The service of the judges, according to Secretary General of the Foundation Mrs Fatou Susso-Jobarteh, will play an important part in selecting excellent teachers who have made great contributions to their students and communities: “Your dedication shows your commitment to education and your belief in the power of teachers,” she said.
Three of the judges directly come from retirement as educators while two came from educational institutions like The Gambia College School of Education, the Department of Education of the University of The Gambia, and additional two representatives from the Association of NGOs (TANGO), and the National School Management Committees of The Gambia.
The judges will assess the applications based on merit; conduct interviews with the applicants and go further to conduct school visits and collect firsthand information on applicants and their work to inform their decisions in reviewing, shortlisting and selecting both regional and national winners for the prize.
The inauguration was presided over by Mr Essa Sowe, deputy general secretary of the Gambia Teachers Union on behalf of the Organising Committee of the National Teacher Prize; an initiative of a Gambian NGO, The Namie Foundation.
Mr Alhassan Susso, chairman of the Namie Foundation in a video message thanked the judges for taking up the challenge to serve on the panel, having served as a judge himself in a similar capacity in the US Teacher Prize. He described the task of improving teaching and motivating teachers as “a life journey” and welcomed the judges to be a part of the journey.
“The initiative seeks to honour and recognize excellence in teaching while using it as a platform to raise national awareness, inspire and motivate educators and foster collaboration for improved education service delivery,” said Mr Essa Sowe, on behalf of Selection Sub Committee of the National Teacher Prize 2024.
After deliberations, the empanelled Judges selected veteran educationist and unionist, Mr Omar J. Ndure to be the chair. He thanked the Committee, saying he was “grateful and appreciative” that they are considered out of many.
“The task is difficult, considering the number of teachers from regional level to national level. What’s important is the purpose of the recognition as teachers need encouragement,” Mr Ndure said.
The panel includes Dr Abdoulie Jadama, secretary, with Mr Momodou A. Jallow, Emily Gomez, Tabou Njie Sarr, and Mr Mbemba Jawara as members.