The day’s bantaba held at the Ministry in Banjul, attracted school heads, teachers, students and regional representatives among others.
It could be recalled that the Ministry announced on Tuesday that schools will reopen for grades 7 to 12 from 14th October, 2020 and 28th October for 0ne-six graders and those in Early Childhood Development Schools.
Claudiana Cole, the Minister of Basic Education and Secondary Education, said the stakeholder dialogue is designed to discuss important matters relating to education especially amid this trying period of the covid-19 pandemic.
“There has been no formal face-to-face teaching in the classrooms for seven months”, she said, while applauding teachers, who were involved in the distance learning program.
Minister Cole described those dedicated teachers as heroes of MOBSE, as they were out for months preparing the lessons when people were hiding in their homes.
The Basic and Secondary Education minister acknowledged with delight the responsibility that government is carrying in educating young people, saying government spends a staggering D777M a year for seven hundred and forty thousand children.
“As schools set to open we are expecting a lot from not only teachers, but from parents as well. Parents must support their children more than ever before because these are critical times. What we used to have as normal schooling will not be the same anymore because we are going to use different strategies to make sure that we provide education for the children when they go back to school,” she stated.
Minister Cole hinted that they are going to have extended school days from Mondays to Saturdays.
Louis Moses Mendy, permanent secretary at MOBSE, thanked parents for the support they have been giving to the children and the teachers as well for their efforts during these times.
He however, encouraged them to heighten their commitment so they can continue to provide and deliver lessons to the students.
PS Mendy equally challenged staffs of the Ministry and parents to continue to invest in education, saying the cost of educating a child in The Gambia is about D350 for three months, D700 for six months and about D1050 for nine months.
Alhagie B. Sama, the interim chairman of GTU Young Teachers Platform, said teachers have been engaged in series of activities to ensure that the students are not affected by the corona virus.
However, Sama called on the Ministry to do early payment of salaries, provision of transportation for the teachers and fumigation of schools before resumption.
Hannah Harding, principal of Gambia Methodist Academy and a member of private school associations, highlighted some of the financial challenges private schools encounter such as rent, fees, payment of teachers among others.
She expressed optimism that the Ministry will render support as private schools are doing well to support public schools.
Yeabu Fofana, a student of St. George’s Technical Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in URR, urged parents to create time for students to be able to study at home, reminding her fellow students to always adhere to the safety precautionary measures to keep themselves and others around them safe.