7 January 2013

Gambia: Dr. Ida Jallow Sallah Launches Two Educational Books

Dr. Ida Jallow Sallah on Friday 28th of December 2012, launched two books on Education entitled: - QUALITY ASSURANCE : PEDAGOGIC GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING and MONITORING SCHOOLS : QUANTITATIVE DATA COLLECTION ANALYSIS AND REPORTING at the Regional Education Directorate's Main hall in Kanifing.

Mr Lamin Sonko, Senior Education Officer, Standard and Quality Assurance Department presided over the launching as Master of ceremonies. The hall was full to capacity with teachers, monitors of Schools, Education Administrators, Researchers and well wishers who waited expectantly to hear expert review of the two books by Dr Burama Jammeh, Director of CREDD, Mr Lamin Fatajo Principal Education Officer, Human Resource Department ,Mr Sidia Jatta, Linguist and Curriculum Developer, Mr Ebrima Njie, Former Principal of Armitage High School and Former Head of the National Office of the West African Exams Council.

In his statement on behalf of the Regional Director of Region one, Mr Samba Bah apologised for the Permanent Secretary and the Regional Director for their absence because of official engagement. He added that the two books could not have come at a better time than now when the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education is grappling with the issue of quality.

He welcomed the experts whose role it was to review the books and thanked them for undertaking the task.

He asserted that he would thank the author on behalf of the Regional Director for the great initiative and that he is urging all those present to make good use of the materials being provided by the author to help improve quality teaching and learning in the school system.

In his statement at the launching, which shall be covered in full in subsequent issues, Dr. Burama Jammeh Director of CREDD indicated among other things that the two books have filled a vacuum in the provision of well researched reading materials on quality education that is relevant to our own realities. He made reference to a statement made by Dr Ida Jallow Sallah that she was motivated to conduct research and write the books by a message which continued to ring in her ears that "to scroll up to the highest level of the education ladder without being a knowledge producer is to cheat destiny." Dr Burama Jammeh indicated that the author has challenged all the intellectuals to start to put their thoughts in black and white and promised the author that he would follow suit.

Dr Burama Jammeh, noted that the book: MONITORING SCHOOLS : QUATITATIVE DATA COLLECTION ANALYSIS AND REPORTING exposes the reader to the basics of monitoring and avails to school monitors in particular some technologically oriented methods and statistical formulas as computational alternatives, that could equip them with the minimum knowledge required to effectively carry out their monitoring activities. The book gives a theoretical and practical explanation of school monitoring mainly centred on its definition comprising internal and external monitoring; It explains concepts and types of monitoring such as compliance monitoring, Diagnostic monitoring and performance monitoring and further elaborated on the process of monitoring which starts with the establishment of standard monitoring tool which identifies areas of focus, objectives and measurable and realistic performance indicators.

Dr Burama Jammeh added that the book highlights that monitoring is a three step process comprising data collection, data analysis and report writing. He highlighted that the author took time to explain what data is, identified qualitative and quantitative data, primary and secondary data; that she explains what a sample is and then looked into the different types of sampling which equip its reader with the basic principles of research such as the relationship between dependent and independent variables; how data is collected and analysed and promotes good research practice.

Dr Burama Jammeh added that the two books are intertwined. He indicated that before monitoring is done the monitor must understand what quality education is, what is pedagogic competence, what is effective teaching and learning, what are the right teaching and learning strategies, What is teacher centred and learner centred pedagogy; what is proper classroom management and instruction. He said the book Quality Assurance: pedagogic guide to effective teaching and learning gave adequate answers to all the concerns and provides a comprehensive explanation of and elaboration on the standards aimed at ensuring quality education that monitors need to be equipped with to effectively do their work. He said exposure to the pedagogic guide is necessary for monitors, teachers and education administrators to enable them to be effective and efficient internal and external monitors.

He concluded that the two books consider monitoring as distinctive to ensuring quality education and that monitoring is far from the process inspection or witch hunting but is basically designed to provide support to promote quality education by identifying weaknesses and recommending options to address them.

Dr. Burama Jammeh noted that the books have catered for children with special needs which he said made them to be all inclusive in all respect. He considers the books to be of international standard and express his appreciation that the country has such talent which should be tapped. He emphasized that the books are superior in quality and content than many books that are currently in libraries.He recommended the books to be in the booklist of the University of the Gambia, Gambia College, Libraries of Curriculum Development and Cluster Monitors. He identified them as recommended reading material for administrators, teachers, monitors and anyone who has interest in quality education.

The presentation was made by Mr Lamin Fatajo, Mrs Sira Singhateh identified as a vocal and seasoned School monitor, the Chief launcher, Mr Ebrima Njie, Dr. Ida J. Sallah and the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Lamin Sonko will be covered in subsequent issues. This reporter will also try to get the paper Sidia Jatta planned to present but did not because of late arrival from Wuli.

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