GTU starts extramural courses
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), last Thursday, began its annual summer extramural courses for teachers, in three different centres, Kanifing, Brikama and Jarra Soma with support from the Irish National Teachers Organisation.
Speaking at the opening, Mrs Antoinette Corr-Jack, general secretary, GTU, said that the leadership of the Gambia Teachers' Union (GTU) has a firm grip and is focused on the challenges, vision and mission that are the cornerstone that formed the building blocks of the union. To this end, she said, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the GTU has formulated a strategic plan that maps out the way forward towards achieving the union's goals, with sustainable advantages to build and enhance the capacities of its members in responding appropriately to the opportunities, weaknesses and threats within its development agenda.
According to her, as a major stakeholder in education, the GTU is sensitive to the growing concern over the poor performance level of students, which is the ripple effect of the low performance of teachers."Therefore, important inputs for quality delivery such as teacher preparedness, performance, and effective school curricula management will be harnessed to the maximum effect to raise the standard of education in the lower basic cycle," she stated in a decisive tone.
Mrs Jack disclosed that the leadership is cognisant of the implications and consequences of the low professional and academic standards of some of its members, particularly the unqualified teachers, hence the union's engagement in capacity building for its members through pre and in-service training.
According to her, the objective of the summer extramural classes is to upgrade the academic and professional standing of teachers, improve the quality of education delivery, creating sustainable opportunities for teachers to access higher education, expose participants on GTU and current affairs.
She further pointed out that, the summer extramural classes program is in three stages, first, second and third years. The third year students she said, are encouraged to enter for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE). This exam is a basic requirement and can enable the participants meet the minimum requirement for entry into the Gambia College or pursue the higher teachers certificate (HTC) and it is important to note that in 2007, 26 participants successfully completed their third years and were certified.
"We should also remember that it is through unity of purpose and action that we have come thus far, therefore, the challenge now is how to keep the flock together. and it is my fervent hope that the students and tutors will stand up to the challenges ahead" she concluded.
For his part, Mr Essa Sowe, deputy general secretary, GTU, said that, this is the 8th edition and they started decentralising in 2006 and the programme brought together 500 teachers from various schools. He added that, the classes are divided into four categories, namely. the Islamic Arabic teachers, unqualified teachers, teachers with PTC and teachers whose mastery level has increased.
Mr Sowe appealed to the participants to give management and course facilitators all the support they needed for a proper conduct of the scheme. He added that the union has a long standing history of very qualitative products of seasoned teachers who are presently managing the affairs of education. Therefore, he said, they will never relent and will go all out to jealously safeguard the program for quality outcome.
He finally thanked their sponsors, the Irish National Teachers Organisation, the government through the DoSBSE, national partners and collaborators for their support and co-operation as well as the participants.
Author: by Mariatou Ngum-Saidy