Authorities poised to reduce bullying in schools

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Gambia National Youth Council (NYC) in partnership with UNICEF on Tuesday July 24, 2018, began a three days training for 50 junior and senior secondary students on positive behaviours to reduce violence (bullying) among school children within the Greater Banjul area and West Coast Region at a ceremony held at the Regional Education Office One, Kanifing.

In his opening statement, Hadrammeh Sidibeh, minister of Youths and Sports said: “The government of The Gambia through the line ministry of Youths and Sports prioritises the issues of young people considering the fact that they form the majority of this country’s population,” he mentioned.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Janko Jawneh, senior education officer, Region One, said bullying exists in schools and in communities and Gambians should work very hard to put a stop to it.

“Bullying brings about violence and where violence exists it results to anarchy, which directly or indirectly will affect the lives of the young children of our society,” he said.

He hoped that this particular training will give them an insight of what bullying means, how it can be fought, eradicated and also sensitising  those children that cannot be part of the training.

For his part, Dembo Kambi, chairman of NYC said the training was timely and important in the sense that it had been the desire of NYC and MoBSE to ensure that the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youths and Sports to create a safe environment for the development of the Nation.

“The training will enable the participants to get access to information that are threatening their development in the coming years and need to be given necessary support and training and voice to achieve their dreams,” he assured.

Violence can come in different forms, Mr. Kambi said, adding that it can happen amongst school children or even from the teachers to the students either physically or verbally.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Eustace Cassell, representative from UNICEF said that violence against children can be physical, sexual and can also be emotional.

He explained: “The Children’s Act outlines all the things that concern children adding that it states that violence against children is prohibited and MoBse also has some guidelines regarding violence against children and within this training, these laws will be brought down to their level.”

Deputy permanent secretary of MoBSE, Adama Jimba Jobe, pointed out that bullying in schools should no longer be put under the carpet; as it is preventing the young children from accessing information and education and it is a fundamental human right for every child to access education.

He shared a personal experience about his child who got disturbed in school by his colleague who collected his child’s lunch and threatened to beat him if he lodged a complaint.

He advised the parents to be checking on their children to monitor their performances and their relationship with their colleagues to help the child to be comfortable to learn.

Author: Fatou B. Cham