Nasir SSS in the spotlight.

06/09/2011 00:13

Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Hello readers, and welcome to another edition of your weekly education column where we discuss issues on education.

In our today’s edition, we bring to the spotlight a very famous mission school in the country. This school is none other than Nasir Ahmadiyya Senior Secondary School in Basse, Upper River Region (URR). The school, well known for its academic excellence, is among the few senior schools in URR and had in the past produced outstanding citizens who are now fulfilling their obligations to the country. The school, which is headed by Mamadi Ceesay, the principal was established in October 1983 and is currently having a student population of 900 out of which 400 are estimated to be girls. It has about 44 staff and its main sources of revenue are from students’ school fees; and grants from government, and Ahmadiyya mission.

In a marathon interview with this reporter at his office recently,  Mamadi Ceesay said enrolment is increasing at the school, recalling that when he became principal in 1998, the school had an enrolment of 415 students. As to whether all the enrolled girls completed  secondary school, he said not all completed due to some reasons like academic performance, early marriage, and transfer of students to other schools among others. He further asserted that some students transfer from the school to the urban schools based on their own reasons and not because of the absence of learning facilities in the school, noting that Nasir has more learning facilities than many schools in the Kombos.

On the issue of early marriage, Ceesay said his office sensitises parents as to the importance of education, and advises them not to push their daughters into early marriage. He also spoke on the performance of students in his school, pointing out that  students are doing well in school, despite the shortcomings that are being encountered along the line. He adding that even though many teachers would not like to come to the provinces, Nasir students are given extra classes just to help cover the syllabus, while grade twelve students are encouraged to stay for extra classes.

Asked why teachers are not willing to come to the provinces, Ceesay attributed it to the difference in social amenities between the provinces and urban centres, but was quick to commend the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education for actually motivating those teachers in the provinces by providing allowances, building staff quarters among other incentives. He however decried the unwillingness of some teachers to come to provincial schools. He suggested that the ministry increase the salaries of teachers in the provinces in order to attract more teachers.

Ceesay said they have committed and determined teachers who are ever willing to give the best to the students, as the school management has created the enabling environment for teachers to do their work as expected. “As in Nasir, teachers are motivated by allowing them to take salary advance and loans facilities rather than going outside looking for it,” he added. Quizzed on whether the lack of guidance and counselling units in many school contributes to low performance of students, since many students go in for wrong choice, he said that is not the case in Nasir, as they have guidance and counselling unit. According to Ceesay, arts students are more than those in the sciences and commerce  at the school. He said all the science labs like chemistry, biology, physics, and agriculture are well equipped.

He said the admit students on aggregate 42, but sometimes they take up to aggregate 48 for regular classes. He said they are also running a one-year intensive foundation programme for students who got aggregate 50-5. According to him, many students who went through the foundation programme always excel in school. According to him, mathematics is a big problem at Nasir senior school, and recommended for employment of competent mathematics teachers who can relate mathematics to the environment and interest of the students.  He also called on everyone to encourage students to take mathematics seriously. Ceesay said there is a cordial relationship between teachers and students at Nasir, as students are very obedient.

 He, however, made it very clear that unprofessional acts by teachers towards students, particularly girls will not be tolerated, stating that any teacher found wanting with clear proofs shall be sacked and prosecuted for professional misconduct and for violating the school’s code of conduct. On the issue of students who cannot afford to pay their school fees on time, the Nasir principal said at his school, students are not sent out from September to February until parents sell their nuts to be able to settle their children’s school fees. According to him, the school sometimes gives scholarship to deserving students out of the money raised from the school’s student welfare club. On the 2011 WASSCE, he said over 95 candidates sat for the exam and is optimistic of excellent results, since most of the things that came in the exam were previously treated in class by the teachers.

Commenting on sports, he said sports is very important for Nasir. He explained that it is because of that they have physical education in their curriculum for grades 10 and 11. He further said some students may not be good in academic but good at sports, and so should therefore be helped to expose their sporting talent. He said they have the facilities for the sporting disciplines like tennis, volleyball, football, and basketball among others. Ceesay urged parents to be very cooperative with teachers in ensuring that students read their books when at home, He also challenged them to discipline their children.

He concluded by thanking the government of The Gambia under the leadership of  His Excellency Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh for its commitment to improving quality education in the country. He added that government has made education affordable and accessible to every Gambian child. He also thanked the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education for the support it is giving to Nasir SSS.
 
Author: by Alieu Ceesay in URR

 

Captioned from the Daily Observer.

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