“The Gambia needs a better education system that will help children train for real world”
Global Youth Ambassadors, Teachers and learning
Visiting schools and talking to students has given a Global Youth Ambassador a better understanding of what young people need to succeed.
Many a time, we have asked ourselves how effective the campaign for an increase in education pledges has been. To what extent do we help children understand the relevance of education in their future careers?
The only competition seen thus far in Gambia amongst youths is getting as many degrees as possible, leaving young people unsure about their futures and setting them apart from any decision-making of their own.
During my many visits to schools on assessment tours, I used my interactions with students to look at how we can create value in helping them train for the real world – and found that the system seems to be providing only a vague direction on how children should develop.
My concern is that the seemingly unassailable education system’s current promotion of “just getting the degree” is not enough. Furthermore, parents are often seen as ideal in helping their children shape their career paths from a young age.
However, as many parents in Gambia have not received education themselves, this is again not enough. A more multifaceted approach needs to be made and incorporated into our education system.
The unsuitable syllabus structure in Gambian schools has caused children to unfairly aim lower than what they wish to and can achieve.
This was made clear to me upon meeting with an 11-year-old girl who was able to use a disposed battery and a small, unused light bulb to generate light.
I was struck by her talent, which I was able to quickly spot, and wondered whether there was anything I could do to allow this girl to pursue her dreams by finding a way for her to master and use her skills more productively.
For this to happen the syllabus structure, which is still repairable, must change. Career development topics must be incorporated as a central part of the education system.
I advocate this, along with the emerging youth population in Gambia, because I have hope that by doing this, children – who will be key in constructing the future – will have a clearer idea of their future careers. By advocating for this we can help transform children into entrepreneurs in their respective careers, who will be able to make a sustainable impact on their societies.
We must also consider Gambian youths with unclear career ambitions who are aware of how many like them drop out of school without hope or options for the future.
Our country does not recognise the benefits and therefore does not fund a potentially beneficial education with a skills-focused syllabus structure.
Informal employment accounts for 63% of the economy and young people are deeply affected by unemployment (Florence Armitano 2017 – Migration in The Gambia – Country Profile).
This statistic demonstrates how more job opportunities could and should be created for Gambian youths through more skill-focused training, which would help children to quickly develop an entrepreneurial mind and motivate them.
I hope and campaign for a better, more inclusive education system that will allow youth to fill in the gaps in their career skills, having witnessed the problems with the Gambian education system.
I am inspired by the many youths in Gambia who have excellent skills but are struggling to find a clear career path.