Sunday, January 29

Catholic Education Secretariat Terminates Services of College Graduates after MoBSE’s Decision on CT

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Kebba Ansu Manneh

Scores of new graduates from the Gambia College who were hired by the Catholic Education Secretariat are said to have been dismissed by the secretariat after the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education announced that any graduate who failed its Competence Test (CT) will not be absorbed into the teaching field.

Last Month, MoBSE terminated the services of more than 600 new graduates from the Gambia College who sat the Competence Test, while retaining little above 300 graduate teachers said to have passed the Competence Test.

The affected teachers have already expressed their concerns regarding the Competence Test observing that the CT was designed to segregate teachers by giving favours to those close to senior MoBSE officials to secure jobs, thus demanding the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to publish the results scripts of all the graduates who sat to the Competence Test.

However, it seems the matter is still not resolved with the latest information that the Catholic Education Secretariat has followed the footsteps of MoBSE in terminating the services of some teachers while maintaining some teachers who allegedly failed the Competence Test.

The Voice Newspaper gathered that among the college graduate teachers whose services were terminated by the Catholic Education Secretariat includes Ndey Sowe, Magret Jatta, Abdou Gibba, Muhammed Ceesay, and Ceesayba  Saidykhan have all been terminated by the Catholic Education Secretariat, while Bakoto Ceesay and Angel Bass who are equally said to have failed the Competence Test are still under employment under the Catholic Education Secretariat.

An insider at the Catholic Education Secretariat who spoke to this medium on condition of anonymity disclosed that the Secretariat has not done justice to the affected teachers who were all employed last September, disclosing that there was nowhere in the appointment letters of the teachers sack that indicates or specified that teachers who fail the competence test will be dismissed.

He added that to add salt to injury the Catholic Education Secretariat deducted the November salaries of the affected teachers even though they worked for a full month, alleging that the Secretariat was not fair in implementing the decision of MoBSE as it still employed some graduates who failed the Competence Test.

According to him, the decision to dismiss the affected teachers by the Catholic Education Secretariat was poorly handled, biased, and based on the segregation of teachers, arguing that if the Secretariat was not biased bias in its decision it would have given the same punishment to all across the board without sacking some and retaining others.

The Voice Newspaper contacted the Catholic Education Secretariat to shed light on the development to no avail following a visit and follow-up calls in our efforts to inform the public. One affected teacher who is currently out of work said he was given his termination letter by the Catholic Education Secretariat without prior notice, adding that there is nowhere in his employment letter that indicates that if they failed to pass the competence test they will be dismissed.

According to him, more than thirty newly graduated teachers from the Gambia College who secured employment with the Catholic Education Secretariat have been dismissed, adding that their situation and conditions have been communicated to the MoBSE, Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), and Teachers for Change but to no avail.

“We are appealing to the President and his Cabinet to intervene on our behalf, we have been illegally terminated by the Catholic Education Secretariat without any justification. UnfortunateUnfortunately, MoBSE which is supposed to fight for the rights of all teachers is the very one flaming the fire and the last choice is to appeal to the President and his Cabinet to stand for us,” one affected teacher appealed.

He added: “Most of us dismissed are from very poor backgrounds who spent our hard-earned family resources and money to attend the Gambia College with the hope that after our graduation we will have jobs to take care of our families. My personal life is very terrible because I have a wife and family to support but with my current situation I am thinking of how to pay for my house and how to provide feeding to the family.”