Coordinating Committee Meeting (CCM)
Basic and Secondary Education Minister Fatou Lamin Faye
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
“The strengths of Coordinating Committee Meeting (CCM), lies in positive criticism’’, said Permanent Secretary Bouye, ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. PS Bouye was speaking at the end of the last CCM of 2011 held in Basse, Regional Education Directorate Six (RED 6). This is a regular meeting held twice in each Regional Educational Directorate, a forum of frank and positive talks. A forum which this paper believes should be replicated by many ministries, particularly Health, Agricultural, Interior, Defence, Trade, Information and Communication among others. Try it and you will add value to your ministries. The meeting began on Monday 12th December, 2011, and runs through to the 13th December, 2011. As usual the education family and their partners discussed very pertinent issues, some of which are non bureaucratic and immediate actions were taken to solve problems. At the start of the meeting, both the minister of Secondary and Basic Education, Mrs. Fatou Lamin Faye and her permanent secretary were in attendance as usual. The interactions were very frank. At the meeting, one can hardly notice ranks; the ordinary teachers can take issues with the minister, permanent secretary or regional directors, or any other high ranking officer. There were no threats. The first day, discussions centered on the minutes of the previous CCM, and some unfinished issues were tackled. Action points taken during the previousCCM were revisited and those who were found wanting of not fulfilling their parts were addressed. That was followed by presentations and more discussions of various presenters. The most interesting part of the CCM was the school visits. This was done on Tuesday the 13th December 2011. A total of 15 schools were visited by at least five participants, who reported to the plenary. Minister Fatou Lamin Faye, permanent secretary Baboucarr Bouye, and three others went to Demba Kunda Lover Basic. The visiting team was impressed with the performances of the head teacher and staff. In the first place a three class room block was built by the community of Demba Kunda. This was quite encouraging from the part of the community. Demba Kunda has an enrollment of 409 children. At Kiss Kiss school all was not well. One or two of the teachers were found not adhering to the home work policy. The head teacher was taken to task by the CCM. She explains to the plenary that the teachers in question were newly transferred to her school. PS Bouye told her that she must make sure the teachers adhere to the policy. Even though the relationship within the CCM was one of a very cordial and fear free, a number of junior teachers are jittery. It was discovered that there exist a number of policies hanging in the offices of principals and head masters, but many teachers do not maximised the use of such policies due to ignorance. CCM made it clear to school authorities that, such policies should be participatory; once the writing of such policies is participatory teachers will not find it difficult to use them. The Principal of Diabugu Senior Secondary School was told that he must maximise the use of his computer laboratory within two weeks otherwise he will face stiff consequences. The computers were donated to the school by a philanthropist but to the disappointment of the team that visited the school, the computer laboratory was not utilised. When asked why, the principal said this was due to lack of enough money to fuel the generator. When the meeting further asked him what his school balance is, it was discovered that he has up to D40, 000.00. PS Bouye told him that he either makes use of the laboratory for the benefit of the students or face stiff measures. Minister Lamin Faye further explained that the philanthropist who donated the school with the computers is around. Diabugu Senior Secondary School is one of the projects he will visit. He will be very disappointed to see that the computers are not being put to use. The principal did promised that he will immediately put the computers to use soon. The CCM is full of useful discoveries; one of such was the report that food meant for about 26 schools which was dispatched since 5th November 2011 from Banjul did not reach its destination the time the school visit of 13th December 2011 starts. The Permanent Secretary asked World Food Programme representative attending the CCM, what the problem was. He asked the representative to make calls and inform the CCM why it has taken so long for schools to get this particular supply. She told the CCM that the vehicle transporting the supply had a breakdown. However being what the CCM is, within 24 hour the CMM was informed that all the 26 schools got their supply by the14th December 2011, thanks to the timely intervention of the CCM. One of the Madarasah Schools visited was Saad Bin Abi Wakh-Ass Madarasah in Sanunding village. The school was found in a very bad state. The structure has dilapidated and it has no proper toilet facility. The school is not in session because there is no teacher. It’s a community built school and the teacher is said to be paid by the community. However, the chairperson of the Madarasah is doing everything possible to make the school function. CCM in responding to their plea said the department of education in consultation with the regional directorate will provide a teacher whose salary the committee of Sanunding will be responsible for. The PS said the intervention of his department will be at that level until further commitments are shown by the community. Reference was made to Demba Kunda village that took it upon itself to put up a structure valued at over three hundred thousand dalasi. The team also discovered that many schools visited had done extremely well; example, Nya Koi Senior Secondary School, Morreh Kunda School and many others among the 15 schools visited. The CCM was balloted and region one came out first to host the first 2012 CCM slated for 5thFebruary 2012. This paper is not saying that there are no buts; we therefore strongly suggest that there be follow ups to the CCMs. We have realised that when CCM is coming schools premises are clean as well as classrooms, pupils and teachers. Classroom walls were decorated, school fences are painted with drawings and school compounds are swept. Teachers busy themselves in preparing and keeping lesson schemes and plans and updating other necessary records that need to enhance effective teaching and learning in schools. However, the worst of all is that after this gigantic educational exercise, the teachers lay down their tools and the good works done within the CCM week would be punctuated with lateness to school by teachers, lesson plan preparation and school premises become dirty and become a habitat for ruminants particularly in provincial schools. What was found in Diaboug Senior Secondary School is unpleasant to read or hear sincerely. We felt that some of the main problems found in the schools are perpetrated by our senior education personnel either at regional level or at the ministerial level. The bottom line is that the Regional Educational Directorates with the support of their Cluster Monitors must rub their shoulders together vigorously to keep everybody on their heels.
Author: with janneh s darboe