Students Call on Government to Fulfil Teachers’ Demands 

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By Nelson Manneh

Students have called on the government of the Gambia to fulfil teachers’ demands in order to promote meaningful and effective learning in schools.

The call was made by some students when this reporter visited some schools within the Kanifing Municipality on Monday 9th January 2023.

Alieu Jobe the president of Basic and Secondary Schools Association said his leadership met the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) on Friday 6th January 2023, to discuss issues regarding the ongoing sit-down strike, and said they were served with the list of nine demands made by the teachers, to the government.

“We went through their demands and realised that all they were all genuine,” he said. The student leader said the GTU called on the government to address their needs a long time ago but it took the authorities months before they responded to them and that is why they deem it necessary to embark on a strike.

“The GTU told us that they always put their demands to the government but they will not respond to them. We put it to the GTU that as students, we stand in solidarity with our fellow students and for them (GTU) to know our education suffers as we stay at home,” he said; that they express the challenges that students go through whenever there are strikes and how it affects their performance in class.

“Last year, teachers embarked on a strike in February demanding for their unpaid COVID-19 allowances from the government,” he said. The students’ leader said this particular strike affected the performance of the students to the extent that out of twenty-seven thousand students who sat for the WAEC examination, only thirteen thousand passed and the rest failed.

“Teacher can only deliver to their expectations if they are satisfied with what they take home. But if they are forced to go back to school without satisfying their demands, they will not deliver effectively,” he said. He said the students will urge the government to consider them by making the education sector more attractive so that young people with energy can join the trade.

“We believe that the government will listen to us as we are losing contact hours in our lessons, and will continue to engage the authorities to ensure the matter is solved,” he said.