The current education system in the Gambia is indeed a national disaster which has become prevalent since Dictator Jammeh came to power. The ministry of education has many incompetent staff who cannot even write a proper sentence, let alone formulate meaningful education policies. The head of that ministry has no interest in advancement of the educational system of the country. Instead minister Fatou Lamin Faye is busy massaging the ego of dictator Yaya Jammeh by conducting unnecessary programs/ policies or beauty pageantry which are detrimental to the interest of Gambian people. The problems are too many for the dictatorial regime to overcome. There will never be improvement as long as the dictator is in power. The main problem starts with ministry of education that fails to design curriculum that suits the current national education needs. They have outdated curriculum of 20th century that is poorly implemented. The result is the failed outcome.
Another huge problem of the Gambia’s educational system is lack of competent and well qualified teachers across the country. The Gambia College used to produce less than 40 highest certificate teachers graduates (HTC) in the 1990s but today the College produce close to one 1, 000 teachers of both PTC (primary teacher’s certificate) and HTC. Many of these teachers do not have entry qualifications. How can students pass their exams when majority of teachers are not even qualified to be enrolled at the college? Majority of teachers on training at the college do not have five credits. They don’t have credits in Englis and mathematics. Thanks to corruption and nepotism, we have all these teachers enrolled at college without proper qualifications. The massive enrollment of student teachers has significant impact on little resources available at the college because of large class size. The quality of education these student teachers get at the college is very low because of lack of learning materials such as curent textbooks, research articles, journals or sufficient internet at college library, poor student – professor ratio (if there is any qualified professors) and many other issues which students personally deals with in their daily lives such as little monthly stipends (250 dalasis), lack of transportation and housing. Majority of students at the college in 1990s used to live on the college campus and there was enough food and housing to cater for students needs but today 90 percent live outside the campus with significant problems.
Those student teachers who are lucky to be enrolled in the college encounter so-called professors with outdated approach to 21st century learning needs such as lack of application of technology in their classroom presentation. Gambia college still lacks basic projectile or video presentations of important lectures. In a nutshell, there is zero use of latest technological innovations to help students at the college in their learning. The same scenario can be said about the university of the Gambia which also started mass production of graduates since 2005.
However, if we want to have better educational system where students learn to develop themselves and strive hard to learn the values of life, we must focus our energy and resources on the college where it all begin. We must have the right people with right qualifications at the ministry of education – people who are honest, decent and determine to ensure that our brothers and sisters are successful in their education. I think our current students at the high schools are victims of failed education policies designed for mass production without any quality education. We need total transformation of the education system to suit the current national needs and also meet global standards. The current leadership has failed the younger generation both morally and educationally, which is it is about time the county changed course before the final distasteful disaster hits the country.