NATCOM, UNESCO regional office wrap up training on cross border languages

Monday, August 21, 2017

NATCOM in collaboration with UNESCO Dakar regional office recently organised a three-day cross border harmonisation languages training at the GTU office in Kanifing.

The training was geared towards exposing participants to better understand the “Serer and Manjagos” languages.

In his welcoming remarks, the programme officer at UNESCO Gambia office, Lamin Jarju, said they at the national commission knew that the two nations of Senegal and The Gambia are two in one.

These nations existed before colonial time, he declared, adding that it was only during colonialism that artificial boundaries were drawn but whatever “people you could find in The Gambia are the same people you would find in Senegal”.

“We are calling for harmonization of the languages of Serer and Manjagos,” he stated, saying this should be extended to all other languages as well.

He said they looked at the autography spelling, albeit of these two languages to see how best they could strike a middle ground to make sure that when “you use it in The Gambia you can use it in Senegal.”

Saib Sey, a representative from UNESCO Dakar Regional office, thanked the general secretary of NATCOM and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education for hosting the forum.

He stated that the activities were part of the UNESCO contribution toward achieving the SDG4 that underlines the important of mother tongue of quality in education.

He called for the need to promote the mother languages which would greatly help in Africa, saying the cross border languages are very vital for such regional integration.

According to Sey, the mother languages are essential components of quality education, hence they must recognise the importance attached to the mother tongue.

“Bilingual languages are very useful to increase our education effectively,” he said.

In declaring the forum open, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Muhammed Jallow, dilated on the importance of national languages in education.

He thanked UNESCO for supporting the venture considering the importance attached to the national language, saying they want to work with UNESCO in ensuring that they identify the critical areas in the component of UNESCO.

He said cross border language is the beginning of a bigger collaboration; hence he described the forum as very timely.

Author: Fatou Cham