This is Sambang Upper Basic School in the Niamina West District Central River Region. Hundreds of students go to this school and yet the school buildings are ravaged, the roofs blown off, the classrooms leaking and the walls fell off from simple rain. There is an elected representative, The minority leader Samba Jallow is a Constituency next door. There is a chief in the area and yet no one cares. How do you expect these students to learn, the teachers to teach? How can students from this school pass exams and go on in life to be successful?
This region pays millions in taxes, yet there are no roads, no good schools, no decent medical centers, no running water, electricity you name it. This region like many other regions are living in a state of despair. They pretty much have no confident that their elected representatives or government cares. How are citizens who pay taxes from this or other similar regions in the country treated by their government.
The saddest part of this story and we are sure similar stories across the country is that there are hundreds or thousands of sons and daughters living across the world, some in high level successful careers, many in the Diaspora, yet no one seems to care. Everyone is busy building their homes, their families and forgetting the common interest; schools, medical and basic facilities. How can we continue to claim success or love for our people and country while we look the other way. Isn’t this a sad reality that our priorities are backward. We beat our chest, celebrate our individual success and the common little girl and boy from poor families are left to fend for themselves. How many schools across the country are in such desperate condition? The government spends millions on unnecessary travels, allowances while taking loans worth millions from International donors. When will priorities be put in place?
The only hope for these schools is some generous philanthropist possibly from the West or some Gambian somewhere who cares about children invisible to their government. How can a nation rely on philanthropy? generous as they may be. They can only do so much. Only God knows what will happen and how these students will grow up to become responsible citizens. Everyday, these poor students go to school very happy because they don’t know any better. They go to school hungry, they learn with empty stomachs and walk home miles only to end up on the farms. God knows what will happen to the girls who go to this school. How many of them drop out of school because they probably lack sanitary pads to keep their privacy intact? How many of them will be taken out of school and given away to older men for marriage or simply kept at home because their parents cannot afford school. When you think about the situations of these students you can hardly be hopeful for them. You want to believe everything will be ok but on what basis. Every man for themselves God for us all. What a sad reality!
The National Assembly just approved D89 million for Lower Basic Education ministry paying allowances to teachers. Which teachers are they paying? How many teachers are being paid? Many believes that the government priorities are backward. They live in luxury houses, they travel with fat per diems, their kids go to expensive schools and there is twenty-four hours electricity supply in their homes. Yet they claim they are representing the people? Which people are they representing? Where are our priorities Gambia?
Story file by Demba Baldeh Associate editor
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