By Yunus S Saliu
In its quest to strengthen their skills as trainers and optimize their development for good delivery, the Curriculum Research Evaluation and Development Directorate (CREDD) unit of the Ministry of Basic and Senior Education (MoBSE), on Monday, 12th September kicked-start a weeklong training course on Comprehensive Health Education at the Gambia College for the lecturers at the School of Education at the college.
In November 2021 the CREDD initiated an educational relationship between the college and the directorate to further hold develops adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) issues, educational materials, training more teachers on Comprehensive Health Education (CHE) in relative to sexual reproductive health issues.
Speaking at the opening of the weeklong training of trainers’ course, on behalf of the Director of CREDD, Micheal Hamadi Secka welcomed the participating lecturers to the five-day training course, which he assured to be interactive.
He noted that all the facilitators are competent with good track records in all the subject areas while he noted that CHE is the first of its kind and in the end, the trainees will be well equipped with the necessary knowledge to correctly deliver the course/study effectively.
Mr Secka double assured them that, as lecturers, the course will prepare them for their future engagements with students and help them not only in school but at home also.
Mr Momodou A Jallow, Head of School of Education, Gambia College applauded the collaboration and described the training essential in the learning process, “and not only the students, but everybody needs to know about sexual and reproductive health.
He therefore assured the CHE team and CREDD further collaboration while he thanked them for chosen School of Education as one of the partner.
The Principal Investigator of the project of Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education for in-and-out of School Adolescents in The Gambia, Phebian Ina Grant-Sagnia, gave an in-depth background of the project and reminded them of the initial meetings on the CHE both at the college and MoBSE.
She said the training is two as designed and is meant for in-service and pre-service at the School of Education in Gambia College and they will all be trained on the course as expected.
Twenty lecturers from the college are currently undergoing the training and it is very comprehensive and not one-sided course, it discusses the health and educational aspects while enough relevant materials were made available by the trainers and CREDD.
Trainers included doctors from the Ministry of Health and University of The Gambia, midwife nurses, officials from CSO, and so on, “we are having a series of the facilitators because it is a multi-stakeholder project whereby we take into consideration Ministry of Health, NGOs, and the University of The Gambia for a better outcome.”
Ismaila Bojang, a lecturer of Gender at the Gender Department and a focal person for the CHE in the Gambia College commended the CHE team under CREDD for the training.
He disclosed that surplus teachers are having some issues when it comes to the CHE thus “people are usually ashamed when you talk about sex. And as lecturers, we feel if the parents and teachers are not doing the talking, at homes and schools, about reproductive health issues most students will go astray through acquiring information from wrong places.”
He thumbed up the training and classified it to be a primary function in which they have to teach their students who will in turn send the same messages to the students that they will teach in schools.
However, he said it will be so good if it can be a standalone subject, assessed and texted “so, bridging the communication gap by teaching and giving out correct information to the students would help to curb some of the issues SRH.”
Among other facilitators, Dr. Jainaba Sey-Sawo delivered a comprehensive lecture on pregnancy prevention, unplanned pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and contraceptive methods while some questions asked by the participants included side effects of using some family planning, the meaning of safe sex period, and the calculation of monthly circle illustrated with a pie chart, the delay and bleeding when/after using the contraceptive and what could be the consequence, and question on if the bleeding is applying to all women during breastfeeding, type of what children should be exposed to among other questions asked.
CHE under Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education in The Gambia is an implementation research project done by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC). And it is meant to enlighten and educate in and out-of-school students on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH).