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GTU RECEIVES DONATIONS OF BICYCLES

The Gambia Teachers’ Union receives a donation of Twenty-Two bicycles from the Steve Sinnott Foundation earmarked for school-going children in the rural Gambia. The Steve

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GTU ORGANIZES SRGBV TRAINING

The Gambia Teachers Union through support from the Steve Sinnott Foundation organized a training workshop on School-Related Gender-Based Violence for female headteachers and young female

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GTU RECEIVES DONATIONS OF BICYCLES

Donated bicycles being received at the GTU Secretariat.

The Gambia Teachers’ Union receives a donation of Twenty-Two bicycles from the Steve Sinnott Foundation earmarked for school-going children in the rural Gambia.

The Steve Sinnott Foundation is a long-term partner of The Gambia Teachers’ Union. Over the years and recently, they have funded a series of programs geared towards improving the status of education in the country.

Children in most parts of rural Gambia trek to school. The donated bicycles are expected to ease the mobility of school-going children commuting long distances to school.

GTU CONDUCTS TRAINING FOR HOME SCIENCE TEACHERS.

Barely a month after conducting a training for Sixty Home Science Teachers in Region 2 on the making of reusable pads, the Gambia Teachers’ Union has organized a similar training for Thirty Home Science Teachers in Region 1.

The training held at the GTU Secretariat in Kanifing is meant to equip the teachers with the skills of making reusable sanitary pads.

Access to sanitary pads by school going girls is a challenge. Some girls often skip school as a result of not accessing sanitary pads.

The First Vice President-GTU, Saffie Nyassi said, with this training teachers will be able to make pads that could be access by students at no cost. She said the reusable sanitary pads are healthy, environmentally friendly, and could last for about two years. She urged the teachers to take the training seriously while encouraging them to share the knowledge gained.

The training is funded by the Steve Sinnott Foundation.

STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE GAMBIA TEACHERS’ UNION ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY 2021

MARIE ANTOINNETTE CORR-GENERAL SECRETARY GTU

The National Executive Committee of the Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU) wishes to congratulate the entire teaching fraternity in commemoration of World Teachers Day.

World Teachers Day (WTD) held annually on 5th October, is an important event for the entire educational community to celebrate the teaching profession and to promote the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel (1997) Complimented by the ILO Policy Guidelines on the Promotion of Decent Work for Early Childhood Education Personnel (2014).

The theme for this year’s World Teachers Day is: Teachers at The Heart of Education Recovery.

Nearly two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many education systems are still facing significant disruptions. The pandemic has shone a light on the irreplaceable value of the teaching profession in society but also on the difficult working conditions facing many teachers. Teachers have been on the frontlines to ensure learning continuity when schools were closed and to provide socio-emotional support to their students, especially the most vulnerable ones.

Today we celebrate the exceptional dedication and courage of all teachers, as well as their capacity to adapt and innovate under very challenging and uncertain conditions. They are at the heart of global education recovery efforts and are key in accelerating progress towards inclusive, equitable, and quality education for every learner, in every circumstance.

Now is the time to recognize the exceptional role teachers play and to empower them with the training, professional development, support, and working conditions they need to deploy their talent. This is a time of challenge but also an opportunity for rapid transformation to address the unfulfilled needs which have been multiplied by the pandemic.

A successful education recovery calls for investment in more teachers and in training and professional development opportunities, so that educators may enrich their practice and gain the skills to integrate and use educational technologies effectively to support learning and adapt to a diversity of learners’ needs.

On World Teachers’ Day, we are not only celebrating every teacher. We are calling on the Government of The Gambia to invest in them and prioritize them in education recovery efforts so that every learner has access to a qualified and supported teacher. Let’s stand with our teachers!

Happy World Teachers Day!!!!

Marie Antoinette Corr

GENERAL SECRETARY

GTU MEETS MENTORS IN THE ‘FIT’ PROJECT

MENTORS AND PROJECT OFFICIALS

The Gambia Teachers’ Union today, 17th August 2021 convened a session for 12 mentors under its ‘Mobile Technology: Mentoring and Professional Learning Communities for Women Teachers in The Gambia’. The convergence held at Mansakonko, LRR, was meant to abreast the participants on key components of the project as well as on issues surrounding Gender-Based Violence.

The GTU with support from the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is implementing a one-year project dubbed ‘FIT Project’, meant to support 48 young women teachers from RED 3 to 6 under 5 years of teaching experience matched with 12 Mentors working in remote areas through Mentoring and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). The rationale is that women teachers leave the profession because of isolation and disconnection.

Project officials believe that that the relationship between the mentees and mentors & Professional Learning Communities maintained through mobile phones, will help Mentees feel better connected, supported, more confident, competent with the potential of high retention in the teaching profession.

During the implementation phase, series of activities will be conducted. This is geared towards achieving the project’s target.

At the end of the session, Fatou Ceesay a participant, thanked project officials for the opportunity accorded them. She also extended gratitude to the CTF and the Canadian government for funding the project. She challenged her colleagues to be proactive and committed to meeting the project’s goals.

Essa Sowe Project Officer and Saffie Nyassi Chairperson GTU Ladies’ Society led the presentations.

GTU TRAINS HOME SCIENCE TEACHERS ON MAKING OF REUSABLE SANITARY PADS

Findings have shown that a greater percentage of school-going girls skip school during their mensural period. This is largely associated with a lack of access to sanitary pads. It’s against this backdrop that the Gambia Teachers’ Union organizes a two-day training for Sixty Home Science teachers in Region 2 on the making of reusable sanitary pads.

The training underway at the GTU Secretariat is funded by the Steve Sinnott Foundation.

Officials believe the training would help enhance the capacity of the teachers in making the sanitary pads thus increasing the availability and easy access to the pads by girls.

Essa Sowe, Deputy General Secretary-GTU highlighted the significance of the training. He told participants to “role this out, share the knowledge and support the girls.”

GTU’s Ladies’Society Chairperson, Saffie Nyassie lauded the initiative. She said the reusable sanitary pads are cheap and their materials are easily accessible compared to other sanitary pads. She added that the availability of sanitary pads in schools will encourage girls to be in school even during their cycle. She also enjoined participants to hand down the knowledge gained to colleagues and students.

According to the trainers, the reusable sanitary pads could be used for two years. But they highlighted that they must be properly taken care of. They (trainers) encouraged the usage of reusable sanitary pads, arguing that they are healthy and safe.

GTU ORGANIZES SRGBV TRAINING

Madam Saffie Nyassi-VP1 and Chairperson GTU Ladies’ Society

The Gambia Teachers Union through support from the Steve Sinnott Foundation organized a training workshop on School-Related Gender-Based Violence for female headteachers and young female teachers serving in schools in the rural Gambia.

The training was meant to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills in the fight against SRGBV. Reports have indicated the high prevalence of SRGBV, thus the union’s consideration for the training of her members on this menace. The union expects participants to use the knowledge gained to fight the occurrence of SRGBV and to also coach students on the issue.

Delivering her statement during the opening ceremony, Madam Saffie Nyassi, Vice President 1 and Chairperson of the GTU Ladies’ Society emphasized the timeliness of the training. She thanked the donors for funding the training. According to her, SRGBV is prevalent in schools and regions; young female teachers and female students bearing a higher percentage of the victims. This she said must stop and the only way is through training of such nature and awareness creation.

She therefore, called on participants to be good ambassadors of the union in the fight against SRGBV. She encouraged the reporting of cases through the right medium.

Other speakers all challenged the participants to do away from the culture of silence. They argued that for a milestone to be reached in the fight against SRGBV, victims or witnesses of violations must not be silent about them.

During the two day training, participants were exposed to various thematic areas of presentations by experts.

GTUYTP HOLDS GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING

Newly elected members of the National Youth Executive Committee of the YTP

The Gambia Teachers’ Union Young Teachers Platform on Thursday, August 5, 2021 conducted its maiden General Assembly Meeting at the Paradise Suites Hotel under the theme “Enhancing Youth Participation in Leadership and Good Governance”. The meeting was meant to ratify the by-laws of the platform, endorse the activity report of the Interim committee, validate the draft GTU Youth Policy as well elect a new executive committee.

Marie Antoinette Corr-GS Gambia Teachers’ Union

Speaking at the meeting, the General Secretary of GTU-Marie Antoinette Corr said the YTP was established to champion the interest of young teachers, adding that young people are the current and future of the union. She further told delegates that “Your presence here today is a powerful reflection of our collective desire to a see a positive change, through an effective and progressive response to our collective action to advance the involvement of young teachers in union leadership”.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Louis Moses Mendy said for any nation that wants to develop, it must shape her future through a better education system. PS Mendy challenged delegates to remain focus and resolute as it is the only way to move the GTU to higher heights.

Louis Moses Mendy-PS MoBSE

“Your representation must not be measured and mirrored on you. It must be measured and mirrored on those that you represent”. He added “Your virtue of representation should be seen on the welfare of the people that you represent that are not here, that’s leadership”, he told delegates.

He said the creation of the Young Teachers Platform is an exemplifier of good governance executed by the parent body-GTU. He again challenged the leadership of the YTP to be focused, have ides, make resolutions and have consistency to achieve a young and vibrant YTP.

Speaking earlier, the President of the GTU, Ismaila S. Ceesay, said he GTU has undergone radical reforms for the past 84 years. As such, he said the need for greater participation, increased sense of ownership and more importantly, action is eminent and the advent of the YTP will not only help to consolidate the efforts, but sustain the gains.

“The emergence of the YTP is apt, taking into consideration that more than 65% of the teaching population of the country is under the youth bracket,” the president remarked.

Alhagie B. Sama-Chairman GTUYTP

Presenting the Activity Report of the Interim Committee of the YTP (2019-2021), the Chairman of the Interim Committee, Alhagie B. Sama, highlighted numerous activities his committee embark on to lay a solid foundation for the YTP. He said during the period, the committee conducted radio talkshows to popularize the YTP, held talks with partner associations, embarked on tours, drafted a GTU Youth policy among others. Chairman Sama also highlighted concerns raised by teachers during engagements with them. He finally called on young teachers to embrace the YTP.

The Gambia Teachers’ Union Young Teachers Platform is an organ of the GTU. Established in 2019 through a resolution of the National Delegates Congress, the YTP serves as the organ of the GTU that will provide a collective voice and represent the youth cohort of the GTU membership in all matters that concern them.

GTU TRAINS 40 Y0UNG HEAD TEACHERS

Participants at the Professional Development Training Workshop

The Gambia Teachers’ Union through support of the Canadian Teacher Federation-CTF organized a three-day training for young head teachers in the Central River Region. The training dubbed Summer Professional Development Workshop for Young Head Teachers, attracted forty participants from CRR-South and CRR-North.

Marie Antoinette Corr-General Secretary, Gambia Teachers’ Union

According to the General Secretary of GTU Marie Antoinette Corr, the support to organize the training came from the union’s partners in Canada, the Canadian Teacher Federation. She thanked the federation for the numerous support it has been rendering to the union. Madam Corr stated that the union is passionate about the provision of platforms for the continuous professional development of teachers. As such, she said the union would continue to lobby for funds to capacitate teachers.

The President of the Union, Ismaila Ceesay encouraged participants to take the training seriously. He enjoined them to network, share ideas and ask the relevant questions. Prexy Ceesay stated that the union is very much concern about the need to provide trainings for teachers, thus it has always prioritized the organizing of such platforms to help boost the leadership skills of teachers.

Ismaila S. Ceesay, President-Gambia Teachers’ Union

During the three days training, participants were exposed to various thematic areas such as: Roles of School Managers, Ethics and Professionalism, Peace and Conflict Resolutions, Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Educational Settings, Team Development and Leadership.

Organizers are hopeful that the training will usher in an effective and efficient management of schools.

The training was held from the 12th-15th July, 2021 at the Regional Education Directorate-5.

GTUCCU Begins Construction Of Staff Quarters At Bolibana

Minister Claudianna Ayo Cole laying the foundation stone of the GTUCCU sponsored staff quarter.

The Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union [GTUCCU] began construction of a fifteen-room staff quarters at Bolibana Basic Cycle School.

The structure is meant to comfort staff in the border settlement in the Kantora District in the Upper River Region.

The foundation stone of the building was laid by the Minister of Basic Education, Claudiana Ayo Cole, and witnessed by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, General Manager of the Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union, among others.

For the Minister of Basic Education, Claudiana Ayo Cole, the intervention by the GTUCCU is a clear manifestation of the cordial ties between the Union and the Ministry. She extolled the efforts of the union officials in cementing the relationship. Hon. Minister Cole enjoined teachers to be proactive in-service delivery, saying, “To whom much is given, much is expected”.

The General Manager of the GTUCCU, Baboucarr O. Joof, said the intervention is timely as described by many and it is based on a cardinal principle of cooperative societies, ‘People Helping People’.

He recounted the journey that culminated in the intervention by the GTUCCU which came at a time when the body is about to clock twenty-five years.

“Twenty-five years of existence, twenty-five years of trial and error, trial and error because when GTU decided in 1992 through a resolution to form a cooperative for its members, little did we know that the pioneers had a vision that we will at some point be able to do this for ourselves. This is important. This is significant,” GM Joof stated.

Bolibana is approximately 400KM from the capital Banjul. The predominantly farming community lies a few kilometers away from the Gambian border with the southern part of Senegal. With seemingly inaccessible roads and poor communication network, the community has been designated by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as a hard-to-reach area.

The Principal of the school, Alhagi Jawo, said the retention of teachers posted to the school has always been a challenge due to lack of basic facilities such as accommodation to keep them in the school.

Mr. Dembo Mendy is a teacher in the school. Dembo has been in the school for the past two years. He narrated that life in the school is challenging.

“We face many challenges here, from accommodation, feeding, access to health facilities to even communication,” the young man revealed.

To many, it is patriotism and sheer admiration of the job that keep them in communities like Bolibana. Unlike those who came and left due to the living conditions in the school, Dembo and his colleague stayed to inspire the innocent children who come to seek knowledge from them on a daily basis. Under the scorching summer sun, Dembo revealed that when temperatures are high, the excessive heat switches off their mobile phones. Dembo uses the school library as his room. This he said is because he could not cope with the temperatures in the stores they occupy.

“We sleep in offices. In fact, for me I have my bed in the library that’s where I sleep,” he said.

According to him, access to health facilities is also a challenge for them. The nearest health facility accessible to them is Fatoto. Fatoto is several kilometers away. He recounted his first days in the school as ‘very terrific’ as a result; he ‘felt sick’ and could not access medication in the first days. In addition, he was later taken to the Basse Health Centre, where he was admitted for days.

Dembo was full of praise for the GTUCCU for coming to their aid. The intervention, he believes, will change their accommodation nightmares. He revealed that before the staff quarters intervention, the GTU had helped them with solar powered radio sets and bicycles for some of the students.

 “Before, when we used our mobile phones to tune to radios, we only had frequencies of Senegalese radios. We were cut-off from happenings in our country. But when the union brought us the radios, [now] we are able to tune into Gambian radio stations…,” Dembo said.

The provision of quality education is crucial in the advancement of any nation. However, it is a widely held belief that for quality education to exist, the welfare of service providers such as teachers is instrumental. It is on that basis that the Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union has begun the construction of a fifteen-room staff quarters at the Bolibana Basic Cycle School in the Kantora District, Upper River Region.

When completed, the floors of the staff quarters will be tiled and fitted with solar panels, a flat screen television, and beds. According to the General Manager of the GTUCCU. A “Bantaba” to serve as a relaxation spot for the staff will also be constructed, upon the completion of the quarters.

Elementor #668

     GTUCCU Begins Construction Of Staff Quarters At Bolibana

The Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union [GTUCCU] began construction of a fifteen-room staff quarters at Bolibana Basic Cycle School.

The structure is meant to comfort staff in the border settlement in the Kantora District in the Upper River Region.

The foundation stone of the building was laid by the Minister of Basic Education, Claudiana Ayo Cole, and witnessed by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, General Manager of the Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union, among others.

For the Minister of Basic Education, Claudiana Ayo Cole, the intervention by the GTUCCU is a clear manifestation of the cordial ties between the Union and the Ministry. She extolled the efforts of the union officials in cementing the relationship. Hon. Minister Cole enjoined teachers to be proactive in-service delivery, saying, “To whom much is given, much is expected”.

The General Manager of the GTUCCU, Baboucarr O. Joof, said the intervention is timely as described by many and it is based on a cardinal principle of cooperative societies, ‘People Helping People’.

He recounted the journey that culminated in the intervention by the GTUCCU which came at a time when the body is about to clock twenty-five years.

“Twenty-five years of existence, twenty-five years of trial and error, trial and error because when GTU decided in 1992 through a resolution to form a cooperative for its members, little did we know that the pioneers had a vision that we will at some point be able to do this for ourselves. This is important. This is significant,” GM Joof stated.

Bolibana is approximately 400KM from the capital Banjul. The predominantly farming community lies a few kilometers away from the Gambian border with the southern part of Senegal. With seemingly inaccessible roads and poor communication network, the community has been designated by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as a hard-to-reach area.

The Principal of the school, Alhagi Jawo, said the retention of teachers posted to the school has always been a challenge due to lack of basic facilities such as accommodation to keep them in the school.

Mr. Dembo Mendy is a teacher in the school. Dembo has been in the school for the past two years. He narrated that life in the school is challenging.

“We face many challenges here, from accommodation, feeding, access to health facilities to even communication,” the young man revealed.

To many, it is patriotism and sheer admiration of the job that keep them in communities like Bolibana. Unlike those who came and left due to the living conditions in the school, Dembo and his colleague stayed to inspire the innocent children who come to seek knowledge from them on a daily basis. Under the scorching summer sun, Dembo revealed that when temperatures are high, the excessive heat switches off their mobile phones. Dembo uses the school library as his room. This he said is because he could not cope with the temperatures in the stores they occupy.

“We sleep in offices. In fact, for me I have my bed in the library that’s where I sleep,” he said.

According to him, access to health facilities is also a challenge for them. The nearest health facility accessible to them is Fatoto. Fatoto is several kilometers away. He recounted his first days in the school as ‘very terrific’ as a result; he ‘felt sick’ and could not access medication in the first days. In addition, he was later taken to the Basse Health Centre, where he was admitted for days.

Dembo was full of praise for the GTUCCU for coming to their aid. The intervention, he believes, will change their accommodation nightmares. He revealed that before the staff quarters intervention, the GTU had helped them with solar powered radio sets and bicycles for some of the students.

“Before, when we used our mobile phones to tune to radios, we only had frequencies of Senegalese radios. We were cut-off from happenings in our country. But when the union brought us the radios, [now] we are able to tune into Gambian radio stations…,” Dembo said.

The provision of quality education is crucial in the advancement of any nation. However, it is a widely held belief that for quality education to exist, the welfare of service providers such as teachers is instrumental. It is on that basis that the Gambia Teachers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union has begun the construction of a fifteen-room staff quarters at the Bolibana Basic Cycle School in the Kantora District, Upper River Region.

When completed, the floors of the staff quarters will be tiled and fitted with solar panels, a flat screen television, and beds. According to the General Manager of the GTUCCU. A “Bantaba” to serve as a relaxation spot for the staff will also be constructed, upon the completion of the quarters.