Another lucky 50
Friday, June 13, 2008
Another lucky batch of 50 students is on its way out of the country, their mission being in pursuit of further education. Quite a record number!
All courtesy of a rather aggressively education-oriented Gambia government, a government that has managed to bring home the true meaning of the familiar catchphrase that "for education, the sky is the limit." Presumably we can all remember whose favorite saying this is. President Jammeh, of course! The record number of Gambians attaining higher education is a solid proof so far that this government would never relent, not even for a moment, in fascinating Gambians with it desire to meet its demand.
When a young Lt. Yahya Jammeh assumed the mantle of leadership of this country, Gambians had been literary starving of certain key needs. Among them was education. The rather low level of awareness that was prevailing was obviously tied to the insignificant level of education the few people among us were privileged to access. Famous sayings like: "for education, the sky is the limit," were as common as the phrases: "accountability, transparency." All these phrases were inspired by the devastating chronic level of corruption that almost wrecked the fabric of our nation.
The would be global icon, Lt. Jammeh, who later rose to the position of a colonel, and now, Alhajie Dr Yahya Jammeh, never fell short of his reassuring tendencies, as to how far he wanted to take this country.
Actually, with education, the president had since held on to the view that there was no way we could make any meaningful development stride, if we did not give the people that literary armament they needed. And today, the result of that long and painful effort of a man who was destined for the deliverance of generations of a proud people has come to fruition. It is not only that Gambians are trained at home at tertiary level, which would have been a distant dream some 14 years ago, but, today, an even larger number of Gambians have access to higher education than we would have thought of the same number of year ago.
Aware of the need for education (an education of course that would not help tighten the shackle of colonialism on the throat of the people), and given its strong stance on fulfilling its commitment to the subsequent generations of Gambians, in all its dealings with its development partners, the government of The Gambia seeks to pursue mutual relationships that would benefit the nation as a whole, rather than a few individuals, as it had been the case before the divine intervention, as it were.
When young Gambians are educated, it is the entire nation that stands to benefit. Imagine, for instance, if the latest batch of 50 lucky students completes their studies in Malasia, at least half of them would be sure to return home. Their input here will be sure of taking the country some steps forward. And the other fraction that might for some reason decide against coming will surely be serving the rest of humanity. And this is inline with our cherished Gambian dream, where Gambia will serve as a superpower of hope for the rest of humanity.
However, a word of caution will be fitting for these lucky 50. Indeed, the words of the homely SoS Crispin Grey-Johnson, says it all: "the development of a country depends on the quantity of its human resources." In fact, we mentioned that on this very same page, a couple of days ago. Nonetheless, we assume that the higher education SoS was speaking to a group of mature students who are true to the ideals of their nation, who would not let the hopes of this country down.
To them we say, you are just about taking ambassadorial positions for your country in a foreign land. You are certainly aware of the fact that a mission is being bestowed on you; a mission that requires a reciprocal response; a response not in the form of words, but in the form of deeds and actions, which would benefit the entire country. Go! Study, and come back home. Your country needs you just like a newly industrialized nation needs energy to progress.