By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Impeccable sources close to this medium has hinted that over six hundred and thirty (630) trained teachers certified by the Gambia College have been allegedly denied employment opportunity by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary education (MoBSE) after allegedly failing the Ministry’s own designed Competence Test.
According to a close source that confided in this medium, the affected teachers are part of the cohort of newly graduated Diploma Students of the Gambia College who were compelled by MoBSE to seat for the Competence Test. The source added that out of the 1, 094 (One thousand and ninety-four) Diploma graduate students who sat for the Competence Test it is only 435 (four hundred and thirty-five) passed the Competence Test and thus qualified for employment under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE)
He added that 637 (six hundred and thirty-seven) Diploma graduates who sat the Competence Test are alleged to have failed the competence test and denied employment, while most of the affected teachers have been served with termination letters by their various schools and are currently out of work following MoBSE’s decision.
“I can confirm that 1,094 (one thousand and ninety-four) Diploma graduates from the Gambia College Brikama and Basse Campuses sat for the Competence Test organized by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education on 13th August 2022. Out of this figure, MoBSE said 637(six hundred and thirty-seven) graduates failed the test and only 457 (four hundred and fifty-seven) have passed the test and are eligible for employment,” our source reiterated.
“However, these affected college graduates were only informed by MoBSE that they have failed the Competence Test conducted by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) without allowing them to set eyes on their results. Currently, all these teachers are seating at home, and have been going in and out of the Ministry and WAEC office but still, they have no opportunity to see their results to confirm for themselves whether they passed or failed,” the source added.
Failure to publish the result of the Competence Test by MoBSE, the source said, indicates a lack of transparency and biases in the selection process of these teachers, as most of those selected by MoBSE are family members and relatives of senior officials working at the Ministry including their close associates.
Meanwhile, The Voice Newspaper laid hand on a letter sent to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education signed by Sanna Jarju on behalf of the affected teachers, demanding the Ministry to publish the results of all teachers who sat to the Competence Test.
“We write to request for answers from you concerning queries we have regarding the decision taken by the Ministry, to employ only 435 (four hundred and thirty-five) out of 1,094 (one thousand and ninety-four) graduating students, with the presumption that 637 (six hundred and thirty-seven) failed the assessment conducted. This erroneous decision has impacted our careers as trained educationists,” the Group demands in its letter to MoBSE.
They added in the letter that “We want to see our scripts. Our consent is tainted with a lack of transparency in the process of this ostensible assessment. It is unbelievable that over 60% of the diploma students from the Gambia College, who have gone through two years of training could fail an unstructured characterized by substandard questions.”
Abdoulie Bah, Secretary General, Teachers for Change said the decision by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to deny more than 600 (six hundred) trained teachers is not only derogatory to the teachers but also to the Gambia College.
He added that Teachers for Change vehemently condemned the decision and call on MoBSE to go back to the drawing board and look into the matter critically with the Gambia College.
According to him, the concern of the graduates are very crystal to be ignored, and if the ministry is transparent in its decision it must be bold enough to publish the results of all those who sat for the Competence Test. He argued that most of those affected are from a very poor background.
Essa Sowe, Secretary General of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) also confirmed the development disclosing that the union has made its findings regarding the situation and concerns of the affected teachers.
He noted that the issue of the graduates is not directly under the mandate of the union as the union is based on membership bases but will do all it can to help resolve the situation. Efforts to get to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) remain futile by the time of going to the press.