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Phil Morgan School clocks one, proprietor thumbs up govt’s effort

Feb 2, 2012, 12:31 PM | Article By: Ahmed Carayol

Mr Phil Morgan, proprietor and founder of the Phil Morgan Nursery School in Jarjari, Illiasa District, North Bank Region, has expressed his profound gratitude and appreciation to the Gambia Government for upgrading the school to a Lower Basic School, only six months after its inauguration, and for providing the services of a head teacher and two other teachers.

Mr Morgan, who are on a short working visit to the school ahead of the first anniversary on February 10, said his first impression was that the students do their work without the supervision of teachers as he witnessed it while attending a staff meeting in the school.

“This is very important and impressive,” he said, adding: “The students are better organised than students in the UK.”

On the first anniversary, he did change the name of the school to Morgan Clark School, Jarjari, adding that the school will be fenced to keep the students in one place for them to know they are in a school.

With the fence in place, fundraising activities will be organised to complement the efforts of Morgan Clark Foundation and the government. New uniforms, he said, will also be distributed to the students in the school as part of the anniversary celebrations and maintenance work will also be carried out.

He said he hopes the government will build more classrooms, as children from surrounding villages and even Kerr Samba Kuta in Senegal are seeking admission at the school.

The original idea, he said, was a four classroom block to accommodate 40 students each, totalling 160. Now the school, he said, has 230 students, and the 73 children in the nursery are now being housed in the school’s Bantaba.

Contacts have been made with students in the UK, who are raising funds for the school and have even sent teaching aids and educational materials to the school, he also disclosed, saying these schools will soon be twinned for students in both countries to know each other.

He said that on his return to the UK, photos of the students will be posted on their website for sponsors to assist them with uniforms and educational materials. People in the UK are enthusiastic about the support project, where communities in the UK will help communities in The Gambia, especially young children. ‘This is only what I need and want from the project,” he added.

He was extremely happy to know that 20 women were trained at the school on soap making and tie and dye. This is encouraging, as the school can also be used as an adult skills training centre, he said.

Mr Morgan ended the interview with his mission statement: “Morgan Clark School should not be a model only for The Gambia and Africa, but a model for the world, and with the effort of all stakeholders, including the parents the project will succeed.”

He recalled how the project started in December 2009, during a fishing trip with Bakary Jammeh, who is a native of the village.

He explained the plight of the villagers saying the only mud built school was washed away during one of the raining seasons.

The project manager, Bakary Jammeh, thanked Morgan Clark Foundation and the Morgan family for fulfilling the wish of the villagers, who did not even think such a project would be accomplished in their village.

He also thanked the Gambia Government for upgrading the school to a lower basic school, which is an encouragement to them, adding that it is now left with the parents to come together to complement the efforts of the government and Morgan Clark Foundation.

Mr Jammeh also thanked sponsors in the UK, especially Morgan Clark Limited, children of Mr and Mrs Morgan for the good work they have done and are still doing.

Special thanks were also extended to Julie and her husband. He acknowledged the efforts of the Governor of North Bank Region, Regional Director of Education and Chief Jammeh of Illiasa, saying to them: “Abaraka” meaning thank you.

Jammeh added: “Special thanks also to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, Hon. Edward Gomez, for his useful advice during the construction of the school.”