Charity no 1139982
Education as a way out of poverty
 

 

 

 

 

 

Schools in Bansang

 
    There are several schools in Bansang, covering education from nursery level to senior secondary level: 1 senior secondary; 1 upper basic school; 2 basic cycle schools (grade 1-9); 3 lower basic schools, which also include nursery classes; and 3 nursery schools. There has been a Senior Secondary School in Bansang since 2004. The school moved in October 2008 to a newly built site in Bantanto village about 1 mile from Bansang.
Before this the school occupied the same building as the Bansang Upper Basic School.  Children can continue their education at the senior school after finishing grade 9 at any of the Bansang Upper Basic, Sololo or Jahanka Basic Cycle schools.  The Upper Basic School has 3 feeder schools, the Bansang Lower Basic, Daru Lower Basic and Mabali Kuta Lower Basic School. These also have nursery classes. At nursery level there is Agape Nursery School, the Catholic Nursery School and Fuga Nursery school, 3 miles from Bansang,  which was recently built by the village community with some help from BEA. 

Fuga Nursery School

Agape Nursery School

Mabali Kuta Lower Basic School

Daru Lower Basic School

Bansang Lower Basic School 

Sukuta Lower Basic School

Sololo Basic Cycle School

Jahanka Basic Cycle School 

Bansang Upper Basic School

Bansang Senior Secondary School

 

 Fuga Nursery School

Fuga

 


 

 

   Fuga nursery school is 1 km fromSololo school. It was funded and built by the village community to allow children in the village to access an early education. However the roof blew off 2 months after being put in place during the rainy season and BEA was approached to see if it could help. Having seen the commitment of teachers working for free with basic facilities we were glad to get involved. The school now has furniture provided by BEA sent in the container last year, as well as a secure roof, pencils and exercise books. A local pit latrine has just been built.  

 

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    Agape Nursery School

 

 

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   Agape has 216 pupils across the 3 years. It was started by the vicar and his wife and is held in the church building. There are 3 teachers, one for each class. One is a trained teacher and the other two are untrained. The teachers earn D1500/month. The vast majority of the pupils are Muslim. School starts at 8.30am and finishes at 1pm. Lunch of rice and sauce is provided when supplies are available to encourage attendance and concentration. 

 

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      Mabali Kuta Lower Basic School

 

 

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   Mabali Kuta school is a few miles away from the main road close to the senior school. The Principal is Ebrima Jarju who was posted to the school 18 months ago. The school has 200 pupils, 83 boys and 117 girls. Many of the children have permission  to attend without uniform as their parents are unable to afford the material and sewing costs (250 D (about £6)). Classrooms are basic but each has a blackboard and there are benches and tables for everyone. Children do not pay fees at this level of education but the Government is unable to provide more than teacher salaries, so teaching aids, exercise books, pencils and chalk are in short supply. There is a hand water pump within the school so children can get drinking water and they also have a small garden where vegetables are grown to supplement rice cooked in the school kitchen. Teachers have a mixed education, with some holding the Primary Teacher's qualification and some being untrained.

 

The school is linked with Great Totham County Primary School who have raised funds for staff accommodation blocks on site and to start fencing the school to try and keep animals out and improve school security.

 

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                                Daru Lower Basic School

 

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Daru school is 8km from Bansang and is now headed by Jabou Kongira, who was previously at Mabali Kuta School. After completing a management course sponsored by the government in 2010 she was transfered to Daru school which was in need of her expertise.The school had no money and no chair in the principal's office when she arrived. The school is now linked with Melbourne Park Primary school in Chelmsford. The schools have been exchanging letters between students and Melbourne Park has raised some money to help provide resources for Daru school and to develop the poultry farm. This will be used to raised some income for Daru, supplement the school feeding programme and teach students about animal husbandry, a very important subject as the majority of Gambians depend on farming for their survival.

    Daru has just under 300 children in grades 1-6 and nursery. The school also has an annexe school for nursery and primary 1 in a neighbouring village so that young chidren do not have to travel 4km on foot each way to reach school. The main school has 7 classrooms but 9 classes so like most other schools operates a double shift system, when some children attend in the morning and some in the afternoon. It is more difficult to learn in the afternoon due to the intense heat and no electricity to provide a way to cool down.

 

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Bansang Lower Basic School (BLBS)

 

 

 

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     This is now the largest school in Bansang. There are 1500 students and 37 teachers.The school day is divided into 2 shifts due to the large number of pupils. Some teachers have the Primary Teaching Certificate whilst others are untrained.  As in the UK, primary teachers teach all subjects. 


     Security is poor at this school. Many classrooms do not have lockable doors, a result of which is that several classrooms lack the basics of benches and tables. The wall surrounding the school has fallen into disrepair, and so both animals and towns people are free to roam in and around the school.

 


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Sukuta Lower Basic School

 


      This school is situated 12km from Bansang along unmade roads. it is in a small village where the paople live a subsistence life only making the four hour trek to the nearest shop if necessary. The head teacher is Mr Manneh, there are 6 teachers and 111 pupils. Like its link school in Feering classes are mixed due to the small size of each year group. Everyone was very welcoming and the environment was clean.

 

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Sukuta Lower Basic School                                                   Grade 1 class

 

 

 

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Sololo Basic Cycle School


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       Sololo school is in a village a mile from Bansang. Basic cycle schools cover education from grades 1-9. The school has 570 students in grades 1-6 and 250 in grades 7-9. Sololo school lacks furniture and has classrooms that cannot be used due to lack of roofs which have blown away in the strong winds of the rainy season. The current principal is Demba Jallow who has just completed a management course funded by the Gambian Government to aid him in managing the school.

      Most students at this school are from a farming background and it is common that only 1 or 2 children in a family will attend school. Many parents cannot afford basic uniform and equipment for school. Money raised by local Essex schools for BEA has provided exercise books and pencils for orphans in the school who struggle to get the financial support from extended family for these things. Sololo has identified 30 children who are in this situation and this is a common finding in rural communities. 9 students in grades 7-9 are being sponsored by BEA this current school year.

 

 

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Jahanka Basic Cycle School

Jahanka Classroom

     Alhagie Fofana is the principal of this school is situated 10 km from Bansang on unmade sandy and rocky roads. It has been a lower basic school for some years but this year is starting as a basic cycle school so children can continue on with their education without having to travel to school or move to live in another compound in order to be able to attend school. The current school building was built in 2008 along similar plans to the Bansang Senior School. A with all village school is has no running water or electricity. This school is linked to Powers Hall Junior School in Witham who have supported their link school with materials for lessons as well as fundraising through a pyjama day.


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   Bansang Upper Basic School (BUBS)

 

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       This school is located in Bansang Town and used to be the site of both the Senior Secondary and Upper Basic Schools until November 2008. The day is divided into 2 shifts, morning from 7.30-1.15pm and 1.45-6.30pm. Teachers work both the morning and afternoon shifts. Grades 7-9 attend this school and take the exam at the end of grade 9. The current principal is Yayha Faal who replaced Anthony Mendy in January 2011. Since then the school is moving forward in many directions and BEA is pleased to work alongside the current management.

 

      Pupils pay termly fees of D100 or D125. They also must provide uniform, shoes, exercise books, and buy text books from the school. Girls' education is free, but they still need uniform, exercise books and textbooks which can be difficult for some families to finance. At the end of Grade 9 students take the Gambia Basic Education Certificate Exam.

 

      The Plume School in Maldon is currently linked and supporting both the Bansang Upper Basic and Senior Schools with projects and sponsoring students.Renovation of the library is in progress.

 

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   Bansang Senior Secondary School (BSSS)

 

 

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   This school opened in 2004 on the same site as the BUBS and moved to its new site in the village of Bantanto in November 2008. Ismaila Ceesay has been Principal since the school opened. Grades 10-12 attend this school and take the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Exam. If students get good marks in this they may be able to go on to tertiary education if affordable. Students' ages range from 15-24. Subjects are divided into streams: arts, science and commerce. The arts stream covers humanities subjects, commerce covers economics and accounting, science covers physics, chemistry and biology. Maths, English, French and Islamic studies are core subjects. There are 21 teachers in the school, 5 have degrees, 15 have the Advanced Teachers Certificate (ATC) and 1 is untrained. Finding and retaining teachers in the provinces can be difficult and the school is currently short of home science and physics/chemistry teachers. On the government civil servant salary scales an ATC teacher earns about D2400/month (£64/month). BSSS divides its day into 2 shifts with half of grades 10 to 12 attending in the morning and the other half attending afternoon school, the classes are streamed. There are over 1000 pupils in the in school which is growing yearly and already exceeds capacity it was built for.

    Senior school fees are large in comparison to upper basic level and BEA sponsor between 45 and 60 students each year in the school.


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October 25, 2014