Brikama-ba primary school has recently been one of the subjects of discussion, concern and sympathy on social media, thanks to a video footage of the primary school recently taken by some ex-students.
The video and pictures reveal that some part the school is in bad conditions of dilapidation and gross lack of furniture that impact negatively not only the children attending the school but even the teachers whose morale could hardly be boosted under the depicted circumstances.
Classrooms with gaping roofs and almost bare of furniture save for a couple of rickety tables round which children kneel or simply sit on bare floors are matched only by the similarly sorry state of the staff room.
Established in 1963, Brikama-ba primary school currently has an enrolment of over 1000 pupils. Speaking to the initiator of the Go Fund Me project, a former student of the school, Mr Ebrima M. Ceesay, expressed concern about the condition of the school. Mr. Ceesay noted that during his visit to the school he had meeting with the staff concerning the development of the school. “It was very pathetic and emotional seeing our future generation receiving their first time education under such an unconducive environment, lamented Ceesay, calling on philanthropists, ex-students, natives of Brikama-ba and surrounding and the general public to help donate either in cash or kind.
When contacted the school headmaster Mr Pa U. Mendy, confirmed the state of the school’s infrastructure and some facilities are in bad shape: “The current condition of the school is bad as lots of the classrooms need furnishing, some pupils sit on the table; others on the classroom floor to do their work. Imagine a class of 45 pupils and only five tables are in good condition, the offices and staff rooms also need furnishing… like roofing, carpets, chairs, tables, etc. On behalf of the school I am appealing to all and sundry to contribute towards the maintenance of the school.”
The headmaster went on to explain that the government does support by allocating funds for such areas as School Improvement Grant (SIG), which works out to be D100 (just over US$2.00) for each student.
However speaking on the matter of funding for the running and maintenance of the school, a citizen teacher, Mr. Ebrima Darboe, said that this amount is insufficient. Darboe expressed concern about the consequence of lack of a perimeter fence to the administration’s efforts to enforce discipline. “It’s hard to control pupils when there is no proper fence and gate in the school, so they go out and about through different entrances. This is very worrying,” he lamented.
The cluster monitor (Education department’s representative), had this to say: “The education sector has definitely performed in terms of developing schools in The Gambia. In fact, schools are now receiving grants to improve other priority areas that affect teaching and learning generally. This grant too has limitations in the area of spending because schools are allowed to spend on minor issues that can affect learning in the school. Moreover, the available fund as of now is the school grant which cannot address major issues in the schools like fencing, roofing, providing sufficient combine desks in order to avoid congestion in the classrooms. We want philanthropist to come to the aid of the school rather than leaving everything in the hands of the government.”
The school’s ex-students and the entire town and its surrounding communities therefore solicit help from individuals, organisations and philanthropist to come to their aid and help address the issue of refurbishing and furnishing the school for the proper education of the children in this rural community.
Anyone willing to donate, kindly click on the following link, https://www.gofundme.com/support-brikamaba-primary-school.