As the Gambia teachers joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Teachers Day (WTD) on 5 October, 2013, they seized the opportunity to call for better working conditions, most importantly an increment of their salaries.Speaking to a cross-section of teachers, government officials and other stakeholders on this great day, the President of the Gambia Teachers Union, Mr. Lamin K. Marong, said the role of teachers should be recognized as one of the many pillars of a sound and progressive society. He said the day calls attention for the need to raise the status of the profession not only for the benefit of teachers and students but for society as a whole, to acknowledge the crucial role teachers play, adding that there can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers.
"The things that teachers need to do their job also help children learn and grow. Smaller class sizes, a robust curriculum, adequate resources, collaboration among teachers, to share best practices, school administrators and community leaders to explore and implement proven ideas for improving schools are basic necessities," concludes the president.Mrs. Isatou Ndow, the head of School of Education at Gambia College said teachers deserve immeasurable gratitude; adding that without teachers we would all be floating in the wilderness of ignorance and prejudice, shut from the wealth of the wisdom, shut out from the rich conversation of the educated and the enlightened.Her words: "
A teacher is a warrior against ignorance and prejudice. There are many people in the world who have to be liberated from that cushion of ignorance and prejudice and it is only teachers who can liberate them. For teachers to be able to become brave warriors, warriors against ignorance and prejudice, they must strive to acquire new ideas and new developments in the various fields of knowledge.
They must be in perpetual search for the excellence and in this way they can be the great warriors ready to liberate those floating in the rivers of ignorance and prejudices."The theme for the celebration is "A Call for Teachers," meaning a call for quality teachers, a call for more determined, disciplined and dedicated teachers.
Mr. Drammeh, a junior school teacher said the salary of teachers is not really encouraging, saying this is why there is still a shortage of teachers because people are not monetarily motivated and some of those in the profession are quitting for greener pastures. He said the government should really look into this issue as without good pay, we will find it hard to render quality education. Mr. Drammeh, who is an HTC holder, said he expects their president to raise this with the Permanent Secretary during the WTD celebrations.
Mr. Badjie, a primary school teacher, teaching in CRR calls on the ministry to decentralize the teaching fraternity. He said teachers in the Greater Banjul Areas are mostly opportune to certain facilities like capacity building trainings. He emphasized the need for salary increment, saying teachers in the interior should receive a glittering pay as they are mostly disturbed by high transport fares, rent, among other expenses.
Nearly all the interviewees hammered on the need for the salary increment of teachers as they are the custodians of knowledge.