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Jammeh promises free basic education in 2015

Oct 13, 2014, 9:16 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

President Yahya Jammeh has promised that by September 2015, his government would remove all school levies to ensure any child born in The Gambia is assured of basic education, as provided for in the 1997 Constitution.

Secondary education would also be accessible to all, the President said on Friday at the Independence Stadium in Bakau while delivering his statement on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the July 22nd Revolution.

As a result of his government’s all-inclusive education policies, the largest number of today’s youth who have successfully completed basic and secondary education came from families that would not have been able to afford the cost of keeping their children in school up to the level of senior secondary education, he said.

“During the British colonial misrule or the puppet British Empire-worshipping First Republic – 1965-1994, education received nothing but lip service,” President Jammeh added.

He urged all students to continue to pursue their education with utmost seriousness and a keen sense of responsibility so they could fulfill their own individual dreams and contribute to the attainment of the national objectives of ensuring sustainable and equitable national development.

“As future leaders, you have to imbibe a culture of worshipping and depending only on Almighty Allah, and the virtues of honesty, discipline, hard work, respect for your parents and teachers, as well as the laws of the Motherland,” he told students.

On the part of the Government, he added, they would continue to set the highest standards for quality, discipline, honesty and performance for both teachers and students.

His government will continue to create enormous opportunities for students’ education so that they are equipped to become useful and productive members of society in future, he said.

At the dawn of the July 22nd revolution, 20 years ago, when his government made the pronouncement that “for education, the sky is the limit”, it was considered a tall order by many skeptics, President Jammeh recalled, thanking Allah that 20 years on, he stood with great pride and profound gratitude because the “grand undertaking to modernize and develop our educational services has been fulfilled for all to see.”

From July 1994 to date, his government had more than doubled the number of schools at all levels, resulting in more than three times the total number of children who had access to schooling; thus they had every reason to be grateful to the Almighty Allah and to celebrate the great achievements of his government and the country, he said.

“We went through trials and tribulations, we faced treachery and cynics and deadly stooges along the way but we conquered all these obstacles because we entrust our entire existence and destiny to the Almighty Allah.”

He urged all Gambians and non-Gambians residing in the country to stand firm and play their part in national development.

“We must jealously guard against destructive vices and satanic behaviour such as drug abuse, homosexual, dishonesty, parasitic dependence on others amongst others,” Jammeh said.

“If not we will not only compromise our own future, but be an obstacle to the rapid development of the country, which depends entirely on us as future leaders, scientists, doctors, parents and artists.

“We have to look forward to the future with greater optimism for as long as we continue to depend and worship only the Almighty Allah,” he said, adding that The Gambia would always remain on the right footing towards greatness.

President Jammeh described the celebration of the 20th anniversary as 20 years of “glorious Revolution” that started on 22nd July 1994.

He took time to express his profound gratitude and sincere appreciation to the heads of state who witnessed the celebrations, describing them as “our true friends”, his brothers and colleagues.

He was deeply honoured and delighted to welcome them in The Gambia, he said, adding that their presence was a testimony to the strong bonds of fraternity and friendship between their people and Gambians.

As part of the 20th anniversarycommemoration, on Saturday 11 October 2014, the Babili Mansa Monument along the Bertil Harding Highway at the Traffic Lights was inaugurated and the Banjul-Serrekunda Highway was renamed Franklin D. Roosevelt Highway.

The Stink Corner to Bakau Trust Bank junction was renamed Winnie Mandela Highway. The University of The Gambia’s Faculty of Law Academic Building and School of Journalism and Digital Media were also inaugurated at MDI Road later in the day.

On Sunday 12 October 2014, the new National Assembly Building in Banjul was inaugurated and later in the day the Independence Drive Monument in Banjul was also inaugurated.