20 February 2013

Gambia: The Gambia Teachers' Union Celebrates 76th Anniversary

The GTU celebrated its 76th anniversary on the 16th February, 2013 at the Paradise Suites Hotel. Mr. Baboucarr O. Joof, the General Manager of the GTU and the moderator of the ceremony in his opening remarks, welcomed the guests and hinted on the history of the Union by pointing out a couple of the outstanding pioneers and the founding fathers of the Union,

Jane Colley Faye and Edward Francis Small. He said without their dedication the Union would not have been a success. He further asserted that during these 76 years many things have happened and that the Union is built on three key principles, which are "to organise, represent, and advocate" and this is why it was necessary to create it. This representation is fresher now, he informs. He also added that this year's celebration would not be a conspiracy because brawl is no longer the order of the day but partnership. He also said this partnership will define the relationship between the Gambia and Senegal.

Antoinette C. Jack, the General Secretary GTU said, the celebration is also part of an ongoing dialogue between GTU and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. She added that this is the time for them to celebrate and also reflect on the importance of the union and their cooperation with the Ministry. The Theme "Enhanced Synergy: An inevitable Necessity For Our Unity". She said they wOULD endeavor to examine what the GTU has been under since its inception and further opined that after 76 years, they should demonstrate their needs and analyse their weaknesses, challenges, successes, and threats. She concluded by calling on all stakeholders in the education sector to put in place a dialogue mechanism to foster the relationship between the GTU and teachers, solidarity forever, she concluded.

The President of the GTU Mr. Lamin K Marong for his part expressed pleasure to add his voice at the auspicious gathering, by positing that the successes registered by GTU is a milestone development and thanked the teachers for their dedication. He also postulated that it's a significant day for them because' it provides the opportunity to draw the public attention and improve economic growth and social cohesion. He further dilated that this is a time for unity, where teachers will be motivated, through the provision of allowances, incentives, training and scholarship opportunities to pursue higher education. He summed up by urging the teachers to seize this opportunity to think about how to improve their students, because it would help them to tackle the challenges they are confronted with in the education sector and the society in general. Monsieur Amadou Diaoune, the Secretary General of the (consortium of teachers' unions in Senegal (SUDES)) for his part said it's a great day for GTU and added that their stand in the Gambia is wonderful. He said SUDES has joined GTU to enable them to work together, because Senegal and Gambia are one country that was divided by the Whiteman. He also stated that this partnership will develop education in both countries, due to the fact that everybody knows that learning and teaching are the bedrocks of development. He further argued that this is why their leaders should prioritise the education sector by providing the necessary equipment for the schools and teachers and concluded by praying that Allah helps the GTU to realize their goals and lasting peace in both countries.

While Mr. Matarr Baldeh of the Education for all (EFA) for his part said they are celebrating the successes and also reflecting on their challenges to enhance the synergy they need for unity. He added that this year's campaign is dedicated on the theme "every child needs a teacher" and Gambia is a living testimony to the efforts rendered by Government. And also went on to say that the teachers' contribution is immeasurable, due to their efforts in helping their children to learn, know, live together, and to read and write. He also said it's in recognition that the Global Campaign Education for all and its partner EFA selected teachers for training. He further added that this is the time to make their voices heard, every child a teacher is backed by the international Education (IE). He concluded by expressing gratitude to the government and let them live together in solidarity and GTU forever. Mr.Baboucarr Bouy the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of basic and Education and the guest speaker of the occasion for his part expressed delight for the trust and confidence they have in him and the Ministry to nurture the cordial relationship between GTU and the Ministry. He also postulated that this cordiality should not be and must not be taken for granted. He also said this is due to the fact that a relationship that is characterized by mistrust, nobody knows its resultant effects, and it's the parents and teachers who bear the brunt of it. He also said the union however is not a source of pride only but also benefits as the founding fathers and mothers would not be proud of it, if they know it was run the way it should not be. He added that without prejudice, they would be able to work with their partners in their best interest. He craved the indulgence for him to substitute them with the ministry, because unity in a union is an absolute necessity and any attempt of unity will tantamount to destroying it. He said enhanced energy epitomizes the strengths and vitalities that they have and to further bolster it, he also went on to say that due to their unique way of doing things he could only point out a few examples and some these are the provision of one hundred motorcycles to teachers, code of conduct, training opportunities and so on. He added that they can only have collective hopes and aspirations to overcome poverty. And the energy they have as since 76 years ago has only increased their source of unity and with interest and wisdom, they can sustain it, he concluded.

Pa Daniel Mendy delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the National Executive Committee and in his deliberations expressed delight and honour to both the Ministry and the GTU for their continued support and also expressed gratitude to the staff of Paradise Suites hotel and concluded by saying "Forward with the Union and solidarity with the Union".

The ceremony was also marked by the signing of the GTU and SUDES partnership agreement and the inauguration of a technical committee by Mr. Essa Sowe. It was closed by remarks made by Mr. Lamin K Marong and a farewell statement was done by Amadou Diaoune. It was graced by dignitaries from different walks of life.

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