Wednesday, August 5, 2020

What should government do to address the inability of some Gambia College students to pay fees?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Parents from the farming community are moving helter-skelter in search of financial assistance to have their children sustained at the college to undertake their teacher training courses. They simply cannot understand the policy. According to section 30 of the Constitution,

All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view to achieving the full realisation of that right –

(a)    basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all;

(b)    secondary education, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available  and accessible  to  all  by  every  appropriate  means,  and  in  particular,  by  the progressive introduction of free education;

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(c)    higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by progressive introduction of free education; ….”

If education is to be free, then there must be enough teachers, classrooms and learning material to ensure relevant and quality education. Both Ministries of education should compare notes on the qualified teacher-student ratio to determine whether they have a shortage or saturation of qualified teachers. If there is a shortage then the policy must be revisited to ensure that  government assumes its constitutional mandate of guaranteeing free education by training the teachers out of public expense.

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