By Yankuba Jallow
The Crab Island Technical and Vocational Education Training Centre on Monday held a posthumous honour of former heads of Crab Island Secondary School (1958 – 1998) at their centre in Banjul.
The initiative according to Ousman Sillah, a former lawmaker and the chairperson of the Board of Trustees and Administration of the Centre, was meant to remember and honour the pantheon of educationists who headed the ultra-modern Crab Island Secondary School within a span of four decades.
Crab Island TVET with a current enrollment of 175 trainees as the first cohort, are all on scholarship and receiving stipends/transport allowances. The trainees are undergoing Certificate Level One in seven-course areas namely – Electrical Installation, Solar Installation, Satellite Installation, Hairdressing, Tailoring, Plumbing and Building Construction.
“The history and glory of Crab Island School is inconceivable without the positive role played by these personalities as the heads managing the affairs and students of this educational institution from 1958 to 1998,” he said.
He said the Board of Trustees revived and transformed the school into a technical and vocational centre. He added that the Board is resolved the legacy of their former heads of school.
The former head teachers who were immortalized were – Mr Arthur Cates, Alhaji Matarr Sillah (Master), Charles G. Dixon, Alhaji A.E.W.F. Kama Badjie, Mr James Abraham, Mr Kekoto Manneh, Mrs Awa Jow Auber and Mr Pa Ebrima O. Faal.
Sillah said some societies recognize and show appreciation of the good deeds of their forebearers and ancestors by naming edifices and spaces after them by way of immortalsing their memory. He added that it is unfortunate that the Gambian society is yet to fully embrace such a culture of acknowledgment of those who invariably rendered to society selfless services that had transformed lives.
“There are many personalities, both alive and departed, who we should celebrate as our heroes for having dedicated their entire lives in trying to make a difference in the lives of others such as veteran teachers/educationists, medical, social and cultural workers, sportspersons, and the list goes on,” he said.
Honourable Sillah said the School had over half a century churned out a multitude of students who occupy positions of responsibility at all levels in the society.
“This is all thanks to the efforts and tutelage of this crop of indefatigable and passionate heads and teachers,” he said.
Sillah said it is their hope that the modest move will signal a departure from this laissez faire attitude or nonchalance towards the past and thus set the pace for our society to start embracing the culture of honouring people who deserve honour.
“The Gambia, as a country, and Gambians, as a people, should start the process of serious reflection in revisiting its past with a view to identifying deserving compatriots in a bid to recognize their selfish services to society,” he said.
Honourable Sillah, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees said as part of the drive to maintain the legacy of the former Crab Island Secondary School in Banjul, the Board of Trustees and Administration of the newly revived and transformed Crab Island Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Centre X
The named classrooms and blocks after these renowned school heads in a bid to preserve their memory as well as acknowledge the service they rendered in helping to mold the multitude of students/alumini who passed through Crab Island School.
Matarr John, the director of Crab Island TVET said the Centre is almost at the tail end of effective training and in couple of weeks, the trainees will be place on attachment.
Mr John said the Centre is servicing three categories of trainees. One category are those wishing to have knowledge and acquire skills and seek for direct employment, another category are those wishing to learn and acquire skills and become self-employed. The third category is those wishing to gather knowledge and acquire skills and hope to pursue higher education in their chosen skill area of study.
He said they are anticipating the commissioning of the second phase soon.
“As part of our concept, the centre will be used to accommodate junior and senior secondary school students within Banjul area pursuing technical courses for their practical works,” he said.
He said this in line with the government’s policy in the reintroduction and reinforcement of technical and skills education in the Gambia and the Centre is already identified to serve that purpose.
Other speakers included family members of the former heads of school, Dr Adama Sallah (former head boy of the School and now a medical doctor) and Mr Hassoum Ceesay, Director of the National Council for Arts and Culture among others.