Article Index

As part of the joint reflection on how best to carry forward the work that has started with the FAO pilots and continues through the action plan of the teachers a workshop with the teachers and school inspectors was convened by Mundus maris in the premises of Serrekunda Lower Basic School, which had already been an active participant in the pilots thanks to the commitment of the head teacher, Bolong Touray. With the heavy workload of the teachers, only the weekend of 15 and 16 December 2012 was available for the get together.

During the opening session Mr. Mbenga, the school inspector, who had already followed the FAO pilots very pro-actively, provided a contextualisation of the continued testing activities. He recalled the on-going reform process of the national curriculum. He informed about the consultation and support activities involving public bodies and national and international public organisations and NGOs that help take the goverment commitment torward ensuring universal access to education.

The Gambian Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has the lead. It is present through regional education directorates in all six regions of the country and has various structures through which to coordinate external cooperation with its own policy and planning all the way from development to implementation.

Mr. Mbenga insisted strongly on the need to connect the encouraging activities so far to this wider institutional process to facilitate sharing the experience and preparing the ground for wider uptake.

The work then continued in an alternation of group work and plenary. Work during the first day focused a lot on reviewing achievements and difficulties so far, notably also what upgrades in terms of resources would allow the schools to capitalise more on the efforts made so far.



Unsurprisingly, some down-to-earth measures and supplies were in the forefront of the teachers' minds. They pointed to the need for equipment, such as computers and electricity supply for the schools deprived so far, among others.

They also noted that other schools had expressed interest in participating in an extension of the comprehensive approach of teaching the economic, social and environmental dimensions of how the fisheries are interacting with marine ecosystems. These schools have so far been unable to access the teaching kit and operational budgets required as minimum conditions.

The teachers' discussions were rich and focused on identifying the gaps in the way of translating the principles of national policy into tangible effects at the level of the school's ground realities.


The second day focused more specifically on the way forward: One proposal focused on setting up a resource centre in the Serrekunda Lower Basic School with its 4000 pupils. Such a resource centre could serve as a learning ground first of all for the big school in Serrekunda itself, but also for others, particularly with the continued flanking measures of the inspectors and better institutionalisation of the project activities.

The teachers also explored ways to reach out to the other interested schools, but believe that would be easier with stronger institutionalisation of their current project-based activities.

Mr. Mbenga offered to support this effort for better institutional grounding and recommended some meetings between Mundus maris representatives and the relevant authorities and partners as well as seizing every possible opportunity to continue mobilising additional resources to the local and national efforts.

The workshop concluded with a good sense of what has been achieved and with a clear identification of what should be priorities for next year. As from now, we encourage donations to the following Mundus maris account at the Dexia Bank, IBAN: BE54 0688 9178 6297 - BIC/SWIFT: GKCCBEBB with the mention "Support to schools in The Gambia".