Unquestionably, the overwhelming majority of the Gambian electorate will cast their vote for the APRC government, translating to President Jammeh’s victory, PERIOD.
His nomination papers were accepted by the IEC on Thursday, 10th November 2016, at the Election House on Bertil Harding Highway, Social media, the nation’s only broadcaster (GRTS) and even world cable news servers such as the BBC, all transmitted what was viewed as a very convincing gathering that cheered the Gambian leader and the First lady of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia on their motorcade from the kombos right through to Banjul soon after filing his nomination papers.
A massive number of men, women, young and old people were seen happily jubilating, singing songs all in praise of President Jammeh. Unlike his opponents promising the Gambians to take them back to some lost golden age, President Jammeh continues to remind Gambians about the currency of his politics that has been transforming a decadent old order into a sustainable one far better and more prosperous. For the past two decades, he has been consistently affording the Gambian people with phenomenal and unprecedented economic, social, environmental and educational developments.
After overhauling the educational system in the country from what was a stagnant state of underperformance, His Excellency, President Jammeh on Thursday laid out his next development objective in the next five years that is providing free medical care for all Gambians and Free University education.
Cognizance of the great work the president has been doing to improve the Gambia’s education sector since 1994, for instance, in a comprehensive compilation of data published by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education this year, it shows that at the time of the revolution in 1994 to 2016 the number of Lower Basic schools in the country broadly increased from 250 to 667, Upper Basic Schools, 22 to 240 and senior secondary schools from 12 to 123. In other words, we are, within two decades, looking at an increment in number of schools in the country from a mere 284 to a whopping 1,038, a drastic reduction in the average distance previously traveled by the child to school from 7 kilometers to 2 kilometers now.
Statistically, the report further indicates that where there was only one school in the country in 1994, there are now 10 schools covering every level of education in all regions. This has essentially increased the enrollment numbers of school children from 132,591 in 1994 to 455,568 in 2016.
And get this; as from 2013/14 and 2014/15 academic years, President Jammeh’s government effectively lifted the burden from all families paying school fees for their children in Lower Basic, Upper Basic and Senior Secondary schools throughout the country. So if he therefore promised the Gambian people that in two years-time his government will provide free education up to university level, Gambians might as well take that message as the gospel truth.
Is it not amazing that in 1994 there were only 4,284 teachers in the whole country and in 2016 that number grew exponentially to 14,943?
Plus, in 1994 the education system seriously depended on foreign teachers with only 34% of them being Gambians; but in 2016, thanks to President Jammeh, 77% of teachers are well-trained-qualified Gambians.
President Jammeh, for all I can say about him now is that he deeply understands the importance of investing heavily in education as the best guarantor of sustainable development, especially in third-world countries endowed with minimal or no natural resources. We will continue to pray for his long life, good health and ever creative foresight to lead the Islamic Republic of The Gambia through its cherished orbit of success and progress.