Gambia Teachers Union on Thursday 21 September 2017, held its mid-term review
congress at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
This congress is meant to celebrate the growth and successes of the union, as well as reflect on the challenges facing educators and trade unionists.
The theme for the event was “Rethinking youth and women engagement in union work with specific reference to the Gambia Teachers Union.”
Martin Gomez, President of the Gambia Teachers Union, in his remarks, stressed that government and the public must realise that teachers are central in preparing the nation in meeting the challenges of today’s world.
Mr Gomez added that it was time teachers were given the moral, material and institutional support needed to enhance standards required of the 21st century.
“Teachers need decent wages, good learning and working environment,” he remarked.
Mr Gomez further remarked that they need societal recognition, based on the value of their work. “Our schools must be fully equipped for teachers to provide basic skills, create an opportunity for critical thinking for the key to excellence and productivity.”
He noted that there should be adequate investment in instructional materials, adding that GTU would continue to promote the economic and intellectual welfare of their members.
He said by focusing on welfare and professionalism, they would be able to help students realise their potentials and make progress in their careers.
GTU’s General Secretary, Marie Antoinette Corr, said women are underrepresented in leadership positions in the works of unions, which she noted remains a serious concern and should be constantly raised in all constitutional structures.
She said young people are critical to the future of trade unionism and to its strength, effectiveness and legitimacy of trade union organisations.
“It is important that unions respond better in their policies and activities to the needs and expectations of young people, make them feel welcome and remove the obstacles that prevent their full participation,” she added.
The guest speaker at the occasion, Alhagie Omar J. Ndurein, said the youth and women in trade union organisations are the strongest pillars, and he challenged GTU to create a youth wing since they have a status of women committee.
He added that trade unions must engage young people in the non-formal sector to be unionized, in order to benefit from their protection.
Mr Ndure highlighted that involving and working with young people in trade union work is a viable recipe for the future.
Kebba M. Ceesay, Interim Chairman of the Gambia Trade Union Bureau, in his fraternity message, underscored the importance of working together as a union.