By Momodou Torp

A number of Arabic schools have expressed dissatisfaction for not being considered in the education ministry’s lesson through media programme.

The Gambia government through the ministry provided millions of dalasis to fund lessons by radio and TV for students as they stay home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The lesson has since started on radio and TV but Arabic students and teachers are not included.
Speaking to The Standard exclusively, Ousman Jallow an Arabic teacher at Nuri Deen Islamic school said the decision to exclude Madrassas is discriminatory. “The government does not take the madrassas seriously or important in national development. This act is unfair and not patriotic,” he said.

Alhagie Sawanneh, an Arabic student of Tallinding Islamic School too said Gambia government should treat all schools, English or Arabic equally.
Malick Secka, another Quranic teacher said the Supreme Islamic Council should not watch this unfair situation. “They must act once they know that the Arabic students are affected.”
Sheikh Jallow, also a Quranic teacher at Al Birr Islamic school also commented on the matter, saying:

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“Arabic schools are the same as any other school in the country because we are producing students that work in the government at all departments especially the Islamic institutions in the country. So why are we excluded from this programme?”
The Standard contacted the permanent secretary at the MoBSE, Ebrima Sisawo who clarified that the teachers’ claim that they have been excluded from the programme is probably a misunderstanding of the whole concept.

“In fact, if anything the project is a perfect opportunity for the madrassas to improve themselves even better. The only lessons that are transmitted by the media are the core subjects; English, Maths and Science and these are taught at both English and Arabic schools with the instructions in English. So what is being broadcast is for the benefit of students in both English and Arabic schools. In fact the Arabic students stand to gain more in that they can better their English with this arrangement,” PS Sisawo said.

He further clarified that MoBSE has realized that most Arabic students and graduates have one single obstacle and that is their lack of knowledge of the English Language which is the official language of the county. ”So that is why government decided to help the whole madrassa system through AMANA by providing them subvention to pay teachers and to introduce lessons in English, Science and Maths all taught in English,” Mr Sisawo said. He added however that there have been suggestions for additional lessons in Arabic and this is being considered but it is not correct to say that they are excluded from the media programme.

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