The initiative is designed to bring to the fore hidden and raw talents among school-going children in both junior and senior category.
The event for UBS and SSS in Region 1 kicked-off last Friday, 20th May 2022 and the final of the competition is slated for 24th June 2022, at Ebujan Theatre.
Participating senior secondary schools included Gambia SSS (drama/poetry – child early and forced marriage); St Augustine (drama/poetry – culture and society); St Joseph’s (drama/poetry –unsafe abortion); ABC (drama/poetry); Gambia Methodist Academy (drama/poetry – peer influence); Bakoteh (drama/poetry – school dropout); Glory Baptist (drama/poetry – rape); Nusrat (drama/poetry – values and attitude) and Kanifing East (drama/poetry – sexual Behavior and attitude).
However, in what was seen as a well contested semi-finals for the Upper Basic and Senior Secondary Schools, five senior secondary schools and five upper basic schools qualified to the final.
Semi-finals for the Senior Secondary Schools category had Nusrat Secondary School emerge as winner followed by Gambia Methodist Academy and Gambia Senior Secondary School came third, with St Augustine’s and ABC Senior Secondary Schools securing fourth and fifth positions respectively.
New Covenant Upper Basic School secured first position in the UBS category, followed by St Augustine’s; Latrikunda Sabiji Upper Basic – settled at third and Kanifing East Upper Basic and Bakoteh Upper Basic Schools grabbed fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Addressing teachers and students on behalf of the director of Curriculum Research, Evaluation and Development Directorate (CREDD) under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Mrs Kaddijatou Jobarteh described Comprehensive Health Education (CHE) as a burning issue of the day.
She observed that discussing the issue with parents and children in society is termed a taboo, but quickly noted that the drama/poetry competition performance by the students would send a clear message regarding the importance attached to the issue.
The ongoing drama/poetry competition, she added, is sending out positive and educative messages to the public as it creates awareness taking into consideration different areas/topics on which the students and schools based their performances.
“Since they are school going children we discourage and emphasise the dangerous of early sexual activities among students, especially for those that may be sexually active but for lower graders, we emphasis on abstinence from sex and sexual activities.” she explained.
She informed that CHE programme is committed to strengthening comprehensive health/sex education in the school curriculum, noting that most of the topics are embedded in most of the teaching and learning activities.
Similarly, Madam Phebian Ina Grant-Sagnia, principal Investigator for Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education for in-and-out of School Adolescents in The Gambia, expressed delight with the performance of students so far.
“Through the competition, we are creating awareness and spreading the messages because we believe that knowledge is power. Some understand based on practical because lots of them got to understand more of the campaigns now through this competition.” she confirmed.
She added that 24 schools from both UBS and SSS, from Banjul to Abuko, are currently taking part in the competition and “ten schools; five from UBS and SSS each, made it to final. In the final stage the overall Best Male and Female Actor/Actress from different levels would be selected, too.”
Banna Jatta, a resident of Latrikunda Sabiji and member of the Community Based Committees (CBC), commended the participating schools and students for their brilliant performances, saying from the first to elimination stages they all did well in their different chosen topics of the CHE.
The Comprehensive Health Education Interschool Drama/Poetry Competition is organised by the Comprehensive Health Education Team of the Curriculum Research, Evaluation and Development Directorate (CREDD) of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) in partnership with the International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada.