Music education, cultural studies to be re-introduced in schools
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
It has been generally observed that there is a declining
level of not only cultural awareness but also its appreciation in Gambian
society. This has prompted the leadership of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary
Education (MoBSE) to take up the appropriate steps to promote the teaching and
learning of drama, music and cultural studies in schools.
As part of such efforts, MoBSE, through its Schools
Broadcasting Unit recently organised a three-week long workshop for teachers in
Regional Education Directorates I, II and IV. The training was conducted with
the donor support of ECCO International, an organisation dedicated to promoting
culture. The workshop was held at the Region I Education Directorate in Kanifing.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mam Tamsir Njie, the principal education officer, Schools Broadcasting Unit, MoBSE, and chairperson of the technical committee, Culture Kids, welcomed the participants to the training and thanked ECCO International for supporting the training. “The training on the revival of education and cultural studies started last year and this year is based on the recommendation of the participants for more training in the respective areas,” he noted
He lamented that young people are copying things that are not part of their culture. “Things like ‘check down’ and ‘yutal’ are not part of our culture,” he said.
Guru Heilmann, the director of ECCO International, said the merger between culture and education creates a strong tool to reach the Millennium Development Goals. “We believe that with the Culture Kids Programme we can empower children and youths to find new ways to strengthen their identity, to empower them for creative entrepreneurship and employability; locally as well as globally,” she observed.
She disclosed that the Technical Committee of the Culture Kids Programme comprises representatives from MoBSE, Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and Ministry of Tourism and Culture, noting that her role is to connect the Technical Committee to Scandinavia and Europe.
She extended appreciation to Her Excellency the First Lady, Madam Zineb Jammeh for accepting to be a protector of the Culture Kids Programme. She also expressed gratitude to Dr. Momodou Tangara, the minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters; the minister of Tourism and Culture, Aja Fatou Mass Jobe; and minister of Higher Education, for their support to the programme.
Adama Jimba Jobe, the director of Science and Technology Education, who also deputised for the permanent secretary at MoBSE, Baboucarr Bouy expressed the need for more collaboration between MoBSE and development partners like ECCO International.
Jobe noted that music and culture are necessary as they are part of daily lives. He decried the lack of courtesy in their homes, calling on the younger generation to appreciate the essence of culture. “ECCO’s support for the revival of music, drama and culture in Gambian schools will go down in the history of the country,” he emphasised.
The training was led by Alhaji Mbye Jobe, retired band master, Gambia Police Band; Mamudu Suso, a well known Kora maestro; Koto Ngum, a veteran drummer; and Alhagie Mbye Chow, a cultural activist. The trained teachers are expected to go back to their schools to prepare students for the forthcoming Kids Cultural Competition.
Author: Yunus S Saliu