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Violence against children still persists, says NAPSA chairman

Sep 30, 2013, 10:41 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Jarga E. Gaye, chairman of the National Patriotic Students Association (NAPSA), has said violence against children still persists in The Gambia’s institutions of learning, particularly among girls.

He cited incidents of teachers impregnating students, saying three students in the middle of this year were impregnated by teachers at the Upper River Region.

He made this statement while delivering his speech at the opening of a one-day symposium organised by NAPSA in collaboration with the National Youth and Child Advisory Board held on Thursday at the regional education directorate region one.

According to the chairman, such acts constitute a gruesome degree of professional misconduct by teachers, who should serve as role models.

“In a bid to achieving our desired results to the course of students’ welfare, we must consolidate our legal documents with social change,” he said. “We must move from the ideals of lip service in guarding the welfare of students and children to acting benevolently,” he stated.

The NAPSA chairman said that since children are the future leaders, they should be protected from all forms of abuse to guarantee their future and that of the country. Giving them correct education and good moral behaviour as well as respecting their rights should be the treaded path for progress, he says.

For her part, Mariama Chow Jawara, senior Education Officer, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, said the theme for this year’s symposium: Ending violence against children, moving rhetoric to action, is another testimony that NAPSA are executing their role as a student body, by being in the services of students and nation building.

“The government through the ministry is making all efforts to be at par with the rest of the world in terms of developing the education system and meeting our commitment in education,” she said.

Haruna Badjie, social worker, Department of Social Welfare, who spoke on behalf of the director of Social Welfare, said his department is mandated to look into issues of child protection in The Gambia alongside key stakeholders in child protection system.

He condemns the use of physical or corporal punishment to discipline children in school and recommends alternative methods that enhance children capacities to develop and behave well.

Speakers on the occasion included Ensa Sowe who gave brief remarks on Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) child protection policies, saying the GTU is obliged in accordance with practice and the principles enshrined in the constitution and by-laws of the organization, to observe and maintain sound codes of professional ethnics and conduct.