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Rotary Club of Banjul gives more than 40,000 books to schools across Gambia

Oct 13, 2015, 10:11 AM

The Rotary Club of Banjul has lived true to its theme for the year: “Be a Gift to The World”, by donating more than 40,000 books to schools across the country.

The material, which included mainly brand new and up-to-date Maths, Science, and English Language textbooks for nursery, primary, secondary and vocational schools, were displayed and presented at the Rotary Science Laboratory Complex in Kanifing, to mark Rotary’s Basic Education and Literacy Month.

According to Rotarians of Rotary Club of Banjul, the presentation of the books to schools was originally planned to take place in September, which Rotary International designates as Basic Education and Literacy Month, save for the sorting out of the 40,000 plus books into different subjects, grades and levels.

The United Nations had chosen September 8 to commemorate International Literacy and Sustainable Development, to remind the international community that literacy is one of the key elements needed to promote sustainable development, as it provides individuals with the means to make good decisions in the fields of economic growth, social development and environmental integration.

The books were a donation by US and Canadian citizens to aid literacy efforts in The Gambia, said Rotary Club of Banjul president, Rotarian Fatou Bah.

“The Rotary Club of Banjul received them through the Rotary Books for the World and the Second Wind Foundation for distribution to schools and other beneficiaries,” she said.

“Our overseas partners acquired, packed and shipped the consignment through personal efforts of individual Rotarians and other benefactors at great financial cost; all in the spirit of the Rotary mission to provide service to others to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace.”

The consignment was made up of mainly Science, Mathematics and English Language books “appropriate for the different grades” of the pre-tertiary levels of the country’s Education system; that is nursery, lower and upper basic and senior secondary schools.

Some of the series come with teaching guides for instructors, according to Ms Bah. There “are also significant quantities of reference books, novels and general-interest reading, which even students in tertiary institutions “can find very useful” she added.

“The book project was taken up by the Rotary Club of Banjul because of our conviction that there is the need to fill a textbook-supply gap in the school system, especially in public schools,” the Rotarian president continued.

“We believe that because of the nature of the three main subjects involved - Science, Maths and English - the contents of these books are very relevant and useful in our schools.”

All that the rotary club needs is resourcefulness on the part of the teachers, whose schools are beneficiaries of the invaluable donation.

While expressing her belief in the resourcefulness of Gambian teachers, Rotarian Fatou Bah said the books will be given out in lots of 30, 40 or 70 books per subject per school, depending on the class size, so as to ensure that each child in a particular class that is using the book will have one for their use.

“I recommend these books to all teachers, and we in Rotary hope that they will be fully utilised and also properly handled,” she said, adding: “As beneficiaries, schools are required to give us a feedback on the extent of the usefulness of the books in their teaching and learning process.”

In his opening remarks on the occasion, Rotary Club of Banjul Assistant Governor, Safiyoung Manneh, said Rotary Club of Banjul - District 9101, the Second Wind Foundation and Rotary Club of Kenosha District 5030, did agree to go into partnership to provide the books for donation to schools in The Gambia.

Mr Manneh said Rotary movement is rooted in vocational service, the second avenue of rotary, which hinges on accepting and promoting high ethical standards in all professional relationship with other persons; recognising the value and dignity of every profession, and considering the profession of every Rotarian as a vehicle for action in the service of society in general.

He said Rotary International’s theme for this year is: “BE A GIFT TO THE WORLD”.

“We thought there could not be a better way to take up this challenge, than to provide our schools with learning materials, like Maths, English and service books to all the schools across the country, which if properly utilised could bring about worldwide result,” he said.

In his remarks on the occasion, Education Department’s Director of Curriculum, Dr Burama Jammeh, said the arrival of the books was timely, as the education sector has developed a new education policy to cover 2016 through 2030 to succeed the current national education policy, 2004 – 2015.

“The Gambia has achieved so much in terms of education,” he said, adding that the books by Rotary Club of Banjul “are quality enough” to meet the needs of students of the new education policy to be implemented.

The Education Ministry “is so much impressed with the quality of the books”, Dr Jammeh said.

He advised schools to catalogue the materials in their libraries and encourage students to read and utilize them. For those without libraries, he appealed to them to set up school library, and encourage lending and borrowing of books.

He thanked the sponsors, Rotary Club of Banjul, and all those who participated in the endeavor.

Mr Jammeh promised that the Education ministry “will monitor and evaluate the usefulness of the books”.