Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Minister of National Education of Senegal, Serigne Mbaye THIAM, following an instruction of His Excellency Mr. Macky SALL, President of the Republic, following the Senegalese-Gambian Presidential Council held in Banjul in March 2018, paid a working visit to Senegal’s schools and high school in The Gambia. He was accompanied by a strong delegation of directors and heads of the Ministry of National Education (MEN), Kaolack Academy Inspector (IA) and collaborators as well as inspectors of Education and Training. Training Center (IEF) of said academy and journalists.

At the beginning, the Minister chaired the AI of Kaolack, on the morning of June 21st, an orientation meeting which allowed to share the report of the 2nd academic mission of follow-up and supervision of the schools and the Senegalese High School in The Gambia, the technical report and the draft action plan designed for this purpose to improve their functioning.

On their arrival at the Banjul Terminal, at 16:30, the ministerial delegation was welcomed by His Excellency Pr Saliou NDIAYE, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, High Commissioner of Senegal in The Gambia, in the presence of the Mayor of Banjul, the Directors schools, the principal of the school, the President of the Senegalese colony living in The Gambia, representatives of Parents’ Associations (APE), teachers, students and the local press among others.

After this warm welcome, the ministerial delegation visited the Tobacco Road School where, in particular, the condition of the infrastructures was noted. He then received in audience, at the Coco Ocean Hotel, the representatives of the Senegalese colony of Gambia, the student representatives, the permanent teachers’ collective, the temporary teachers, the school directors and the principal of the school. Two memoranda provided to the Minister by the members of the administration and the teachers respectively.

On the day of Friday, June 22, 2018, the Ministerial delegation paid a guided visit to the High Commission of Senegal in The Gambia located in Kanifing under the leadership of His Excellency the Ambassador of Senegal. Subsequently, she visited, respectively, the nursery school, the elementary school and the high school that make up the Senegalese school complex in Kanifing, in the presence of the Ambassador, who was also at his side, that of the Republic of Mauritania, and the Consul of the Republic of Guinea in The Gambia. The Minister had discussions with students, teachers, the Association of Mothers of Students (AME) and members of the administration who expressed their joy and gratitude.

The morning program was closed by the official ceremony held in Kanifing High School in the presence of the representative of the Mayor of the city. Following the declamation of the national anthems of Senegal and The Gambia by the Gambian army fanfare, the various speakers who preceded the Minister of National Education, warmly thanked His Excellency Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal, the Minister of National Education, Mr Serigne Mbaye THIAM for their actions towards Senegalese schools and high school in The Gambia. In this respect, they have magnified, to their true value, this important visit which, according to them, constitutes a confirmation of the Government’s commitment and a glimmer of hope. They sent a special mention to Kaolack Academy Inspector, Mrs. Khadidiatou DIALLO, who since taking office has taken over the management of schools and high school. An ethnic parade of students gave an idea of the pan-African and even international character of this school network, which is attended by several African nationalities and French pupils.

It should be noted that, from the various speeches and hearings, the actors mentioned the following problems and grievances:

• the dilapidated state of school infrastructure, particularly at the Tobacco Road School, the need for their rehabilitation and the construction of new school premises;

• Overcrowding at Kanifing and transportation difficulties for students from other localities in The Gambia;

• The legal status of schools and high schools, as well as that of teachers to be considered in the image of the existing public in Senegal;

• The abolition of school fees paid by parents of Senegalese students;

• the use of temporary workers from surrounding Senegalese areas of The Gambia, which is responsible for the cumbersome schedules, the pace of schooling and the lack of supervision by students, thus hindering their participation in the competitions;

• The lack of equipment (educational, computer and scientific) and furniture;

• Management of health and social security issues.

After having symbolically handed over the material to the directors and the headmaster, the Minister, in his address, conveyed the greetings of the President of the Republic and the Senegalese Government to Mr. Adama BARROW, President of the Republic of The Gambia, while welcoming the good relations between the two countries. He also thanked the different nationalities who trusted in Senegal by enrolling their children in these schools and institutions that are an extension of Senegal’s diplomatic representation in The Gambia. Recalling the Senegalese-Gambian Presidential Council of March 2018, the Minister informed that this visit materializes an instruction of the President of the Republic following his meeting with the Senegalese colony established in The Gambia. Responding to the grievances, he argued that the Government of Senegal’s option is to provide public status to schools and high schools; which status will contribute to the resolution of other derivatives. In this perspective, he announced that an action plan will be developed following the mission and submitted to the Government of Senegal. However, the implementation of certain solutions will have to follow the relevant procedures and will be conducted in cooperation with the Government of the Gambia.

In the afternoon, the Minister of National Education, accompanied by His Excellency the Ambassador of Senegal, performed the Friday prayer at the Banjul Grand Mosque where the Imam welcomed his visit and much prayed for the future of the two brother countries.

An exchange meeting at the Atlantic Hotel between the two ministers in charge of education in Senegal and The Gambia, accompanied by their respective collaborators, put an end to this rich working visit at 4:45 pm a better tomorrow for schools and Senegalese high school in Gambian territory.

Satisfied, the Ambassador and the entire colony of Senegal in The Gambia accompanied the ministerial delegation to the Banjul Terminal.

 The Head of the Monitoring Office of MEN

Banjul, June 22, 2018