Hello Mr. President… Education and Employment

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Since independence, we have focused on education, which we said, is what will get us the development we need – and deserve. Granted, education is the fastest way to pull a people [both individuals and nations]out of crippling poverty. No argument there. But, Mr President, it has to be relevant and quality education. It is said that the starting point is as important in a race as the finishing point, if not more. Keeping that in mind, we must critically consider our needs before we talk about education.

We have fallen in the trap of following in the footsteps of our colonisers in almost everything, including in education. However, we failed to take note of the fact that our needs might not be the same as, let’s say England, Germany or Holland. These countries have reached a certain stage in their development that they do not need certain things (food, water, elctricity – which have become common) and as such, their area of focus in education has shifted to other things.

Africa, on the other hand, Gambia in particular, is still struggling with food, water, electricity and other basic necessities of life. Where Europe is focusing on how to improve and lengthen life expectancy; on how to control obesity due to having too much to eat, we are struggling with how to put food on the tables of our people. We are focusing – or are supposed to focus on – the provision of good healthcare delivery so as to curb infant mortality and the like. This shows clearly that our education system should not copy, in entitirety, that of the West.

Our education system should be focused more on technical expertise rather than on academics alone. True, in some areas, giving due consideration to the academic aspect of education is important but it should not be the only thing we focus on. We should make sure that our education system produces the skill labourers that we need to develop our country.

The school system should produce job creators rather than job seekers. Let us produce carpenters, tailors, engineers, mechanics, fishermen, technicians, barbers, agricultural experts, farmers and so on and so forth. This will not only make the education system better, but will at the same time solve the unemployment problem. If a student completes senior secondary school and can make beds or cupboards and earn ten to fifteen thousands, s/he will not wait for an employer to have a job.

Let us tailor our education system to suit our developmental needs. It’s high time we stood on our own feet!

Have a Good Day Mr President…

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

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