11 January 2013

Gambia: Dr. Ida J. Sallah Launches Two Books On Education

Dr. Ida Jallow Sallah has on Friday 28th of December 2012, launched two books on Education entitle: - Quality assurance Pedagogic Guide for Effective Teaching and Learning and the second, Monitoring Schools: Data Collection Analysis and Report Writing at the Regional Education Directorates' Main hall in Kanifing.

In this edition, we focus on the address given by Dr. Jallow Sallah before proceeding to cover the final presentation by the Master of Ceremony, Mr. Lamin Sonko.

As the backbone of any development machinery, education is a collective endeavour. It requires the contribution of many stakeholders such as teachers, parents, learners, community, internal and external monitors and development partners. The assurance of its quality should therefore be a collective moral responsibility. This is the reason why it continues to gain momentum in many intellectual fora. Coming down to the classroom level, with the necessary supporting resources provided, its materialization remains principally the responsibility of teachers and school monitors. This is why this day is considered as a day for educationists. This is why representative of teachers and monitors and education administrators are occupying the high table and gave statements. In terms of human resources, if one accepts that the education sector is the main raw material provider for all development oriented institutions, one should equally accept that when the delivery of services of its key actors leaves much to be desired no society can develop. Therefore cognizant of such a vivid reality, I decided to take this opportunity to write and dedicate these two books to teachers and schools monitors in order to uplift their spirit and motivate them to accept their roles as a duty to the people.

I have gathered two lessons in life which enabled me to write these two books. The first lesson is that knowledge acquisition without knowledge production is counterproductive. Our children need learning materials in order to have the knowledge necessary to contribute their quota to the development of society. Those who are to teach them must therefore have the requisite knowledge and skills that would enable them to effectively and efficiently carry out their professional duties and responsibilities. In the same vein, those who are charged with the responsibility to ensure effective internal and external monitoring such as the senior teachers, head teachers and the cluster monitors also need continuous professional support in a bid to measure up to expectations. Therefore putting at their disposal such materials geared at enhancing their professional competence will surely transform their inputs into value added components to the teaching and learning process and thus make the team highly productive.

The second lesson which became very apparent to me is that to get a holistic conceptualisation of a given subject of study, one needs to value research and research based writings. I fully came to realise this when I was writing my dissertation. The core of such a principle holds that in order to write one must begin as if one knows nothing about the subject. This reminds me of some words of wisdom which I gathered in my reading of Socrates in French, "tout ce que je sais c'est parce que je ne sais rien". In short, if one accepts one does not know one has to inquire to know; one must become motivated to conduct research to know. To strengthen my allegiance to such a principle, in addition to the in-depth research I had to conduct as revealed by the contents of the two books, I decided to subject them to peer review. Allow me therefore, to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to the following people:

My husband, Halifa Sallah, for intellectual and moral support.

Allow me again to thank all my Colleagues in the Ministry and friends who in one way or the other contributed to the accomplishment associated with these books and the realisation of this launching.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank my Father for his continuous prayers and concern. Papa Alpha as we call you, thank you. My dear mother, my source of inspiration, I wish you were alive today to witness this. May your soul rest in perfect peace. My Dear grandma and friend Aunty Mary Chapman, for her love, concern, admiration and encouragement; her reminder, that is, her motto: "Never say fail." Mam Kololi, as we used to call you, we missed you and may your soul also rest in perfect peace.

My dear Uncle Adama, thank you for your immense contribution to my life and success. Papa, as we call you, thank you immensely.

To the rest of my family and in laws and friends of the family I thank all of you for your moral support

To all of you here present to grace this important occasion.

I thank you immensely and wish you a happy new year 2013.

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