Qualified lower basic school pupil spellers from across the country for the seventh edition of the TAKE-M National Spelling Bee recently visited the Governor of West Coast Region (WCR) and the management of Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) at Petroleum House in Brusubi.
The visit started at the governor's office where Governor Lamin Sanneh reiterated the need for students to take education very seriously noting that they must respect parents and teachers at all times as discipline and knowledge are fundamental in national development.
The WCR Governor recalled discussing the spelling bee with TAKE-M Coordinator Tunde M. N. Ogundimu some years ago and had since embraced the idea of improving the spelling, reading, comprehension and usage of words. He said education should be everyone's business and cannot be left in the hands of teachers only.
He said there were few schools in the past but now schools are everywhere noting that the space is the limit. He stressed the need to be educated and disciplined. He told them that up to recently, Gambians had to pursue university education in other countries but now we have universities.
"In the next 15 years, some of you will be ministers, permanent secretaries, ambassadors, governors, managing directors, dignitaries and other important personalities," Governor Sanneh told visiting students.
He was happy to see spellers from regional schools and encouraged them to work harder to reach higher heights. He also gave a brief summary of the political process from independence. Both pupils and teachers learnt a lot from that and it was suggested that he request the Ministry of basic and secondary education to include it in the curriculum.
He also answered questions from several students.
The group then proceeded to the Petroleum House where they were warmly received by head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Lamin Saidykhan. He gave a brief background of GNPC before leading the guests on a conducted tour of various offices.
He was assisted by Senior Marketing Officer Mariatou Kujabi who said the different units of GNPC are working round the clock in search of oil. She believed that students would learn a lot from the visit and implored them to work harder to become productive citizens.
Drilling Engineer Ousainou Sonko explained that they are trying to get to the bottom of oil prospects. He disclosed that no significant results have been registered in The Gambia but the search continues.
Head of health and safety Ansumana Ceesay noted that all operations must have safety, health, environmental and other measures in the different units - down, mild and up streams. He added that environment impact assessment is conducted to give advice on what measures to take.
Director of Exploration and Production, Mrs Canny Jobe-Taal said oil is very exciting but risky. She disclosed that Ghana had been searching for oil since 1896 adding that crude oil has 6,000 by-products and made a brief explanation of the process of drilling. She said the ships used for drilling are built based on conditions.
The students were accompanied by teachers and led by Tunde Ogundimu and Pa Ousman Marong. The presence of a very supportive parent, Mr Lamin J.P. Njie of Jambanjelly was very encouraging and manifested the fact that education is everyone's business.