participants agreed that the best teaching method in remedial classes is the child centered method. To this Mr. Jobe agreed but noted that it could be any teaching method as far as it enhances the understanding of the children. “It could be experimentation, child centered, practical lesson/demonstrations, experimentation, teacher centered or any other teaching method. What is important is the understanding of the children,” he said.

He also advised that children in need of remediation be grouped according to their abilities. “If my problem is diarrhoea and someone else has malaria and you give us both malaria drugs then you will kill the person who has diarrhoea,” he noted.


Important issues were raised during the question and answer session. The most important among them were the social and environmental factors affecting the learning of students. Mr. Jobe in this regard said it is the duty of the teacher to be a parent, a brother, a sister and a referee in the class. “It is your duty as a teacher to know the problems affecting your students,” he said.

The session also dwelt on the difficulty of getting the NAT results on time. Some of the Head Teachers bemoaned the fact that their results are normally given to them so late in the academic year that they had already promoted their children. “I know the NAT exams are far from perfect. However, last year, MoBSE hired a consultant for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), to help them improve on the test items,” he said.




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