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A good tiding

Aug 19, 2015, 9:29 AM

The just released results of the Gambia Basic Education Certificate Examinations have shown improved performance of students compared to that of the previous year.

A total of 25 candidates scored aggregate 6, an increase of 14.Really, all the schools deserved a hearty congrats but a special kudos goes to Gambia Methodist Academy, for 7 of the 25 top students all come from that school.

That is really not surprising because a keen look at the results of the basic education examinations over the recent years reveals that the school has always been dominating the top spots year in year out.Thumps up to Methodist!

Further discerning the 2015 results, out of a total of 22,430 students who entered in the examination, 10,938 are male and 11,492 female.This is an attestation that The Gambia has indeed surpassed the Millennium Development Goal 3 which targeted gender parity in primary and lower secondary schools.

Girls are not only increasing in quantity but they are also increasing in substance.All, except one, of those who scored A1 in the exams are girls.This shows that with the right policies, as put in place by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, girls can perform equally better and even much better than boys.

However, girls’ education continues to face deeper underlying socio-cultural practices that transcend access to school.We would not dwell on that for now.

As we are happy about the performance of our children, we must not forget that they were prepared by teachers for the exams.There is a direct correlation between the performance of a student and the preparation, or the teachings if you like, he/she receives in the classroom.

Therefore, teachers deserve a pat on the back for also doing their utmost for the students to produce such splendid results.

In that regard, one must be concerned that the rate of teacher attrition in upper basic schools in The Gambia is “accelerating annually”, according to a research finding.

Such a development is a cause for concern as the country needs teachers to prepare our children and people, and by extension the future of our nation.

There is no magic formula to keep teachers in the profession; pay them commensurably and create the conducive environment by motivating them.

Otherwise, not only will they leave but even before leaving they would not perform to their utmost – why going the extra mile if the money does not worth it and no other motivation.

The government is really trying to keep teachers as comfortable as possible in the face of meagre resources and too many priorities but a lot more need to be done for the teachers.

Maybe a leaf or two need to be borrowed from Methodist Academy.If the school had only produced best grades once, then it would have been said to be by chance.But twice, thrice or even more, then it is by design.

But this cannot happen when their teachers are not well taken care of.We need to learn to reward teachers equitably and motivate them accordingly.

This needs to be done and needs to be done now otherwise we are going to feel the pinch in the not-too-distant-future.It would reflect in the students’ performance.

Once again, congrats to the students for measuring up to expectations; congrats to the teachers for preparing the students, and hearty congrats to the Ministry of Basic Education for putting in place the right policies for education to flourish in The Gambia.

“The best way to handle exams and interview tension is to be well prepared. Study well.”

Terry Mark