By Nelson Manneh
The Gambia’s Teachers Union in partnership with the Namie Foundation and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Monday launched the National Teachers Award, in recognition of and to celebrate the work of teachers and educators in national development.
During the launching ceremony yesterday, Monday 25 September stakeholders unveiled their plans in line with the set objectives of recognising the work of outstanding teachers who have distinguished themselves in serving the profession, through the challenges they came across.
Alasana Suso the chairman of the Namie Foundation said the award is designed to recognise the efforts of teachers within the country, and said the award will be in the form of motivating teachers and attracting others to join the field.
Mr Suso, who won the 2019 Teachers Award in the United States as a Gambian teacher in that country, said awarding teachers for their hard work is a milestone in inspiring them to stay in the teaching field and that it can also encourage others to join in.
“The award will not only give recognition to teachers nationally, but it will also pave the way for them to participate internationally in the ‘African Teachers Award’ where Gambian teachers are not taking part in,” he said. He said the main objective of the Namie Foundation is to uplift the teaching profession; ensure that vulnerable groups access education and also ensure that there is high-quality professional learning in the country.
Lamin Jarju, a member of the award committee, said they have put in place some measures for teachers to mirror themselves with before applying for the award.
“We have committees at the regional level because we want it to be inclusive, and all the seven regions will have their own regional committee. The regional committees will do the selection at the regional level and those selected will be awarded fifty thousand dalasi (D50,000.00) each. The nominated ones at the regional level will then proceed to the national stage where one of them will become the winner and will be given another fifty thousand dalasi as a prize,” he said. Jarju continued that they want to reach out to all teachers across the country.
“If you taught for two years, you are qualified to apply. The forms will be made available on our website, and those who are interested, can download the forms and apply both online and offline,” Jarju said.
Essa Sowe, the Deputy Secretary General of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), said the most important element of any institution is its human resource, and said when it comes to education, the resources are the teachers.
“This award activity will motivate teachers to stay and it will also attract students to join the system,” Sowe said and concludes that the efforts of teachers need to be recognised at all levels.